What Starter Goes With Curry? 14 Delicious Choices!

June 19, 2022
what starter goes with curry
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You can’t beat a good curry night with friends or family!

Whether you love the spicy challenge of a vindaloo, or you’re more likely to stick with a creamy korma, an Indian meal is such a tasty treat. 

But if you’re planning to put together a banquet with various different courses, what starter goes with curry? 

Here, we’re going to walk right through the best options. From light appetisers to more satisfying dishes for hearty appetites, and from authentic classics to modern interpretations, there’s something here that everyone will love. 

What starter goes with curry? 

The best starters to serve with a curry include poppadoms and pickle tray, tandoori prawn skewers, bang bang paneer, sweet potato dosa with coconut raita, Indian chopped salad, onion bhaji, vegetable samosa, and masala vada. 

Read on for recipes and tips for preparing these curry starters, as well as more ideas for you to consider. 

the best starters to serve before curry

1. Poppadoms and pickle tray 

My favourite part of any Indian meal is always the poppadoms and pickle tray! 

It’s a great appetiser to serve up for a crowd, and a shared starter like this one always feels sociable, relaxed, and fun. 

Best of all, it’s super easy to put together. You can make your own dips if you like, or pick up your favourites at the supermarket for less hassle. Good options include lime pickle, mango chutney, raita, and onion salad. 

poppadom pickle tray

2. Tandoori prawn skewers

In this recipe for tandoori prawn skewers, the combination of sweet prawns, warming chilli, and zesty lemon makes for a delectable starter. 

They’re light, healthy, and so full of authentic tandoori flavour. 

You can change up how you prepare this starter for curry depending on the season.

In the summer, fire up the outdoor barbecue for sunny vibes and deliciously charred prawns, and serve with a light side salad. In the winter, bake in the oven and serve with doughy naan bread for extra comfort factor. 

tandoori prawns

3. Bang bang paneer 

If you’re looking for a vegetarian starter for curry, you really must try bang bang paneer

You’ll shallow fry paneer until it’s pleasingly crispy, and toss in a tangy, spicy sauce. You can adjust the spice levels if you like, to make it suitable for kids. 

The key to perfectly crisp and golden paneer every time is to ensure that you don’t overcrowd the pan whilst it’s frying. If necessary, cook in batches or use a couple of pans if you need to cut down the cooking time. 

Paneer is quite readily available in supermarkets these days, but if you can’t get hold of any, you can substitute for halloumi. 

bang bang paneer

4. Sweet potato dosa with coconut raita 

Dosa are Indian pancakes that are most traditionally eaten for breakfast or as a snack, but they also make a wonderful starter for curry. 

Try this recipe for sweet potato dosa with coconut raita if you want a starter that oozes class and sophistication. 

You will need to source a fair few ingredients and be ready for a bit of a challenge in the kitchen, though it’s an achievable recipe as long as you’re prepared and able to take your time.

Make this for Indian themed dinner parties, and evenings when you really want to impress! 


5. Indian chopped salad 

A curry can be a very rich and filling meal, so maybe you’ve already decided that you want to keep things super light when it comes to your starter. 

If that’s the case, you can’t beat Indian chopped salad

You’ll take typical salad ingredients such as lettuce, cucumber, radish, and spring onion, and elevate the flavours with a truly wonderful combination of fragrant spices and fresh herbs. 

This salad is fun to make, and an absolute joy to eat. 

indian salad

6. Onion bhaji 

An onion bhaji is definitely deserving of a mention when it comes to what starter goes with curry. 

Making your own can seem a little overwhelming though. Especially if you’re not experienced with deep frying! 

I recommend trying my oven baked onion bhaji recipe.

Because they’re baked and not fried, they’re less stressful to make, and they’re never soggy! 

syn free onion bhajis

7. Vegetable samosa

These crispy vegan samosas are stuffed with carrots, potatoes, and peas. 

If you’re in a rush, you can use readymade samosa pastry, or even filo pastry in a pinch. 

With a dollop of mango chutney, these are a satisfying starter for curry that everyone, kids and adults alike, will enjoy. 


8. Mango salad

Mango salad is bright, fresh, vibrant, and zesty. It’s a tasty choice for a starter during the warmer months, or when you simply want something that’s quick and easy and not too filling. 

The salad itself is made with mango, red pepper, onion, basil, and coriander. You’ll also make a dressing with lime zest and juice, sugar, dried chilli flakes, vegetable oil, and seasoning. 

If you’re making this in advance, I recommend preparing the salad and the dressing separately and combining just as you’re ready to serve. 

mango salad

9. Tandoori chicken kebab

A tandoori chicken kebab is a classic curry house starter, and it’s simple to make at home. 

You’ll marinade chicken breast in tandoori masala spice, yoghurt, and garlic, then thread onto skewers before cooking on the barbecue, grill, oven, or air fryer. 

Make sure that you soak your wooden skewers in water before cooking, to avoid any burning. 

Serve simply with a salad garnish and lemon wedges for squeezing. 

chicken kebabs

10. Masala vada (lentil fritters) 

Indian lentil fritters are the kind of starter that you might only discover once you delve a little deeper into the world of Indian cuisine, and you want to get a little more experimental with the dishes that you’re choosing. 

Masala vada is traditionally a teatime snack or a street food option in South India, and it’s often served with chutney for dipping. 

Blending fresh herbs for this recipe creates a real flavour sensation, and you’ll be amazed at the authenticity of the taste. 


11. Gobi 65

Gobi 65 is a fried cauliflower dish that’s inspired by the famous chicken 65.

Legend has it that the chicken dish originated back in 1965 in Hotel Buhari, though other theories suggest that the name came from the fact that the dish is made with 65 chillis. 

Regardless, it’s a delicious choice for what starter goes with curry! 

If you love the saucy flavour and want to experiment a little bit more, you could try paneer 65, mushroom 65, or aloo 65. 

general tso cauliflower

12. Aubergine fritters

Aubergine fritters – or ‘beguni’ – are Bangladeshi fritters that are typically associated with monsoon season in the region, when there’s a glut of aubergines that need to be used. 

They’re coated in a lightly spiced tempura batter, and they’re so very moreish yet delightfully easy to make. 

I personally love to serve these as a quick starter for curry alongside a few cold beers. They’re unusual enough to be a talking point, yet they’re simple enough to ensure that even fussy eaters will love them. 

Add some chilli sauce to the table for dipping, and be prepared for requests for another portion! 

aubergine fritter

13. Chargrilled monkfish kebab

These chargrilled monkfish kebabs really couldn’t be any easier to prepare! 

They also require just a handful of ingredients, including ciabatta, lemon, and olive oil. If you like, you can substitute the monkfish for whatever’s available when you visit your local fishmonger. 

Monkfish has a pleasing meaty texture, and it’s often likened to lobster. It’s sweet, mild, and does not have a fishy flavour, making it a popular choice for the whole family. 

monkfish kebab

14. Roti with mango chutney 

Let’s round up our choices for what starter goes with curry with a super simple choice! 

Roti is an authentic Indian flatbread made with wholewheat flour. It’s also sometimes known as chapatti, and it’s best served with a good mango chutney for dipping. 

It’s much lighter than naan bread, so it won’t fill you up too much ahead of your main course. 

Most recipes use just 2 ingredients – flour and water. For extra indulgence, you can add some ghee once cooked. Of course though, if you’re cooking for vegans, you’ll want to skip that step. 


The best starters for curry

From authentic and traditional to the more creative, there are plenty of delicious starters for your next curry night. Some of the best choices include: 

Looking for more inspiration for curry night? Make sure you check out my guide to the best desserts to serve after curry too! 


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