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Dining Out: Indian Cuisine


The menu usually features rich curries, creamy sauces, a variety of intense flavors, and many vegetarian dishes. Spices play an important role.
Common Ingredients:

Rice is a staple of many dishes. A variety of breads are also usually present at every meal. Indian cuisine often emphasizes more carbs and spices, and less protein. Legumes and vegetables are commonly used. Many dishes are prepared with butter, or are fried or sautéed.
Hidden Dangers:
  • Avoid fried appetizers like Puri (fried bread), samosa, and pakoris.
  • Traditional Indian yogurt dressings are usually made with whole milk yogurt. Try to find versions made with lower fat content.
  • Ghee, a clarified butter used for basting, adds a lot to your fat.
  • Kheer, a rice pudding made with coconut milk, raisins and nuts can have over 500 calories.
  • Muglai (creamy curry sauce)
  • Coconut milk or oil dishes
  • Fried cheese appetizers
  • Watch for these words:
    • Puri (fried bread)
    • Muglai (cream sauce)
    • Ghee (clarified butter)
    • Khopre (coconut oil)
  • Pork Vindaloo Curry: 620 calories
  • Rogan Josh: 500 calories, 30g fat
  • Lamb Pilaf: 520 calories, 35g fat
  • Alu Gosht Kari: 600 calories

Healthy Finds:
  • Dals (lentil dishes) are packed with antioxidants and vegetable proteins, and are good sources of fiber.
  • Rice-based dishes, called Pilafs or Biryanis, provide complex carbs and tons of flavor.
  • Vegetarian curries are among the most popular curry dishes and some of the most nutritious.
  • One 7-inch piece of Roti (baked whole-wheat bread) has just 60 caloriess and 1gram of fat.
  • Dhakla, a popular Dal, has 111 caloriess and 5 grams of fat.
  • Basmati Rice with veggies
  • Mulligatawny Soup
  • Look for these words:
    • Dals (lentils)
    • Biryanis or Pilaf (rice-based dish)
    • Pulka, Naan, Chapati, or Roti (bread)
    • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Naan (Indian yeast bread): 79 calories and 2g fat
  • 1 large Pappadom: 50 calories and 3g fat
  • Tandoori Chicken: 260 calories, 13g fat
  • Murgh Tikka: 300 calories, 4g fat
  • Chicken Tikka: 260 calories
  • Dhansak: 105 calories

The Big Tip:

Indian food is meant to be eaten in a group and cannot be served without a combination, making it the perfect cuisine to share. Ask your friends to come along—the more people to share with, the better!
Substitution Ideas:

 Try This Skip That
Modak (steamed dumpling) Kheer (rice pudding)
Vegetable-based curry Cream-based curry
Chicken or seafood Beef or lamb
Papadum (crispy lentil wafers) Samosas (fried veggie turnover)
Ghobi Matar Tamatar  Pakora

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Member Comments

Love Indian food! Report
Thanks Report
Lentils, pfan, and masala some of my favotites. Report
The chances of getting Goan pork vindaloo in a Nepali/Indian restaurant in America is slim. You might get it in fusion restaurants.
Vindaloo is a hybrid dish made for Catholic Portuguese colonizers in the state of Goa. Conversion to xtianity removed the caste system and opened up some opportunities. It also rid the convert of dietary restrictions. Report
One of our favorite foods! Report
I have never had Indian food, but it looks good Report
Thanks Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Another good one! Thanks for sharing! Report
Of course, all of my favorites are on the no-no list! But I enjoy all of them only occasionally and in moderation. The lower calorie options suggested are also yummy - but sometimes a girl just needs a veggie samosa! :) Report
Good info! Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Good article. Report
I love indian food. I feel like it would be no more "bad" for me than eating say a goopy cheeseburger. Report