Indian Food Calories

I love Indian food which has become the most popular take away food in Britain and is popular all around the world. Generally, Indian dishes appear to be a good choice because they contain healthy ingredients like whole grains from lentils, pulses and legumes, fresh vegetables and wholemeal breads.

However, depending on how the dish is cooked, and the regional cooking style, many Indian dished are very high in calories. If you are trying to control your weight you should look for low fat and low calorie alternatives.

This review provides general information on healthy choices and provides a summary table comparing the calories and fat contents of popular Indian foods and dishes.

Many curries have very rich sauces and ingredients such as ghee, which boost the calories
Many curries have very rich sauces and ingredients such as ghee, which boost the calories | Source
Watch the sauces and side dishes at Indian restaurants, which can greatly increase the calories in Indian food and dishes
Watch the sauces and side dishes at Indian restaurants, which can greatly increase the calories in Indian food and dishes | Source
See how to swap low calorie Indian dishes with those high in calories
See how to swap low calorie Indian dishes with those high in calories | Source
See which food are high and low in calories so that you can make wise choices for Indian dishes
See which food are high and low in calories so that you can make wise choices for Indian dishes | Source
Many Indian dips are very healthy and have low calories
Many Indian dips are very healthy and have low calories | Source

Tips for Healthy Indian Food Choices, Low in Calories

  • Curry is a very popular dish full of flavours and spices. But the masala (sauce) , which makes it so tasty can be laden with fat and calories, especially in large servings. Many Indian dishes have added coconut milk and cream and are cooked in rich butter extracts. For example, many Korma style dishes are cooked with cream, saffron, ground almonds. Therefore avoid high calories, choose the drier curry dishes such as Bhuna, Tikka or Tandoori. Vegetable, Chicken or a Prawn curries generally have few calories. Or simply get half serves or share dishes and add vegetables and breads to the meal.
  • Dips are used to accompany the main meal and as a starter, but beware these dips also contain calories. Lime Pickle and Mango Chutney can contain up to 70 calories in a tablespoon. In contrast a Tomato Sambal or Cucumber Raita only contains about 20 calories each, and can be eaten with a Popadom for a low calorie starter
  • Pilau rice and fried rice varieties such as Pulauo or Biryani have very high calories because it is fried and contains other fat laden ingredients. Steamed rice such as basmati rice is much healthier.
  • Indian flatbreads, such as Chappatis or Tandoori Roti and plain Naan (not smothered in Ghee) are much healthy than fried flat bread Poori or stuffed Paratha. Naan bread which can contain about 300 calories. See the Calorie Chart for details about other breads.
  • The classic tandoor is a clay oven that is widely used in traditional Indian cooking. The high temperature in the oven and used to produce small, tender piece of chicken and fish, that are pre-coated with yogurt, other sources and spices. Tandoori dishes are among the leanest items on many menu, and they include various kebabs, platters and chicken tikka, which is a dish made from chicken that is marinated and coated in yogurt and spices.
  • Any fried appertizers such as Samosas, Puri (fried bread) or Pakoras are tasty but are loaded with full fat that soaks into the outer coating, as well as starch, and salt. They have very high calorie contents. Instead, order one of the thin lentil wafers such as papadum or papad (roasted not deep-fried). Many Indian restaurants now include healthy baked appetizers on their menus.
  • Dahl (Dal), which is lentil soup, side-dish or curry, can be ordered by itself or with rice or bread, is a healthy choice.
  • Any meat dish or vegetarian dish with names such as Makhani, Korma and Malai, are cooked in butter and have high fat contents and have high calories.. Many restaurants and take-away outlets provide very large servings of these curries. But you can enjoy them in small portions by ordering a half-serve or sharing and eating the curry with lots of flavoured rice and flatbreads. Healthy meat alternates include tikka (not creamy tikka masala) and tandoori meat and vegetable dishes.
  • Choose dishes prepared without ghee.
  • Choose seafood or chicken rather than lamb or beef.
  • Order one meat dish and one vegetable dish with bread and Dahl to cut down the saturated fat and calories.

Healthy Low Calorie Substitutes for Indian Dishes

  • Replace - Samosas with - Papadum, Paneer or papad
  • Replace - Korma with - Chicken or beef tikka; or chicken or beef tandoori
  • Replace - Curries based on cream or coconut milk with Curries with a vegetable or Dahl base
  • Replace - Pakora with Gobhi matar tamatar
  • Replace - Saaq paneer with Matar pulao
  • Replace - Sauced rice dishes with Fragrant steamed rice
  • Replace - Fried or stuffed breads with Chapati, or Naan
  • Replace - Lamb Vindaloo with Boti Kabab
  • Replace - Chicken Korma with Rice With Chicken Tikka with Rice
  • Replace - Keema Naan with Roti
  • Replace - Kali (Black) Dal with Yellow lentils

Low Fat and High Fat Indian Food Choices

Healthy Low Choices and What Foods to Avoid

Low-Fat Dishes to Choose
High Fat Dishes to Avoid
Tamata salat
Anything made with Ghee
Mulligatawny soup
Coconut soups
Chicken or beef tikka
Samosas
Tandoori chicken, beef or fish
Korma
Chicken, beef , and fish saag
Curries made with coconut milk or cream
Chicken, beef, and fish vandaloo
Pakora
Shish kabob
Saaq paneer
Gobhi matar tamatar
Creamy rice dishes
Matar pulao
Fried breads
Steamed rice
Honeyed pastries
Papadum or papad
Kheer, a rice pudding made with coconut milk, raisins and nuts can have over 500 calories.
Coriander, tamarind, and yogurt-based sauces
Dishes with Coconut milk
Chapati
Pork Vindaloo Curry: 620 calories
Naan
Rogan Josh: 500 calories, 30g fat
Kulcha
Lamb Pilaf: 520 calories, 35g fat
Mango, mint, and onion chutney
Alu Gosht Kari: 600 calories
Dals (lentil dishes)
 
Dhakla, a popular Dal, has 111 caloriess and 5 grams of fat.
 
Rice-based dishes, called Pilafs or Biryanis
 
One 7-inch piece of Roti (baked whole-wheat bread) has just 60 caloriess and 1gram of fat.
 
Dhakla, a popular Dal, has 111 caloriess and 5 grams of fat.
 
Basmati Rice with vegetables
 
Mulligatawny Soup
 
Naan (Indian yeast bread): 79 calories and 2g fat
 
1 large Pappadom: 50 calories and 3g fat
 
Tandoori Chicken: 260 calories, 13g fat
 
Murgh Tikka: 300 calories, 4g fat
 
Chicken Tikka: 260 calories
 
Dhansak: 105 calories
 

Nutrition Summary for Common Indian Dishes

Calorie Chart for Popular Indian Foods

Food
Portion (g)
Calories
Total Fat (g)
Aloo Gobi
100
165
 
Chana Dal Cooked (Bengal Gram Dal)
100
107
 
Chana Dal Fried
100
500
 
Chana Masala
100
158
 
Chicken curry
100
323
 
Chicken Hyderabadi
100
399
 
Chicken Korma
100
250
 
Chicken tikka
100
273
 
Fish Curry
100
323
 
Fish Cutlet
100
228
 
Fish Molee (with Coconut Milk)
100
319
 
Fish Sukha
100
249
 
Gobi Paratha
100
270
 
Kathi roll
per roll
197
 
Masoor Dal
100
110
 
Moong Dal Fried
100
633
 
Moong Dal Kachori
100
166
 
Mutton Biryani
100
470
 
Mutton Curry
100
323
 
Mutton Hyderabadi
100
390
 
Mutton Kheema
100
175
 
Mutton Korma
100
143
 
Mutton Moghlai
100
243
 
Mutton Palak
100
186
 
Palak aloo
100
109
 
Palak Paneer
100
189
 
Patta Gobi
100
71
 
Rajma Cooked
100
102
 
Aloo Beans Mixed Vegetable
100
134
8.7
Aloo Curry
100
105
5
Aloo Ghost Kari (Goat)
100
600
 
Aloo gobi
serve
330
 
Aloo Paratha
piece
290-360
 
Aloo saag
serve
500
 
Aloo Tikki
100
101
5.2
Baigan ka Bharta
100
70
4.7
Bajra roti
piece
108
 
Beef kheema
serve
780
 
Beef madras
serve
540
 
Bhindi (Okra)
100
161
10.7
Boiled Rice
100
111
0.2
Chana dal
100
99
3.2
Chawal (Rice flour) Roti
piece
105
 
Chicken biryani
100g
470
 
Chicken Curry
100
132
7.6
Chicken dhansk
serve
720
 
Chicken Korma
100
166
10.3
Chicken tikka masala
serve
680
 
Chole (Chickpeas)
100
74
4.1
Cucumber raita
1 tbsp
20
 
Dal Dhokli
105
238
 
Dal Makhani
100
117
1.3
Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot)
135
460
 
Gatte ki Subji
148
275
~
Gobi Paratha
piece
270
 
Jawar roti
piece
104
 
Kaju Rolls
14
83
 
Keema madras
serve
450
 
Kheer
150
345
 
Khichari
100
215
7.4
Kulcha Naan
piece
120
 
Lamb bhuna
serve
680
 
Lassi
100
69
0.5
Maa ki Dal
146
92
 
Malai Kulfi
75
210
 
Malpua
40
342
 
Mango Kulfi
70
147
 
Masoor dal
100
165
2.7
Meat samosa
each
320
 
Missi Roti
piece
125
 
Moong dal
100
211
3.7
Muli Paratha
piece
257
 
Mutter Paneer
100
147
8.1
Naan Katai
45
150
 
Pakoda Onion
58
315
 
Pakoda Paneer
125
376
 
Paratha Plain
piece
243-290
 
Peshawari Naan
piece
322
 
Poppadom, each
each
65
 
Pork Vindaloo Curry
620
 
35
Pulao
100
119
3.4
Rajmah (Kidney beans)
100
102
3.4
Rasgulla
40
194
 
Rogan josh
serve
700
 
Roomali roti
piece
200
 
Roti / Chapati / Phulka
piece
60
 
Sambhar
100
5
1.8
Samosa
100
252
17.6
Shahi Paneer
95
263
 
Shimla Mirch Aloo
100
93
3.4
Stuffed Tomato
100
85
3.4
Tandoori chicken
serve
300
 
Tandoori Chicken Breast
100
700
 
Tandoori Roti
piece
102-120
 
Vegetable biriyani
serve
550
 
Vegetable curry
serve
350
 
Vegetable Jalfrazi
98
159
 
Vegetable Kofta Curry
100
147
9.1
Vegetable Korma
100
88
5.3

© 2011 Dr. John Anderson

More by this Author


Comments 3 comments

Jilltravel profile image

Jilltravel 4 years ago from Indiana

My husband and I LOVE eating at a variety of Indian restaurants. I really like the way you broke down the calories for such a wide variety of choices. I'm studying to become a registered dietitian and tend to pay attention to information like this! Thanks for sharing this hub with us! :)


Rahul 4 years ago

Very useful information


Akriti Mattu profile image

Akriti Mattu 19 months ago from Shimla, India

It was so good reading your post :)

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    janderson99 profile image

    Dr. John Anderson (janderson99)753 Followers
    1,147 Articles

    John uses research skills in Biochemistry & Physiology (PhD) to develop authoritative reviews of calories in foods, calorie counting, diets



    Click to Rate This Article
    working