7

votes

Restaurant Indian food -- can this be a safe option?

Answered on December 04, 2017
Created August 11, 2011 at 12:17 PM

It seems like if you avoid rice, chickpeas, bread and lentils, there might be some good options for eating out at Indian restaurants, especially if you eat some dairy. Am I out of my mind? Veg, fish, lamb, tandoori, cooked in ghee, etc. Are there nasty ingredients (especially in curries) that I'm not aware of?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 09, 2013
at 07:11 PM

Any restaurant is going to be problematic, mostly because of the oil they use in cooking. Just do your best, enjoy it and don't eat 3x a day there. Even Chipotle (that paleo-loved franchise) pours soy oil all over the veggies, pretty much ruining them from a paleo perspective.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 09, 2013
at 07:04 PM

I work with a ton of people from India and they are all shocked that I use ghee. "Oh my goodness, that is very bad for you!" - they say. They have swallowed the Western fear of saturated fat most wholeheartedly, I can very much assure you!

0c8f3010ebaee7d5e9338e49824753af

(150)

on February 22, 2013
at 05:57 AM

you might want to talk to them that you have health issues with certain food items. If you say you don't want them out of choice, they might tell you what you want to hear i.e., it doesn't contain this stuff and that even if it does...

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on February 21, 2013
at 08:27 PM

I do the same - this is how I like to splurge (that and Korean BBQ, which unfortunately can be loaded with sugar in the marinades).

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on January 28, 2013
at 12:20 AM

'definition" or not - do yourself a favor and go to ANY Tandoori restaurant and see with your own eyes how it is made - And do not misrepresent any cooking method by using 'definition' use experience.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on January 27, 2013
at 03:59 PM

*plus the fats in the meats, obviously*

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on January 27, 2013
at 03:59 PM

Downvote for misrepresenting Tandoori. By definition and practice Tandoori is possibly the driest cooking method around. The only fat you'll find is in the yogurt marinade. Tandoori is NOT 'basted' at all... ever. Or it's not Tandoori.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on April 19, 2012
at 12:56 PM

I don't know where you live, but the Indian restaurants near me use soy oil for cooking - one actually states in the menu "All food is cooked in genetically modified soy oil" as though it is a virtue!

0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512

(1960)

on September 16, 2011
at 11:55 PM

:( total bummer.

74d0407ca99061cab2512ed83683b498

(788)

on August 11, 2011
at 09:48 PM

What a bummer... I was hoping for a nice zesty eating-out option. I'm wondering if maybe NYC has a place that uses actual butter-ghee. If I find out I will post back!

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on August 11, 2011
at 03:30 PM

And I have not had good luck discussing allergies with people at Indian restaurants. They will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. I've been burned more than once with hopefulness at Indian restaurants. Never again.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on August 11, 2011
at 03:27 PM

Most use vegetable oil.

74d0407ca99061cab2512ed83683b498

(788)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:40 PM

Ugh, that is so disappointing. :(

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:12 PM

veg ghee is usually palm oil. but still... bleh.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:02 PM

Www.worldspice.com

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:01 PM

Try seattle spice market for high quality indian spice blends. Whole or ground.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 11, 2011
at 01:55 PM

even if they do use ghee it's probably the dreaded vegetable ghee, which is really just corn/soy oil

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17 Answers

5
A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 19, 2012
at 11:38 AM

I think in almost any case, with rare exceptions, one should assume cooked dishes in a restaurant will contain any number of non-paleo or allergenic ingredients. Restaurant employees, even the best intentioned ones, are generally clueless about these things--particularly compared to the hyper-awareness we have about our food issues.

I'm lucky in that I have no food allergy issues, so it's possible for me to simply make restaurants my "treat" meals. I may still ask lots of questions, and try to choose with an abundance of caution (or with reckless abandon!), but I always assume I'm getting ingredients I don't want and would never cook with at home.

I'm really not a fan of the technique of lying about food allergies in order to try getting what you want. When they lie in turn, and serve you the same food anyway, and you fail to get sick and never follow up with a complaint, some might conclude this "food allergy thing" us bullish*t and lie about their food to a customer with a truly life-threatening allergy like peanuts.

5
A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

on August 11, 2011
at 01:40 PM

No, not a "safe option" - even in India it is very hard to find a restaurant that will cook in Ghee. Curries use plenty of fat, and worldwide the fat of choice now is soybean oil or some kind of fake butter/ghee. BTW all Tandoori (barbeque) also uses a LOT of fat for basting and though, traditionally that would be garlic or spice flavored ghee, nowadays it is just soybean or peanut oil.

Another thing to be wary of is pre packaged curry powders if you cook curry at home. most of these contain MSG and often it will be disguised as flavoring agent. But when you look at the amount of sodium in a teaspoon, in the RDA list, you will know the MSG hiding in there.

Make your own 'masala, (curry powder) using fresh spices, it is real easy and stores well, cook at home if you can - if eating out, beware of the above.

74d0407ca99061cab2512ed83683b498

(788)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:40 PM

Ugh, that is so disappointing. :(

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 11, 2011
at 01:55 PM

even if they do use ghee it's probably the dreaded vegetable ghee, which is really just corn/soy oil

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:02 PM

Www.worldspice.com

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:12 PM

veg ghee is usually palm oil. but still... bleh.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 11, 2011
at 02:01 PM

Try seattle spice market for high quality indian spice blends. Whole or ground.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on January 27, 2013
at 03:59 PM

Downvote for misrepresenting Tandoori. By definition and practice Tandoori is possibly the driest cooking method around. The only fat you'll find is in the yogurt marinade. Tandoori is NOT 'basted' at all... ever. Or it's not Tandoori.

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on January 28, 2013
at 12:20 AM

'definition" or not - do yourself a favor and go to ANY Tandoori restaurant and see with your own eyes how it is made - And do not misrepresent any cooking method by using 'definition' use experience.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on January 27, 2013
at 03:59 PM

*plus the fats in the meats, obviously*

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 09, 2013
at 07:04 PM

I work with a ton of people from India and they are all shocked that I use ghee. "Oh my goodness, that is very bad for you!" - they say. They have swallowed the Western fear of saturated fat most wholeheartedly, I can very much assure you!

4
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:24 PM

i agree with what other posters have said. indian restaurants are notorious for using butter-flavored trans-fat vegetable oil and calling it ghee. who can blame them- its so much cheaper and easier to store. and they use A LOT of it. i think the tandoori stuff is probably the best bet.

im saving up though- my next big binge is going to be indian. its really the one thing i really miss. not pizza, not beer, not cake....INDIAN. and i like the bad stuff. samosas and pakoras, aloo naan, poori, garlic naan, malai kofta, lamb vindaloo (extra vindaloo!), and i will eat ALL the chutneys.

of course, you can make it at home and tweak most things to make them more paleo-friendly, but its a lot of work to make more than a couple of dishes. theres actually this indian cooking show that i caught the other day and had never seen before and it was awesome. she made everything look very simple. ill see if i can find it.

here it is! indian made easy on the cooking channel. its a good show.

0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512

(1960)

on September 16, 2011
at 11:55 PM

:( total bummer.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on February 21, 2013
at 08:27 PM

I do the same - this is how I like to splurge (that and Korean BBQ, which unfortunately can be loaded with sugar in the marinades).

4
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:23 PM

Some restaurants may be using "vegetable ghee" aka hydrogenated vegetable oil. I'd call ahead and ask. In my experience the easiest way to getting straight answers is to ask to speak the the chef/cooks saying that you have severe allergies and need to know exactly what is used.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on August 11, 2011
at 03:30 PM

And I have not had good luck discussing allergies with people at Indian restaurants. They will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. I've been burned more than once with hopefulness at Indian restaurants. Never again.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on August 11, 2011
at 03:27 PM

Most use vegetable oil.

74d0407ca99061cab2512ed83683b498

(788)

on August 11, 2011
at 09:48 PM

What a bummer... I was hoping for a nice zesty eating-out option. I'm wondering if maybe NYC has a place that uses actual butter-ghee. If I find out I will post back!

1
633099ce2b1c5d6d927637170d8b8727

on February 21, 2013
at 08:21 PM

Nearly without exception, fats used in Indian restaurants range from toxic to deadly. I was at the Mumbai airport the other day, idly watching the fellow make me "butter" parathas for me. Turns out, the butter is some kind of white Crisco that is widely used in restaurants. I gave him a long lecture about good fats and bad fats - and made him cook me parathas with no fat on them. Of course they tasted terrible.

Likewise in the US, restaurants use food color, soy, corn, cottonseed and other oils, irradiated spices, poor quality vegetables; their meats are third rate, their grains neither organic, nor GMO free, their chutneys and pickles are loaded with preservatives and vinegar, rather than lactofermented, their yogurts are made from BST rich, post pasteurized milk from sick cows.

I hope a budding Indian restaurant owner takes notes of all this, and starts a restaurant that makes food like his great, great, great, great grandmother did - with wonderful, healthful ingredients.

1
0c8f3010ebaee7d5e9338e49824753af

(150)

on January 27, 2013
at 07:06 AM

Hi all!

I'm an Indian and not Paleo yet. Organic ghee far too expensive here. So, I believe it's not used in restaurants at all. Most of them use hydrogenated fat when they say ghee. And those without specifically mentioning ghee are cooked with reused oils in restaurants for sure.

Even curries may contain gluten as thickener (only in restaurants not in traditional Indian cuisine).

0c8f3010ebaee7d5e9338e49824753af

(150)

on February 22, 2013
at 05:57 AM

you might want to talk to them that you have health issues with certain food items. If you say you don't want them out of choice, they might tell you what you want to hear i.e., it doesn't contain this stuff and that even if it does...

1
Fc6a9e07f6056d465573c8969d3a2ddd

(370)

on April 19, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Vegetable oil?!?! The scoundrels!

In all seriousness: in my personal interpretation of paleo, when eating out I am less worried about vegetable oils than I am about getting a meal with an abundance of vegetables, a moderate amount of meat, and a safe-for-Kation starch. With that logic, I find Indian to be a great restaurant option because I can eat out and splurge a little (hello, dal) without deviating too far from my ideal diet.

1
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:36 PM

There are some excellent ingredients in curries, with all of the spices, herbs etc. However, here in the UK, a number of Indian restaurants (I don't know if it is some, all or most) use GM soy oil to cook in....

0
1d65d00356a98cf6e9aa3c3ffe4c930a

on December 04, 2017
at 12:06 PM

Ofcourse Indian Food are safe and delicious. You can try Mynt Fine Indian Cuisine in Florida to enjoy some really delicious Indian Food. They serve an authentic Indian Food with its original taste and flavour. For Indians and Non Indians, this place is a must visit restaurant in Florida. Definately it is the best Indian Restaurant in Florida.

0
654598faed81fbfa80d1f81eab903133

on November 09, 2017
at 11:55 AM

I never found Indian Cuisine to be so harmful, instead, this nis one great option to enjoy healthy food with superior taste. Variety of different taste indulged with mouth-watering dishes. I was in orlando two weeks ago and visited Rasa for a lunch. That was neat. Good ambiance and authentic Indian Food to enjoy. The waiters over there were well-informed about what they were serrving and they were friendly too. In spite of all your doubts, visit Rasa and experience the original taste of India in Florida. Highly recommended for a healthy food.

0
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on October 10, 2013
at 05:11 AM

You may have to be careful of PUFAs, but aside from that, you should be ok. If in doubt, ask the waiter.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 09, 2013
at 06:31 PM

Can't imagine any cuisine less paleo than Indian myself.

0
79310c6af7510b838017aee7c8e7d3df

on October 09, 2013
at 06:16 PM

I go with paneer.

0
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on February 21, 2013
at 07:11 PM

On the rare, rare occasion I eat out at an Indian restaurant instead of cooking my own, I find that tandoori chicken has minimal impact on the way I feel after I eat it. Depending how it's done, of course -- I look for places that don't glop any sauce over it before serving.

Not optimal, certainly, but for what it's worth as an anecdotal answer.

0
62a7dc82d1074a9cc5426f7f3e7a4ec1

on February 21, 2013
at 05:55 PM

With all the solid research on what the polyunsaturated Vegetable oils are doing to the human body....it is sad that the choice is to use them. Many people think they are eating "healthy" when they heat out at Indian but honestly the soy oils are some of the worse thinggs you can place into your body.

Please take up the charge as an individual and ask for different. tell the owners that you will not return and will spread the word. I think it is a silly thing because almost every fine dining establishment uses clarified butter to saute in..so the idea that it is dangerous is erroneous at best.

Stand-up and make a difference!

Some tings to read: http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/fats5.php

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/27/soybean-oil.aspx?e_cid=20130127_SNL_Art_1&utm_source=snl&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20130127

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/02/21/omega-6-dangers.aspx?e_cid=20130221_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20130221

0
912e1193a5f81a88e497c83668461cd3

on April 19, 2012
at 10:46 AM

Are curries or other dishes cooked in coconut oil safe from this practice assuming that if they use cocounut oil they won't be using 'veg-ghee'?

-1
Ab2a308fb35a177e9568b743b893aa33

on September 26, 2012
at 05:58 AM

I want to share useful information. If you want to find any Indian restaurant in UK. You can visit http://restaau.co.uk/

you can easily: Find out all restaurants just 1 or 2 miles from your place (your home, office or hotel???). Find out restaurants of a specific cuisine just 1 or 2 miles from your place.

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