Indian food is SO DAMN DELICIOUS!
Aspects of it are very nutritious: lots of veggies, legumes and spices. But Indian food can also be very high calorie thanks to liberal amounts of ghee, cream, coconut, etc., and very high carb, thanks to lots of rice and breads served with most meals. Its not always a good choice for those struggling to lose weight or manage Type II diabetes.
Your best bet is to skip the Indian restaurant meals, and cook your own Indian cuisine at home, where you can control what goes in it.
If you don't know where to start when it comes to Indian cooking, let alone healthy Indian cooking, a good place to start is with the Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook, published by the American Diabetes Association.
Its written by May Abraham Fridel, a food literacy advocate, author and spice company owner in the U.S.
The book is a comprehensive guide to both popular and more exotic Indian dishes. It starts with a guide to the spices, staples and cooking techniques in Indian cuisine.
Then there are 15 chapters full of recipes. Yes, 15! They include:
Appetizers, Snacks and Street Food
Chicken and Vegetable Curries
Soups and Dals
Elegant and Exotic Dinners
Fish and Seafood Delicacies
Kebabs and Grilled Dishes
Whole-Grain One-Pot Meals
Slaws and Salads
Sweet and Savory Drinks
Condiments, Chutneys, and Raitas
Small amounts of oil and cream are used in some recipes, but most are relatively low-fat, and are sweetened with stevia, or honey or maple syrup, rather than sugar.
There are no recipes, that I saw, using white rice. Instead, brown rice, quinoa, and other whole grains are used. All the flat bread recipes use whole grains instead of white and ample amounts of acid (lemon juice or vinegar) and spices are used for flavour in everything. Nutrition profile for each serving is provided for every recipe. The middle of the book has photos of some recipes but for others you will have to do without.
While most people will recognize things like Chana Masala, Rogan Josh, Dal, Chicken Korma, etc., there are others that are less common in North American restaurants and sound delicious. How about Masala Lamb Chops with Parsnips and Pears?? Or for breakfast, Burgur Wheat Upma, a savoury dish with cashews??? I also am going to have to try the Baked Spicy Kale Chaat (basically Indian spiced kale chips) and Phal Ki Chaat (masala spiced fruit salad), and Tofu Bhurj (spiced scrambled tofu).
If you stock your kitchen beforehand with the staple ingredients, the recipes will not be difficult to make. Those living in areas where some of the ingredients are hard to find (like fresh curry leaves), can just omit them and make do with what you have. Don't be intimidated. Just because Indian cuisine has lots of spices and complex flavours, doesn't mean its difficult to make!
So do I recommend this book? If you love Indian food, absolutely! Cooking your own rather than going to a restaurant or ordering take-out, will always save you money and whole lot of calories.
Disclosure: I was sent this book to review by the publisher, but all opinions on this blog are my own.