When you think of Indian food, what do you associate it with?
Spicy? Depends on the dish!
For those who love Indian food but are on a gluten-free diet, you may think it’s tricky to navigate. But with a few commonly gluten-free Indian foods in your repertoire, you can eat gluten-free Indian food … no problem!
In this blog post, we’re answering the question, “Is Indian food gluten-free?”
What is Indian cuisine?
The cuisine in India is one of the world's most diverse types of food, characterized by its use of the many spices, vegetables, grains and fruits grown across India. The cuisine of each geographical region includes an assortment of dishes and cooking techniques that reflect the demographics of the ethnically diverse Indian subcontinent.
India's religious beliefs and culture have played a big role in the evolution of its cuisine. Vegetarianism is widely practiced in many Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities.
Indian food spices
One thing is for certain–Indian food is never wanting for spice! Fragrant and flavorful, Indian cuisine is renowned for its use of spices. Here are a few common ones:
- Mustard seeds
- Garam masala
Popular Indian foods
Fortunately for those short on time or supplies, Indian cuisine can often be made with just a few common ingredients! Stock up on the ingredient ideas below when preparing to make your next Indian cuisine meal.
Basmati rice is a staple of many Indian dishes. Fluffy with a light sea salt seasoning, Proper Good Basmati Rice serves as the base for a variety of dishes … both Indian or not! This plant-based, dairy-free grain is packed with 7 grams of protein to keep you feeling full.
But don’t let the fun stop there! Pair our basmati rice with Golden Lentil Dahl Curry for a well-rounded, perfectly tasty meal.
Fun fact: India has the world’s largest vegetarian population, with 40 percent of the country sticking to a vegetarian diet. Because of this, many popular Indian dishes are vegetarian, or at least can be easily adjusted to be made vegetarian.
Lentils are a part of practically every Indian meal, and this flavorful component is a way to increase protein, fiber, and mineral content all in one! Soybeans, chickpeas (chana), seeds and nuts, and kidney beans (rajma) are all high protein vegetarian options in Indian dishes.
Ghee, or clarified butter, is a nutty tasting healthy fat often used for cooking. Ghee has been simmered and strained to remove all butter. It’s shelf stable and is prized for its anti-inflammatory, digestive, and therapeutic properties.
The clarifying process removes casein and lactose, making ghee a suitable option for those on a dairy-free diet. Ghee also cooks without much splattering, which makes it ideal for cooking over high heat.
Chutney is a flavorful condiment made from slow-cooked fruits and vegetables, vinegar, and spices (yum!). Chutney originated in India but has been popularized across the globe. Each country has its own unique spin on chutney–South Africa, for instance, uses apricots, while British chutneys often contain apples.
Chutneys complement other dishes, and many Indian recipes are not considered complete without chutney to accompany the meal! Chutney is often used as a dipping sauce for naan, as a condiment alongside curry, or even to spread over toast.
Is Indian food gluten-free?
Fortunately for those living a gluten-free lifestyle, most Indian cuisine is naturally gluten-free. A few common naturally gluten-free Indian foods are poha, bajra roti, dosa, papadum, pakora, thali, lassi, bhujia, biryani, and dahl.
Those who are gluten-free should try to avoid these Indian foods: breads, spices like hing and asafoetida, samosas, pav bhaji, kachori, tandoori chicken, poori sevian, and jalebi.
Gluten-free Indian recipes
For those less familiar with Indian cuisine, knowing what to eat and avoid can feel overwhelming! A visit to an Indian restaurant (or even the country itself!) can make the gluten-free diner or traveler a little nervous.
For those times, cooking Indian food at home may feel like a safer option. Here are a few delicious gluten-free Indian recipes:
- Jowar palak appe: similar to muffins in the U.S.
- Bajra cauliflower roti: perfect for dipping into chutney
- Lamb dhansak: lamb, lentil and vegetable stew
- Chicken chaat: tangy shredded chicken
- Punjabi style stuffed karela: stuffed bitter gourd
Yum, yum …. So good! Just writing this blog post made us hungry for delicious Indian cuisine. We hope our gluten-free friends can go forth and enjoy Indian cuisine with confidence, either in their own kitchen or at an Indian restaurant.
And, for anyone looking for 90-second Indian meals you can find Proper Good Indian inspired meals here: https://eatpropergood.com/collections/build-your-own-pack?filters=curry We update the meals all the time!
For more gluten-free resources, check out our blog: