We absolutely had to include Indian food in our Low Carb Guide to Eating Out! With options like grilled meat and fish, rich curries, and fan favorites like Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala, this cuisine is easy to order low carb and still feel satisfied.
One of the best ways to get a delicious low carb meal while traveling is to head to an Indian restaurant. Faith was introduced to Indian food in undergraduate school by her best friend who was Indian. Lara never tried it until she was in her 30’s when Faith made it for her. Now Lara is a huge fan too!
We both love Indian food so much that we ate it four times in one month last summer when we were in Paris! We’re going to talk about the best low carb Indian food options, and show you some of our favorite Indian dishes to order when we want to stay low carb and keto friendly.
Indian Chicken Dishes
If you’re a fan of Indian food, you probably are familiar with Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala. These are crowd-pleasing options that even picky eaters usually enjoy. But don’t be afraid to try something new!
Above: Tandoori Chicken from Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine in St Petersburg, FL
Here are a few popular Indian chicken dishes:
- Butter Chicken (try our Low Carb Indian Butter Chicken recipe)
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Tandoori Chicken
- Chicken Korma
What Is the Difference Between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala?
The difference between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala is that Butter Chicken is usually creamier, less heavily spiced, and less tomato-y. Although, note that this can vary from restaurant to restaurant!
Above: Chicken Tikka Masala from Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine in St Petersburg, FL
We found that at one of our favorite Indian restaurants (Bollywood Aroma in St Petersburg, FL), the Butter Chicken is darker (more of a brick red color), more heavily spiced, more tomato-y, and extremely oily. On the other hand, the Chicken Tikka Masala from this restaurant is creamy and lighter in color.
Pro Tip: The differences between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala varies greatly from restaurant to restaurant.
Above: Butter Chicken from Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine in St Petersburg, FL
And interestingly, Butter Chicken is an authentic Indian dish (originally from Delhi), while Chicken Tikka Masala is originally from England!
Indian Red Meat Dishes
Chicken is the popular choice, but red meat-based recipes using lamb or goat are also great options. Goat is actually a bit milder and less gamey in flavor than lamb typically is.
Above: Lamb Curry from Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine in St Petersburg, FL
Above: Goat Curry from Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine in St Petersburg, FL
Pro Tip: Goat curry is typically served with the bones in, so you’ll have to be careful and remove the bones as you eat it.
Here are a few delicious Indian meat dishes:
- Lamb meatball curry
- Grilled lamb chops
- Goat curry
- Rogan Josh
Indian Fish Dishes
For another protein source, Indian fish dishes are flavorful and satisfying thanks to the rich sauces they’re often served with. Prawns or shrimp are popular, and so are some types of white fish.
Here are a couple Indian fish dishes to try:
- Grilled whole fish
- Fish curry (check out our Thai version of fish curry)
Vegetarian Indian Main Courses
Above: Paneer Kurchan from Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine in St Petersburg, FL
- Paneer cheese, which is similar to cottage cheese, is the protein source in a lot of vegetarian Indian recipes. For example, Palak Paneer is in a spinach sauce and Butter Paneer is in a creamy, tomato-based sauce.
- Eggplant, usually called Baighan Bartha, which is smoked or roasted eggplant mixed with spices and made into a curry-type dish.
Above: Paneer Butter Masala with Side of Raita from Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine in St Petersburg, FL
Pro Tip: Although you can find a lot of bean and legume-based vegetarian Indian main courses, these are typically quite high in carbs and so we usually avoid them.
Indian Side Dishes
We typically steer clear of a lot of the side dishes at Indian restaurants because they’re higher in carbs, such as rice pilafs and naan. However, we do have a few lower carb options that we occasionally order:
- Raita, which is basically a yogurt sauce with small diced vegetables, such as cucumber, tomato, onion, mint, etc.
- Chopped salad, typically containing cucumber, tomato, onion, and fresh herbs.
Maybe someday we’ll see cauliflower rice at Indian restaurants? 🙂
Tips When Eating at Indian Restaurants:
- At Indian restaurants, they call the sauce that’s served with curries “gravy”.
- The sauces and chutneys that are sometimes served at Indian restaurants aren’t usually low carb or keto friendly because of their sugar content (even if their flavor is sour or spicy).
- Take note that a lot of the pakoras (which are vegetables coated in chickpea flour, aka besan flour, and deep fried) are gluten free. However, they’re not typically low carb. Rice is another gluten free option (but not low carb).
- Sometimes curry sauces (aka gravies) contain sugar, so to be on the safe side and keep it keto, you can opt for grilled meats, such as lamb chops.
- You don’t need rice or bread to eat Indian food! A spoon works just as well.
Food at Indian Restaurants
Here are some of our favorite Indian restaurant dishes that we’ve enjoyed all over the world.
Ravi, Paris, France
This Michelin-starred restaurant was super small, very dark, intimate, and romantic. The food was decent, but not our favorite Indian food in Paris. We were a little disappointed that the portion sizes were small, and the food wasn’t that flavorful.
It was only a three-minute walk from our Airbnb flat to this restaurant, so we came back twice. We loved the Lamb Meatball Curry, and also enjoyed the Butter Chicken and Tandoori Chicken.
Above: Tandoori Chicken with Sauces and Lamb Meatball Curry at Ravi
Above: Alllll the hearts for the Meatball Curry at Ravi.
Location: Ravi, 50 Rue de Verneuil, 75000 Paris, France
Khajuraho, Paris, France
This restaurant was our favorite Indian restaurant in Paris. They serve their food to the French Parliament! It was also the best service of any restaurant (Indian or otherwise) that we got anywhere in Paris.
Above: Chicken Tikka Masala (Top) and Butter Chicken (Bottom) at Khajuraho
Location: Khajuraho,14 Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg, 75007 Paris, France
Five Rivers Indian Kitchen and Bar, Prague, Czech Republic
This restaurant was big and wide open with windows. The portions were also fairly big and reasonably priced. The food was solid, we’d definitely order it again.
Above: Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken, and Raita at Five Rivers
Location: Five Rivers Indian Kitchen and Bar, Křižovnická 60/10, 110 00 Josefov, Czechia
Taste of India, Interlaken, Switzerland
We have to be honest, this restaurant was our least favorite Indian food that we tried in Europe. Ironically, it had the best reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp. However, the food quality wasn’t great, the service was awful, and the ambiance was nonexistent. Sadly, we wouldn’t go back there again.
Above: Paneer Curry, Butter Chicken, and Raita at Taste of India
Location: Taste of India, Centralstrasse 6, 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland
Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine, St Petersburg, Florida, USA
We absolutely LOVE Bollywood Aroma! Their food is consistently great, and they are friendly and very accommodating.
Above, Clockwise from Top Right: Tandoori Chicken, Goat Curry, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Raita from Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine in St Petersburg, FL
Location: Bollywood Aroma Indian Cuisine, 4749 66th St N, Kenneth City, FL 33709
Check out our other Low Carb Eating Out Guides
Where’s your favorite Indian restaurant? And what low carb Indian food options do you order? Share with us in the comments below!
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