Thursday, September 1, 2011

Healthy Curries for Dieters

As an avid curry fan I felt the end of the world was fast approaching when I decided a few years ago that something had to be done about the gradually expanding waistline. How could I get through the week without cooking at least one curry and would I ever be able to eat at my favourite curry house again? My impending holiday to Rajasthan did not bode well either. Surely I was not going to turn into one of these people who order a salad regardless of where they are in the world?

Thai Green Curry Chicken
Photo: Thai Jasmine

Well I am glad to say that like most problems there was a solution. With a little bit of thought about what constituted my favourite dishes I was able to make sensible choices both when eating out and when in India. Out went the creamy dishes like lamb pasanda but luckily tandoori dishes, especially chicken and prawn, are pretty healthy and delicious into the bargain.

As for cooking curries at home it is even easier to make the right choices since you are following a recipe and have complete control about what goes into the dish. Where online recipes called for ghee (clarified butter) I found that using a small amount of sunflower oil or even the minimal calorie spray oil did not affect the flavour of the food. Many Indian dishes use yoghurt and, whereas I may previously gone for the full fat yogurt, I found that the reduced fat yogurt tasted no different and had no impact on the cooking process.

Sadly a lot of my favourite Indian dishes use lamb (and often a somewhat fatty cut too!) but with a little discipline and will power I ditched the lamb and turned instead to vegetarian recipes. Serving a healthy vegetable curry as a side dish and just a little rice rather than my usual mound, I found that I was still able to enjoy a curry and lose a few pounds as well.

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