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How to Order in an Indian Restaurant without Blowing Your Diet

Know which Indian entrees are low-calorie and which are diet busters.


  • Step 1: Forget the fried stuff Avoid fried appetizers, like puri, which is fried bread, samosas, which are turnovers, and pakoras, which are fritters. Try the mulligatawny soup, a spicy concoction of chicken and lentils.
  • Step 2: Order tandoori Order tandoori chicken or fish, which is baked, not fried. Chicken tikka, made of roasted boneless, skinless chicken, is also a good choice.
  • Step 3: Avoid ghee and khopre Ask your server to suggest dishes that are light on ghee, which is clarified butter and khopre, which is coconut oil.
  • TIP: If your dish comes with a pool of oil on top, spoon it off.
  • Step 4: Slim down your curry When ordering a curry, request a vegetable-based one, rather than a cream or coconut milk curry.
  • Step 5: Get some dal Enjoy dishes with "dal" in the title. That indicates a lentil-based item.
  • Step 6: Try the cauliflower Try the gobhi matar tamatar, which is cauliflower with peas and tomatoes. Skip the paneer dishes, which indicate a cheese and oily sauce.
  • Step 7: Watch the carbs Don't go crazy with the bread that's served, called naan; the tastiness comes from being brushed with melted butter! Instead, nibble on papadum, or lentil wafers, or roti, which is usually made with whole-wheat flour.
  • TIP: Forgo the pulau rice, which is fried; ask for steamed basmati rice instead.
  • Step 8: Indulge in dessert Indulge in dessert – just not the kheer, a rice pudding made with coconut milk, raisins and nuts that often weighs in at more than 500 calories! Instead, enjoy a til ladoo: These tasty sesame seed balls are under 200 calories.
  • FACT: The average Indian home cook regularly uses about 25 spices.

You Will Need

  • Knowledge of Indian menu terms
  • Some willpower

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