Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - What to eat at an Indian restaurant

03-28-2008, 10:33 AM
I have to attend a team lunch today at an Indian restaurant. I love Indian food but I usually stick pretty close to Chicken Tikka or Chicken Korma, neither of which are good choices for me right now. What are some dishes that I could eat without derailing my daily caloric goals? I figure Tandori chicken is a good bet, but are there any other lighter dishes?


03-28-2008, 10:40 AM
Channa masala (also called Chole) are made from garbanzoes in a tomato onion gravy and is usually low fat and high protein. I usually go for that and a vegetable dish like aaloo gobi (cauliflower), bhindi masala (okra) with naan and some raita (yogurt based).

Cannot advise you on the chicken front though as I am vegetarian

03-28-2008, 12:04 PM
I definitely second chana masala - skip the rice and ask if they have whole wheat roti (no butter). I also love baigan bharta (I probably spelled that wrong) which is a spicy eggplant dish.

03-28-2008, 12:25 PM
Dhal is a good bet, as is the tandoori chicken you already mentioned (some restaurants also have tandoori shrimp or fish, which would be great). Plain basmati rice if you can request it, as pilau rice tends to have a lot of oil.

I love Indian food - if you're into making it at home, I found a really great spice paste that allows you to make low-fat curries that taste FANTASTIC. The brand is "Kitchens of India", and the pastes are manufactured in India - they taste really authentic and have a good kick to them. For the butter chicken, which I use most often, you don't need to add any butter - just saute chicken breast until it's no longer pink, then stir in the spice paste and about a cup of water. Simmer until the sauce thickens, then stir in a bit of non-fat or light greek yogurt. For the spice packet, there is only 60 calories in 1/4 of the packet - using 3 chicken breasts, I find we can easily get 6 servings from one packet, so the calories are minimal for such a great meal.

03-28-2008, 12:57 PM
IANA Indian and my experience with Indian cuisine is limited to frozen or package dinners (Amy's palak paneer and paneer tikka and some other companies' chicken tandoori and chicken tikka masala). I have a copy of Eat This, Not That, and I think in there it says 1. have soup for the first course since most other Indian starters are potato-based and/or deep-fried, and 2. tandoori anything is good, try tandoori fish if they have it. They say don't confuse chicken tikka with chicken tikka masala since "'masala' means cream in Hindi and that means 'fat' in any language", but I always thought "masala" meant a certain spice blend?

03-28-2008, 01:16 PM
Hmmm, I don't think it means cream since chana masala has no cream! According to the internet - masala means spices/marinade :) Tikka means chunks/bits - but IIRC chicken tikka masala is very creamy and wonderful (and probably not diet friendly, heh)

The words I would avoid would be paneer (very yummy cheese) and Kofta (very yummy but often deep fried) and korma (usually has cream in my experience).

03-28-2008, 01:29 PM
Oh boy am I craving tandoori chicken now. Have a great lunch!

03-28-2008, 01:50 PM
Yeah - you'll be OK with either tandoori chicken or chicken tikka (NOT masala). Chicken tikka is basically the same as tandoori chicken, but boneless chunks rather than bone-in parts. I actually prefer chicken tikka for that reason - you can actually make a filling and satisfying meal for yourself by sticking to plain rice, some tikka, and just adding a tablespoon or two of sauce from someone else's curry (if they'll let you! :) ). You then get the flavor of the curry sauce, but not in such a large amount that the calories will be crazy.

03-29-2008, 09:58 PM
At least in the Amy's paneer dinners they just have 4 or 5 little cubes of cheese buried in the spinach. I see Ethnic Gourmet has palak paneer, but passed on it for the time being.

Thanks Glory, that's what I thought masala meant too