Indian food is notorious for being very high in calories, owing to amount of ghee (clarified butter) used, but I know that you can reduce those calories by not using ghee (genius right?!). Sure you might miss a little on the flavour, but Indian food is so spiced that I don’t think you miss it too much! My friend sent me a recipe for Chicken Jalfrezi, which she cooked from the Hairy Biker’s new book, The Hairy Dieters. She said it was lush and thought I’d might like to try it out – since we are both watching the calories at the moment. Surveying the recipe I knew I could bring the calorie count down even more by swapping out the sunflower oil with one cal oil spray instead. Not everyone is a fan of that stuff, but if it reduces the calories, then for me it’s a go.
The Hairy Dieters gave this recipe as 279 calories per portion – not including rice. 40g basmati rice (which is what I use as a portion, is about 140 calories). That brings the total to 419 calories – add more if you need more rice! The recipe uses 2 tbsps sunflower oil, which works out to be around 60 calories per portion – a bit of a waste of calories, but hey, that’s just me. I’ll give you my version of this recipe and you can make your own decisions!
My friend was right, it was lush – nice and spicy too. When I was cooking it, hubby complained that it didn’t look very much, but for me it was a good size portion – remember this is weight loss food, and a key factor in that is reducing portion size as well as calories.
Indian food takes a little bit of work to prepare, but I always think it is worth the effort, especially in the flavour department. This curry is very spicy owing to the chillies, but you could always reduce the chilli content down if you don’t like the heat! There are quite a lot of ingredients and some different steps, so please read through the recipe first!
- 4 green chillies, chopped - deseed as many as you like and to your spice tolerance
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
- one-calorie oil spray (e.g., Fry Light)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- ½ tbsp ground cumin
- ½ tbsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tbsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 200ml cold water
- 1 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt
- 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
- 2 tomatoes, quartered
- 1 tsp cornflour
- ½ tbsp water
- Spray some one-cal oil spray into a hot pan and add the garlic, chopped chillies, chopped ripe tomatoes, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, sugar and salt. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Don't let the spices or garlic burn as they will taste bitter. I usually add a splash of water to help if the pan seems dry.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes. Pour the 200ml water over and stir in the yoghurt. Reduce the heat slightly to simmer the sauce. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. You may see the yoghurt separate, but it will be fine.
- Whilst the chicken is cooking, heat another pan and spray with one-cal oil spray. Stir-fry the green pepper and onion for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Add the quartered tomatoes and fry for 2 more minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
- Mix the cornflour with the ½ tablespoon of water to form a paste.
- When the chicken is cooked (it should be white all the way through), stir in the cornflour paste and simmer, stir continuously until the sauce thickens.
- Add the stir-fried vegetables and mix through gently.
- Serve over rice if you wish
Please remember, I’m not a dietician, I follow and tweak recipes and work out the calorie content using resources online. I lose weight cooking my low calorie dishes, so am confident that I am keeping the calories nice and low. Always check with your doctor before going on any weight loss programme.