Holding an Indian dinner party, or just looking for a way to make your authentic curry look even better? People taste with their eyes, and how your food looks is almost as important as the flavour (alright, not quite, but you get the gist). I've had a look around and found a few Indian curry serving dishes that could take pride of place on any table. I'll go through a few I have found and even show you a few of the better ones…
In a Hurry? Indian Curry Serving Dishes Easy Pick
For the money, this curry serving dish is about as good as it gets. It isn't the cheapest on the list, but you are getting rock-solid quality and a few other things that will make a few ideal if you host a curry night. Here's what I loved. It has: -
- A nice thick copper base
- The perfect size (15cm) for serving both individual curry and larger portions
- An easy-clean stainless steel finish
- Sturdy spot-welded handles
For some cheaper picks (and some fancier), check out my detailed guide below
Choosing the Right Indian Curry Serving Dish for You
Listen, guys, I'm not going to try and pretend I've ordered hundreds of dishes to try out and individually review…
I mean, don't get me wrong, I love curry, but even I have limits.
However, what I can tell you is what will work and what doesn't. I've seen plenty used in restaurants, so I know the score.
Want to know a secret?
Most restaurants order them in bulk from exactly the same sources as you'll see below. They are literally the same dishes you'll see in Indian restaurants. So you are going to be looking at things that are as authentic as it gets.
The hard part will be choosing one to fit all of your requirements.
Here's what you need to look for: -
Curry Dish Material
First thing's first, you are looking for something that is going to last a fair while. Curry dishes aren't overly complex, and if you treat them right, you'll find that anything half decent should be pretty great value.
I've got two words for you.
This is a must.
You might find the odd one with a little bit of copper here or there, and that's ok. Just be sure to choose one that is made predominantly of steel.
What are you looking for in your Indian curry serving dish?
Is it going to be individual serving dishes for curry? So that each of your dinner guests can have their own in front of them, or are you looking for a wider and deeper dish that you can plonk in the middle of a table and let everyone dig in?
As a bare minimum, I'd say for individual Indian serving dishes, go no smaller than 13cm. Conversely, once you get up to 20cm, these are more suitable for serving a crowd from the same bowl.
Want the ideal? Opt for about 15cm. This allows you to cook a decent portion without dominating the table.
Joking aside, there are a couple of different shapes you are likely to see.
The most popular, by far, is the sort of wok shaped karahi or balti serving dish. This is the kind that you'll normally see in your local Indian restaurant. I love them because they are easy to stack and super convenient.
You may also see handi shaped dishes that have a flatter bottom and more vertical sides. You might fit a little more in these, and they often come with a lid, which makes them ideal for serving things like rice.
Ever dropped a hot karahi of curry down someone's lap as you go to put it on the table.
or even worse, onto the carpet...
Nope, me neither.
Do you know why?
Because handles stop you from burning your hand on the dish.
Make sure you choose Indian curry serving dishes with nice solid handles. Some are insulated, but the metal ones are just fine too.
No, not you… The curry dish.
Why is a heavy bottom important? Well, for quite a few reasons.
If your dish is full of red hot curry, then you could very well end up damaging the finish on your table.
Some people like to go the whole hog and keep their curry warm using tealights and chafing dishes… If you pick a curry serving dish with a thin base, you'll end up with a burnt patch of curry in the middle, and the heat won't spread.
Try and go for something with a relatively thick base. The best curry dishes will tend to have a thick copper bottom.
Ease of Washing
Yep, it's that time of night.
Everyone has told you how amazing your curry was and has buggered off… Right before washing up time.
However, don't panic. Provided you've stuck to my advice above, you'll find a curved stainless steel Indian serving dish an absolute breeze to clean!
This is another reason why restaurants use them.
Let's be honest. This is one of the deciding factors.
You're after Indian curry serving dishes to make your table look phenomenal, right?
It's actually pretty easy.
Me, I'm a huge fan of simple and shiny stainless steel. Still, you'll find plenty of options, including copper exteriors (and if you spend a few quid more, hammered copper).
Copper is nice, but it does get a little tarnished over time. It can also react with certain cleaning products and oxidise… But look, it's your call.
Want to know a little more about Indian serving dishes for curry?
Read this next bit. It is important when choosing…
What Are Indian Curry Bowls Called?
Indian curry serving dishes are more than just bowls. There are actually a few different types. They are used for different types of curries and curry side dishes. Generally, you'll encounter 3 different kinds. They are: -
Imagine a small wok, pressed flat at the bottom and with two round handles instead of one long one.
Congratulations, you've just imagined a balti dish.
Balti dishes are from where the famous curry takes its name and are traditionally used for cooking and serving the curry.
Nowadays, they are more a nod to the former history and are just used for serving.
Now, don't mix up your Kadai pans with your balti dishes. People will tell you there are the same thing.
Kadai pans tend to be a lot bigger and are traditionally used for deep frying. You can actually consider this the Indian equivalent of a wok.
Karahi Serving Dishes
Another Indian pan beginning with 'K'?
Karahi and Kadai pans are exactly the same thing, and the two terms are used interchangeably.
Last but not least, we have the handi.
A handi is a relatively steep-sided serving dish originating from the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, you'll see them made from either copper or occasionally clay. There are a few nice things about handi serving dishes.
Well, they have a lid for a start, meaning food doesn't get a skin or dry out. They are also great for storing saucy dishes that might otherwise spill out of a curved dish on the way to the table.
Trust me, I've been there.
What Size are Balti Dishes?
In reality, it all depends on what they are going to be used for.
Individual balti dishes for serving curry tend to sit around the 15cm mark. If you are actually buying a balti dish to cook, you'll find that they go much bigger and can even reach up to 25-30cm.
For serving curry, stick to the 15cm version, they are the most readily available, and there are better ways to cook a curry… You'll see plenty of great options for curry pans right here…
Ok, now that you know your Kadai from your karahi and your balti from your bog-standard bowl, it's time to take a look at what I'd consider right up there in terms of looks, quality and performance.
Check a few of these out…
Indian Curry Serving Dishes | 5 Great Suggestions for Serving Curry
Looking for a proper catering standard curry serving dish? This is the kind of thing I was talking about when showing you what I look for.
You'll probably notice that it is a little on the large side. That's going to mean one of two things.
One. You'll be able to serve several portions in one great looking dish, or…
Two… You eat far too much curry if you are using this as an individual serving bowl.
Don't worry, I'm not judging.
The handles are spot welded, meaning they will hold a fair bit of weight, and they should also stack pretty neatly with the second one included in the pack.
Oh, and before I forget to mention, they are an absolute breeze to clean.
I get it.
The last one was a bit big, and you are looking for something a little more eye-catching.
This dish is 15cm, which will make it about the right size for serving individual portions. It is also deep enough that it could be good if you want to go a little overboard or have something larger for bigger curry nights.
The thing I really liked when I saw this one was the burnished copper veneer coating the outside. It has a hammered look, and when paired with the brass effect handles, it is eye-catching.
But, there are one or two things to note.
Yeah, the handles are all nice and shiny. Still, it would make stacking the bowls a real pain, so if it is convenience you are after, then I reckon it might be worth looking at something different.
Serving curry to a crowd isn't hard, but you will want to make sure that you have a load of curry serving bowls that match.
These mirrored stainless steel serving bowls for curry are excellent value, and they look the part too.
At 15cm, they are the perfect size for individual curries.
Remember how I was talking about ease of washing being important. These are actually dishwasher safe, so you can literally scrape them off and chuck them in.
If you are smart about how you arrange the handles, you'll be able to stack all six away in the cupboard too.
I know some of you guys are serious about your curries, and some of you are also a little bit posh.
Yeah, with your food warmers and tea lights and what not…
There are a few ways to make curry hotter, one involves spice...
But I'm talking the other way... like, direct heat
This one is a little different. If you are a fan of food warmers or chafing dish style serving setups, this will work well.
Well, it is mostly stainless steel, but it comes with a thick and flat copper bottom, meaning you can heat it up a bit without the worry of damaging it. What's more, the thicker base absorbs heat which will keep your curry warmer for longer.
Granted, your price-per-bowl is a little higher than some of my other suggestions, but these will last for ages and look really hard-wearing.
And now for something completely different.
Remember when I was talking about handi dishes?
This is a prime example and is a great way to serve a range of Indian dishes from daal to Dhansak and everything in between!
There are a few reasons why I picked this particular dish.
First, I love the hammered copper look. It is properly authentic. I also like that it has a lid. This makes it great for serving steamed white rice without worrying about it drying out.
As a nice touch, it comes with solid brass handles, making it pretty classy looking, which is just what you want when you park it in front of a hungry guest.
Indian Curry Serving Dishes | Final Thoughts
Surprised at the variety of Indian curry serving dishes out there? There's actually a fair bit of choice! Pick something easy to clean, looks great and has a touch of authenticity, and you can't really go wrong. Now comes the hard part, deciding what to serve in them. If you are looking for a bit of inspiration, check out a few types of curries in my guides, there's plenty to have a go at! Planning a dinner party? be sure to swing by my guide on how to make curry ahead of time.