What side dishes should I make with lamb curry?
July 10, 2009 10:05 AM   Subscribe

What side dishes (apart from coconut rice) would go well with a rich, spicy, coconut-milk-based lamb curry?

I am planning a meal centered around lamb curry and would like to make one or two (preferably vegetable-based) side dishes as well.
posted by faeuboulanger to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
green beans with some crushed peanuts and possibly a satay-type sauce lightly applied as well
posted by GuyZero at 10:15 AM on July 10, 2009

Tom kha gai would be a great side, as long as you're not opposed to being heavy on the coconut flavour for a night. Here's the first recipe Google turned up that wasn't based on chicken (which is traditional for the dish). The coconut/lemongrass combination is fantastic, and a side of soup would fit well with a curry main.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:16 AM on July 10, 2009

I recently made a tasty Thai Prawn Curry with a coconut-milk-based sauce. I just served a salad; however, it was a nice green salad that had shredded carrots on the top and alternating slices of yellow and red tomatoes in a circle that looked like a pretty, pretty flower! And instead of dressing I used leftover homemade tzatziki in a scoop in the middle (it was the center of the flower, and yes I know I was mixing cuisines). You could just use whatever dressing you're using, or a cherry tomato.

Ok, yeah, it was just a salad. But a colorful, pretty salad.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:18 AM on July 10, 2009

daal. naan. indian mango salad. chutney.
posted by mr. remy at 10:19 AM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Cucumber salad or papaya salad?
posted by zombiedance at 10:26 AM on July 10, 2009 [5 favorites]

I had some success recently with a similar meal by stewing dried plums with canned chick peas / garbanzos and a minimal amount of water via a crock pot. The dried plums dissolve into a yummy sauce in the course of a few hours. I haven't quite managed to work out the best way to spice it, though.
posted by XMLicious at 10:36 AM on July 10, 2009

Something dark green or red that isn't creamy, to offer a contrast to the curry--such as kale, spinach, or other greens sautéed with turmeric, black mustard seed, cumin seeds, and shredded coconut with maybe a tiny dash of sugar. Or green peas in a tomatoey masala sauce.
posted by PatoPata at 10:37 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

And if A) you don't mind going crazy with coconut milk and B) one of the side dishes can be a dessert the only proper recipe I've ever invented was coconut cream, a tasty dessert sauce that admittedly is kind of based on the syrup used in mango sticky rice.

Coconut Cream Sauce

1 can (full-fat!) coconut milk
1/4 cup half and half
2 tsp cornstarch
about one half of a nutmeg

Stir about two tablespoons of the coconut milk into the cornstarch in a small bowl until it creates a slurry (cornstarch can't be added dry into a hot liquid or it will clump). Set aside.

Simmer remaining coconut milk and half and half for about 10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Watch it, or it will boil over. Using a microplane, grate in the nutmeg. Add the cornstarch slurry and allow to come to a boil briefly, then take off heat and allow to cool. This ideally would be done at least an hour before the dinner. The longer it's allowed to chill, the thicker it will get.

Serving: pour over a plate, then drizzle agave syrup or honey over in one of those "I'm a fancy chef!" zig zags. Plate mango or macerated strawberries (chopped strawberries+balsamic vinegar+brown sugar+salt+pepper) in the center of the dish, and garnish with sesame seeds. Optional garnishes: dried unsweetened coconut, mint.

Relevant Self-Links: Coconut Cream/Fresh Mango and Strawberries/Sesame Seeds/Agave&Honey/Dried Coconut, Coconut Cream/Macerated Strawberries/Sesame Seeds/Agave/Mint
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:38 AM on July 10, 2009

Some raita would be nice, especially if you're worried your guests might find the curry a bit too hot. I almost always serve raita with curries; it's nice to have it available to balance the flavors and cut the heat.
posted by vorfeed at 10:38 AM on July 10, 2009

And if you don't mind me asking, is this a Thai or Indian style lamb curry? It looks like recipes for both dishes exist using coconut milk. It looks like some posters (me and tapesonthefloor) assumed Thai and everyone else assumed Indian, so you might get better results if you let us know.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:41 AM on July 10, 2009

Roast cauliflower (cut into florets) or brussels sprouts (sliced in half) with oil to coat, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and plenty of salt and pepper. Generally I use a 425-degree oven for about 20 minutes, stirring in the middle, but they should be roasted until they're well-browned, and even dark brown in spots. You can serve this at any temp between room and hot, which makes it great for dinner parties.
posted by palliser at 11:03 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thai eggplant in a green curry/basil sauce .
posted by torquemaniac at 11:05 AM on July 10, 2009

Daal, aloo ghobi, or palak paneer. And chutney and raita.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:08 AM on July 10, 2009

My last curry I served with this cucumber salad, which is basically cucumber with thinned yoghurt and mint. Great exercise for a mandolin, too.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:09 AM on July 10, 2009

Regardless of whether or not it is Thai or Indian (some fusion never hurts anyhow), the spiciness and richness would probably be complimented well with some variant of flatbread. It is a good alternative to the coconut rice.

As you already have the richness and spiciness taken over with the main dish, how about a dal for a supplementary dish? Simple recipes are all over the internet. If you want to stick to a single dish, then I would definitely second the papaya or cucumber salad.

Also, serve it with beer!
posted by ageispolis at 11:11 AM on July 10, 2009

nthing the cucumber salad. Makes a light, cool contrast to the heavy spicy curry.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 11:11 AM on July 10, 2009

If you're going to serve something that rich as the main course PLEASE don't add any more coconut milk or cream OR fried things. A coconut milk entree is so heavy already! A salad with a light dressing would be a good contrast. Pomegranate seeds go well with lamb. A lemony or garlicy (or both) eggplant thing could be nice, just not a curry. Something with a cilantro-mint pesto would be good. In other words, something with some zing that's absolutely, in no way heavy.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:15 AM on July 10, 2009

Response by poster: Clarification: This is going to be neither a Thai-style nor an Indian-style curry, but a Malaysian curry. I will be serving coconut rice alongside.

Thanks for the answers that I have received so far!
posted by faeuboulanger at 11:21 AM on July 10, 2009

Mango salad! With or without shrimp.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:24 AM on July 10, 2009

Pancit Bihon, using the really thin pancit bihon asian rice noodles (not the thick chow mein noodles or the fat flat ramen noodles). I know it's a filipino dish, but add some curry to it and some squeezes of fresh calamansi or lemon, it would compliment the spicy coconut lamb curry excellently. You do not have to add any meat to it (although any leftover lamb would work well in it, or shrimp); it can be a purely vegetarian dish.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:33 AM on July 10, 2009

Raw onions, tomatoes in milk.
posted by ashaw at 11:36 AM on July 10, 2009

Cucumber salad is good. I like it diced with tomatoes, chickpeas, and cilantro.

Or, if you want a hot side, spicy string beans are delicious. Toast some sesame seeds in a little vegetable oil, aid minced garlic and fresh string beans and stir fry. Add a splash of Sriracha halfway through cooking.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 12:06 PM on July 10, 2009

Nthing small ruminant.
NOT coconut rice. Asian meal planning (like all good meal planning) is based on contrasts. A rich creamy dish should have sides that are savory, tangy, and/or crispy. There are lots of Malaysian/Indonesian/nyonya (which is Malay-Chinese fusion) sides that would be pretty authentic.
As much as citing Wikipedia might be passe, this link will steer you to basic descriptions that you can Google for. I would suggest (from this page):

Nasi Ulam (an herbed rice, nyonya style) and/or
roti canai / roti telur (I've eaten both with this particular style of curry) for the Indian Muslim influence;
Yardlong beans cooked with shrimp paste in the style of kangkung belacan (or actually substitute spinach for the kangkung unless you live in a city with a great Asian foodstore and can recognize water convovulus (kangkung) -- ethnic Malay and rather, er, pungent;
Bandjar soto -- soup course; hot and sour soup ethnic Malay style
Rojak -- a cold, savory fruit salad, again pungent with the shrimp paste.
posted by lleachie at 12:14 PM on July 10, 2009

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