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The 5 Healthiest Indian Dishes

The 5 Healthiest Indian Dishes

Takeaway:

Anyone on the lookout for a simple, healthy Indian recipe has come to the right place. We take traditional Indian food and make it easy to prepare, with several popular Indian dishes that any home cook can make with ease.

Love for Indian food in the States is at an all-time high. Yet, many home cooks stick with their favorite Indian restaurant rather than trying out dishes at home because they think dishes of India are too complicated. We’ve found five of the simplest, healthiest Indian food recipes to break that stereotype. Try Indian dishes with lentils, fresh vegetables, and lean meats, and discover the healthy (and delicious!) side of great Indian cuisine.

Fish Pakoras

Fish Pakoras

The best Indian food is packed with fresh ingredients and flavor. This recipe uses healthy fish fillets, and as it’s deep-fried, it retains less fat than shallow fried food.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz white fish cut into chunks
  • 3.5 oz flour (ground chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Enough oil to nearly fill a wok or large pan

Instructions

  1. Place the fish to one side for now. Mix the other ingredients in a bowl and add water to make a thick batter. Beat mix well to remove lumps and add air.
  2. Heat oil in the pan to high heat.
  3. Dip a chunk of fish in the batter to cover it then gently place it into the hot oil. The batter should start to cook immediately. If not, the oil isn’t hot enough yet, so wait a couple of minutes before cooking your next piece. Move fish around in the oil to ensure it’s evenly cooked.
  4. Cook the fish in small batches, remove with a slotted spoon once golden and crispy and drain on some paper towel.
  5. Eat while hot and crispy with fresh lime and yogurt.

Nutritional Information (per serving of 4)

  • Calories: 400
  • Fat: 46 g
  • Cholesterol: 33 mg
  • Sodium: 780 mg
  • Fiber: 3 mg
  • Protein: 12 g

Hara Bhara Kabab

Hara Bhara Kabab

There are many types of kabobs or kebabs, and they often have a reputation for being a fatty, late-night snack. These kababs are green, healthy, and full of iron and vitamin C.

Ingredients

  • 2 potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 green chili
  • 4 oz spinach, rinsed well
  • 3 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ inch ginger root, grated
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium heat and fry ginger and garlic until aromas are released.
  2. Add peas and chilies to the pan and cook until the peas soften.
  3. Add the spinach and cook until the greens are wilting. 
  4. Add the garam masala and salt, stir.
  5. Blend the cooked peas and spinach with the cilantro in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Do not add water.
  6. Mix the green paste into the mashed potato.
  7. Add breadcrumbs until the mix becomes a uniform dough.
  8. Divide the dough into ten patties. These can then be fried in oil or baked in the oven until golden brown.

Try serving these up as alternative vegan burgers!

Nutritional Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 101
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium:  61 mg
  • Potassium: 797 mg
  • Protein: 5 g

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

This is one of the best Indian dishes to impress friends and family with. Like many star dishes from Indian cuisine, this chicken dish is flavorful without being greasy. Traditionally, tandoori cooking is done in a tandoor, a type of clay oven. Our version uses a conventional grill or broiler.

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Zip-lock bag

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a bag with all the ingredients. Shake well to mix and ensure all the ingredients are combined, and the chicken is covered.
  2. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Cook on a hot grill or griddle, frequently turning until the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer. 15 minutes is usually enough.
  4. Serve with a crunchy salad and some raita.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 183.6
  • Fat: 1.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 66 mg
  • Sodium: 879 mg
  • Potassium: 120.5 mg
  • Protein: 31.6 g

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

An Indian vegetarian favorite, Chana Masala combines high-protein chickpeas with fragrant aromas for an easy midweek meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 can cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1-3 green chilies, depending on how spicy you like it
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger minced or grated
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • A handful of fresh cilantro to garnish 

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry bay leaves for 30 seconds, then add garlic and ginger. Fry for a minute to release aromas.
  2. Add onions and fry until soft.
  3. Add tomatoes and chilies, stirring well.
  4. Add all the spices, stir well.
  5. Add the chickpeas and ensure they are coated with the spice mix. If it seems too thick, add a little water. The sauce should be like a thick gravy.
  6. Bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes, then serve with chapati or rice.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 212
  • Fat: 3.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium:  Varies depending on the seasoning
  • Fiber: 4.3 g
  • Protein: 9.8 g

Daal

Daal

Also called Dal or Dahl, this is one of our favorite Indian recipes when you need something simple, filling, and packed with protein. It’s also one of the best Indian vegetarian recipes to know if you’re reducing your intake of meat.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of red lentils
  • 1 tbsp black onion seed (sometimes called nigella or kalonji at the store)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil

Instructions

  1. Rinse lentils with cold water.
  2. Place lentils in a pan. Add cold water until it’s 2 inches above the level of the lentils. Don’t add salt- this can make the lentils harden. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat half the oil in a frypan. Fry onions until slightly brown, then remove onions from the pan and retain.
  4. Heat the rest of the oil in the pan and add the spices. Cook for a minute to release aromas.
  5. Check lentils are soft. Add the cooked onions and spices and stir well. If the consistency is too runny, turn the heat back onto low and cook until it thickens. If it’s too thick, add a little water.
  6. Serve with fresh cilantro and a blob of low-fat yogurt.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 125.2
  • Fat: 3.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 2.6 mg
  • Potassium: 307.5 mg
  • Protein: 7 g

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Daal Recipe

Also called Dal or Dahl, this is one of our favorite Indian recipes when you need something simple, filling, and packed with protein. It’s also one of the best Indian vegetarian recipes to know if you’re reducing your intake of meat.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of red lentils
  • 1 tbsp black onion seed (sometimes called nigella or kalonji at the store)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil

Instructions:

Step 1: Rinse lentils with cold water.
Step 2: Place lentils in a pan. Add cold water until it’s 2 inches above the level of the lentils. Don’t add salt- this can make the lentils harden.
Step 3: Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Heat half the oil in a frypan. Fry onions until slightly brown, then remove onions from the pan and retain.
Step 5: Heat the rest of the oil in the pan and add the spices. Cook for a minute to release aromas.
Step 6: Check lentils are soft. Add the cooked onions and spices and stir well. If the consistency is too runny, turn the heat back onto low and cook until it thickens. If it’s too thick, add a little water.
Step 7: Serve with fresh cilantro and a blob of low-fat yogurt.

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Recipe

Calories

Total Fat

Cholesterol

Sodium

Potassium

Protein

Daal Recipe

125.2
3.9 g
0 mg
2.6 mg
307.5 mg
7 g

Recipe

Calories

Total Fat

Cholesterol

Sodium

Potassium

Protein

Daal Recipe

125.2
3.9 g
0 mg
2.6 mg
307.5 mg
7 g

Recipe

Daal Recipe

Calories

125.2

Total Fat

3.9 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Sodium

2.6 mg

Potassium

307.5 mg

Protein

7 g
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