Fun Indian Food FAQs

Is Indian food healthy? Is Indian food spicy? We’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about Indian cuisine.

August 08, 2019
Fun Indian Food FAQs

Ever wonder how long Indian food lasts in the fridge? Or, what about whether Indian food is spicy? Let us help! Below, we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about Indian cuisine.


Where is Indian food from?

Indian food comes from the four different regions in India—East, West, North, and South. Countries like Persia, Portugal, and China have influenced the cuisine too. For example, the Portuguese brought potatoes to India, inspiring dishes like Aloo matar gobi, an onion- and tomato-based curry paired with potatoes, cauliflower, and peas.


Is Indian food spicy?

It can be. But, if you cook at home, the spice level is up to you. Adjust the “hotness” level of your homemade Indian cuisine by adjusting the amount of red chili powder, dried red chilies, and fresh green chilies you include. To cool down an overly spicy dish, eat it with rice or potatoes or mix yogurt, coconut milk, or milk into the sauce. 


Is Indian food healthy?


Many Indian dishes are vegetable-forward, packing a powerful punch of flavor without weighing you down. The use of veggies, lentils, garbanzo beans, fresh herbs, and spices contribute to this cuisine’s healthy reputation. Dishes like Dal, which are high in fiber, help promote good digestive health. Your pantry of Indian spices and ingredients contains health benefits too:

  • Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties
  • Coriander aids in digestion
  • Red chili powder helps relieve pain and boost your Vitamin A and C levels
  • Coconut milk keeps you hydrated and soothes your digestive system

    Of course, as with any cuisine, it’s easy to find unhealthy options. If you’re counting calories or looking to lose weight, refrain from eating dishes that rely heavily on oil, ghee, and sugar. Avoid desserts like Halwa, a sweet confection that contains approximately 570 calories per piece, and Jalebi, a deep-fried sweet.

    Which Indian food is low in calories?

    Try out the following low-calorie Indian dishes if you’re watching what you eat:

    • Tandoori: This tasty dish features chicken, fish, or veggies marinated in yogurt, garlic, ginger, and other spices.
    • Chana Masala: A healthier alternative to calorie-heavy rice, Chana Masala combines chickpeas, onions, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes.
    • Dal: A meatless stew of tomatoes, onions, lentils, and spices, dal provides the lean protein and fiber you want without sacrificing on flavor.


    What is the most popular food in India?

    According to Chef Sanjay Thumma, India’s most popular dish is Biryani. This spiced rice dish mixes together rice, flavorful spices, veggies, and meat. It mimics Chinese fried rice, so it’s a great starter dish if your family already enjoys Chinese food.


    What is Garam Masala?

    Garam Masala is a popular spice mixture used in Indian cooking. You can purchase it pre-made or mix up your own variety at home. Spices in the mix vary based on the chef and region, but common spices include cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and cloves.


    What is ghee?

    Ghee, also called clarified butter, is the result of heating butter, removing the floating milk solids, and waiting for all moisture to evaporate. It’s more buttery than butter and contains minimal lactose. Ghee is found in Indian curries, sauces, and simmered dishes. Click here for more info on Ghee.

    Can Indian food be vegan?

    Yes! Easily adapt your favorite Indian foods into delicious vegan meals. Start with South Indian cuisine. This regional Indian cuisine highlights veggies above all else, so it easily adapts to a vegan diet. Just watch out for ghee (clarified butter) and paneer (cheese). Vegan substitutions you might need to make include coconut milk for milk, vegan butter for ghee, tofu or veggies for meat, and soy yogurt for yogurt.

    Vegan Indian dishes to start with include:

    • Appam: A pancake made of fermented rice and coconut milk
    • Kootu: A healthy stew of veggies, lentils, tamarind, and ground spices
    • Kozhikode Biryani: A rice stir fry dish with veggies, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, coconut milk, and star anise
    • Chana Masala: A mildly spicy dish with chickpeas, onions, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes


      What Indian food should I try?

      All of it!

      Indian cuisine offers so much diversity of flavor, ingredients, and textures. Start with a dish that seems familiar—butter chicken (murg makhani) is often a favorite—and then delve into more adventurous dishes like nethili varuval (anchovy stir fry) and dhokla (steamed rice and chickpea cake).

      Other Indian take-out favorites in America include: Tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, and malai kofta.


      How long will Indian food last in the fridge?

      4 to 7 days.

      We love leftovers, but make sure you try your dishes fresh! Of course, once you smell the spices cooking on the stove, how could you resist? Indian food tastes best fresh because that’s when the flavors and textures truly pop.


      How can I improve my Indian cooking skills?

      Let us help! Nomads Marketplace is the place to learn everything you need to feel comfortable in the kitchen. From our easy-to-follow recipes to our pantry sets, we help turn experienced nomads like you into confident ethnic home cooks.

      Our blog also features helpful cooking tips and tricks. Whether you’re struggling to understand ingredients or curious about a dish, you can find answers there. 

      Join us on Facebook and Instagram too for even more Indian cooking and recipe inspiration!

      Step up your cooking game even more by…

      • Practicing regularly—the more you cook, the better you’ll get at it!
      • Following along with our step-by-step recipe videos to learn helpful tips
      • Learn unfamiliar words in the recipe before getting started
      • Playing to your strengths—if you’re bad at cooking rice, use a rice cooker instead
      • Cooking with a friend—learning from one another and making mistakes together makes learning how to cook more fun


        Have Other Questions?

        Did we miss anything? Comment below with your questions about Indian cuisine!

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