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Aug 14, 2009 05:50 PM

Wanted: Low calorie and low fat Indian recipes

I love Indian food but the fat and calories are not kind to my cholesterol. Can anyone suggest a good source for low calorie and low fat Indian recipes? A book? A website? I know the taste and texture would somewhat be compromised so I would be happy if you can recomment a book or website that actually has tasty recipes.


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  1. Indian food isn't generally fatty or overly calorie dense.

    Many dahl recipes contain only legumes, spices, and aromatics. Like this one.

    Have a look around that sight. It shouldn't be hard to find mountains of great vegetable based based recipes that, at worst, use moderate amounts of ghee.

    1., you can watch him on youtube too, I found his recipes helpful.

      Like Brandon Nelson said, I don't find indian food fatty or unhealthy either, perhaps the way they serve/prepare it in some restaurants? who knows.

      1. maxmillan, I assume you're referring to the southern Indian food most often served in American and UK restaurants. That's probably the highest-fat (especially butterfat in the guise of ghee, cream and paneer) and -calorie cuisine I can think of -- though it isn't representative of all Indian food.

        I'd recommend you check out some northern Indian recipes. Those can be adapted to very low fat cooking. I also have and like the book "Indian Cooking Without Fat" below:

        2 Replies
        1. re: dmd_kc

          dmd_kc, I think you might have flipped north and south in your post. The common "Indian Restaurant" dishes made with lots of oil or ghee and creamy sauces are the Mughal-style northern dishes, but are also more restaurant cooking than home cooking. The southern (Indian) states feature lots of vegetable dishes and "dry" curries, in addition to dishes popular in south-Indian US restaurants, such as dosai, idli, etc. This is all a gross generalization, of course, a gloss on an incredibly diverse and regional cuisine.

          For the OP, I agree with the other posters that Indian cooking is not at all high-fat per se, but restaurant cooking isn't representative of home cooking. Any good Indian cookbooks, such as those by Madhur Jaffrey, will have a diversity of recipes that you can adapt just as yu'd adapt any other cuisine - i.e. only use as much cooking fat as you need to, not necessarily as much as is called for. If you are worried about saturated fat, you can also use a vegetable oil in place of ghee.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Yes yes -- I need a compass!!!! The southern recipes are the ones I meant!

            Dosas are your friend. That dish alone can keep you fed many times over. But even those in restaurants will have far more fat than you need use at home...

        2. Look for vegan Indian cookbooks/recipes.

          1. My foray into Indian cooking has been made possible by Manjula's Kitchen and Show Me The Curry videos on YouTube. Manjula is Jain (so no onions or garlic for religious/dietary reasons), so I always add onions and garlic to her recipes. Hetal and Anuja from SMTC seem to be cooking for a more western, American palate, so they seem to substitute lower-fat and lower-calorie ingredients where possible.

            Just as a tip for general purposes, I almost always sub non-fat or lowfat evaporated milk for the heavy cream called for in some recipes.