Sometimes referred to as the UK’s national dish, there are estimated to be 15,000 Indian restaurants across Britain. And where the crowning of the UK’s favourite takeaway is always a topic of much debate, it’s clear that as a nation, we love our curries!
This week (5th – 11th October) is the 22nd National Curry Week, a celebration of all things spicy and flavoursome. Simply talking of curry can get your tastebuds tingling and make it hard to keep your cravings under control. But there’s no need to break your diet with our delicious, low-calorie alternatives that still pack a punch and taste second to naan!
Starters and sides are big part of the Indian dining experience, but they’re often full of unhealthy ingredients and dripping in oil. To save yourself from consuming way more than your recommended daily allowance, why not give some of these easy Indian starter ideas a go?
Healthy Onion Bhajis
This classic favourite can be made with just two main ingredients at home which are then baked not fried as a healthier cooking method. Simply slice up some onions and add in beaten egg to hold it all together. Season well and spritz with low calorie cooking spray before baking in a cupcake tray (this holds the mix in a bhaji shape) on a low heat in the oven. You can even throw in different vegetables like carrot and pepper for a more interesting flavour. If you like a little heat add some spices, cumin and garam masala will work nicely.
Low Fat Kebabs
Kebabs are so versatile and easy to make. Use any meat and vegetable combination cut into small cubes and place on a skewer. Cover in tandoori spice mix before grilling. This method requires no oil so it’s extra healthy. If you prefer your kebabs a little richer, mix the spices with low fat yoghurt first before coating and add a squeeze of lemon juice. You can experiment with lots of different rubs or spice combinations.
Pakoras are usually caked in batter and fried, but you can make healthier versions by combining soft veg, blended chickpeas and egg to make your own patties.
Lightly fry in shallow oil on each side so that they are crisp, then place in the oven for about 10 minutes. Make sure they are well–seasoned and enjoy with a spoonful of low-fat yoghurt!
Healthy Swaps for The Main Event
Curries are often full of cream, oil or an Indian butter called ghee which makes them taste delicious, but is also very high in calories. For a healthier option try to choose dishes that aren’t smothered in sauce such as grilled, spiced, lean meats and tandoori dishes. Cook with low calorie cooking sprays instead of ghee or oils and you won’t go far wrong.
This is the easiest way of making a healthy curry. You can pick any selection of vegetables and seasoning of your choice to make up the perfect curry – from spinach and sweet potato, to cauliflower, onion and peppers, there are so many choices! And the more you add, the more of your five a day you’ll get in a tasty, healthy meal.
Surprisingly, buttermilk doesn’t actually contain any butter and is reasonably low in fat. It’s also much healthier than heavy cream. Swap out the cream in recipes such as Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken and Korma for buttermilk and use it to make a lovely creamy curry without being worried about piling on the pounds
Tandoori fish and meat are always a safe, low calorie choice if you’re in a restaurant, but can be easily replicated at home. It is simply cooked in the oven with plenty of spices instead of being fried in a pan, which reduces or even cuts out completely the amount of fat used in the process
Try one of the websites below for some healthy curry recipes without the high fat and calorie count that don’t skimp on taste.
BBC Good Food