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So, you’ve embraced the whole full-fat dairy, low carb lifestyle that comes with the keto diet.
You’ve put carbs in the corner like Patrick Swayze always said you couldn’t. (We know he said Baby. Not carbs. But it works.)
Phase one, complete. By now, you’re probably looking for recipes that’ll spice up your home cooking. While not every type of cuisine is ideal for this diet, Indian food is about to become your new best friend.
From seafood curries and tandoori to vegetable masalas, this list of keto recipes will prove that cuisine from this corner of the world offers up complex flavors that low carb enthusiasts can dig right into (as long as you’re cool with passing up that beloved naan).
Here are some keto-friendly Indian food options to add color and flavor to your culinary world.
Because you simply don’t give a cluck.
1. Coconut curry chicken thighs
This healthy coconut chicken curry is naturally low carb and gluten-free. Flavor-free, though? Not even slightly. Pairing curry powder with other spices like turmeric and cumin is a one-way ticket to deliciousness.
Then, you thicken the whole shebang with coconut milk, and sweeten it with honey and lemon. Lordy me, lordy my. You’ve got a meal on your hands, and there’s barely a carb in sight.
The leftovers are amazing too — maybe even better than the first meal, since the meat will have a chance to marinate in that bold sauce overnight.
2. Butter chicken
You’ll want to eat this creamy, buttery chicken straight from the pot with a spoon thanks to the smell alone. But hands off! It looks way better on a plate.
Expect a rich combination of super-tender chicken pieces, tomatoes, and your homemade yogurt marinade. And we suggest serving it over cauliflower rice.
Be sure to brown the ingredients on the stove before mixing them into your special curry sauce, and pay special attention to those onions if you’re after perfect caramelization.
3. Chicken vindaloo
If you’re obsessed with spicy food, chicken vindaloo from scratch is a must.
The dish is the perfect marriage of fiery and sweet. Everything in the pot is cooked down with peppercorns, a cinnamon stick, and serrano chiles. If you can’t take the heat, you can regulate it by going light on the peppers.
To keep it keto-friendly, skip the potatoes. You’ll have more than enough going on without them.
Never fear, veggie pals! We’ve got you covered. (Because you can totally go keto and be a vegetarian or vegan).
4. Vegetable masala
Marinating (low carb) veggies in this spiced tomato puree gets you a tender and juicy dish that easily holds its own as a main. Vegetables can fill you up too!
It’s substantial enough to keep you going after lunch or to serve over eggs at breakfast time. Sorry — grains who?
5. South Indian egg curry
This one’s essentially foolproof. Boil eggs and whip up a simple homemade gravy from coconut oil, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, green chiles, and a variety of spices.
Be careful not to overboil the eggs — this dish is all about its creamy texture, so you’ll want to keep the yolks slightly gooey.
Spicy food fans can amp up the heat by increasing the number of curry leaves — if they dare.
6. Paneer makhani
We can’t imagine a time we wouldn’t be in the mood for fried cheese. Our entire office is made from fried cheese. (It may as well be, since we’ve been working remotely. But we do still love fried cheese.)
This recipe is all about frying up paneer, or cottage cheese, in turmeric, salt, and red chili powder. You’ll then heat the cheese with a sauce made of garlic, ginger paste, green chiles, onions, and tomatoes.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “less is more,” but when it comes to flavor, sometimes more is more. And paneer makhani has mooooooooore.
7. Cauliflower and kale curry soup
This warming soup comes together quickly, and your shopping will be minimal. It’s just a big ol’ bowl of all of your pantry staple spices: cumin, coriander, paprika, ginger, and cayenne.
We love the cauliflower, which adds a bit of texture and fills you up. The kale also provides a nice crunch and a pop of color. But with 4.5 grams of carbs in a serving, you may want to go light on the dish if you feel like you’ve had your day’s fill of carbs.
These fishy concoctions are absolutely swimming in flavor.
8. Coconut shrimp curry
When you want to impress guests (or just your curry craving), this recipe will earn you some kitchen cred.
You can whip this up from scratch in 30 minutes. That’s literally less time than it would take to get a delivery from your local Indian-inspired eatery. Plus, it’s way more cost-effective.
Instead of serving this dish with carb-heavy rice, make cauliflower “rice” to get in even more veggies.
The one warning with this dish: Be ready to serve seconds.
9. Tandoori fish tikka
For a light and healthy weeknight meal, fish are friends… but also food.
You’ll want to marinate your fresh fillet in tandoori masala, yogurt, and salt and pepper for a few hours (or overnight if you can). Once the fish has had time to bathe in flavor, throw it in the oven or on the stove with minimal oil.
Don’t worry about finding tandoori masala — you can easily buy it online or at your local supermarket.
Save yourself a few dollars and even more carbs by putting chicken, seafood, or veggies to work with flavorful spices and sauces.
Keto food doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, a low carb eating plan is going to be way easier to stick to if the food tastes as good as it makes you feel.
If you’re looking for more of a crunch and you feel like snacking between courses, we found some keto cracker recipes you can easily make at home.