Tips For Gluten-Free Dining At An Indian Restaurant

Posted on: 29 June 2017

If you suffer from celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, restaurant dining can sometimes be a challenge. One way to avoid unnecessary gluten exposure is to choose a cuisine that uses very little gluten-containing ingredients. Few cuisines fit the bill better than Indian food. The following guide can help you order and enjoy your meal with confidence.

Tip #1: Skip the bread

Unlike some other Asian cuisines that use rice flour for breads and wraps, most of the popular Indian breads are made with wheat flower. Dumplings, called uppama, are made with a ground wheat cereal so they are also off-limits. While this means that you can't enjoy the naan bread or some other baked items, there are plenty of other options to fill your plate. Instead, try a thin crepe-like dosa. If you had your heart set on naan, pappadum is a similar flatbread that doesn't contain wheat,

Tip #2: Ask about spices

Most Indian restaurants use spice mixes, either commercial versions or those mixed in house. Often, in house recipes are preferred, since many commercial mixes contain wheat. The two main culprits are curry powders and asafoetida, which is a fennel-based spice mix. Ask if the food you are considering contains either of these mixes and have the labels checked for wheat. Foods made with sauces, particularly dark sauces, should also be checked since many times the caramel coloring in a commercial sauce is derived from wheat.

Tip #3: Don't be afraid of the fritters

Some Indian wheat-free options look as though they should contain wheat. Once example is pakoras, a vegetable fritter. Instead of wheat flour, these use lentil flour. When in doubt, ask what type of flour is used. Indian food as a general rule uses wheat flour sparingly. Often, bready-looking items are actually made with lentil flour, chickpea flour, or another non-wheat alternative.

Tip #4: Be cautious with dessert

Dessert is where Indian cuisine gets heavy on the gluten. Even the rice pudding often contains wheat, rendering it a dangerous option for those with an intolerance. Instead, opt for one of sweet milk curd desserts, such gulab jaman – milk curds served in sweet syrup.

Tip #5: Speak up

Although many Indian dishes are wheat-free, an Indian restaurant is not a gluten-free kitchen. Make sure your server informs the cook that there is a food allergy and that the kitchen can take steps to avoid cross contamination.

For more help, contact an Indian restaurant in your area or places like Deccan Spice.