Healthy curry

Love a Korma but looking for a lighter option? We ask chef Nisha Katona how to create a healthier curry from scratch (minus the faff)

It’s one the most popular takeaways in the UK but we all know how unhealthy they can be – the average tikka masala is high in saturated fat, while the average curry contains 3g-5g of salt (our recommended daily allowance is 6g).

The good news? It’s easy to create a super tasty curry that’s lighter on the fat and salt. In fact, just cooking your own from scratch makes it a healthier choice. It doesn’t mean spending a small fortune on expensive spices either – we ask the chef-owner of Mowgli Street Food restaurants, BBC presenter and author of three cookbooks (including The Spice Tree) Nisha Katona for her advice…

1. Swap buttery ingredients for rapeseed oil and yoghurt

“Cream and ghee (created by skimming the milk solids out of melted butter) tend to be high in fat so, when following a recipe, you can swap ghee out for rapeseed or olive oil, and yoghurt instead of cream for an instantly lighter version.”

2. Swap the rice for romaine lettuce

“Want to make your curry low-carb? Swap the classic rice for Romaine lettuce. Use the big lettuce leaves as a wrap and pile your curry inside, adding fresh coriander and green chilli for a delicious punch.”

3. Keep it veggie (or vegan)

“Chickpeas, butterbeans or paneer cheese in place of meat make any curry deliciously wholesome. The majority of curries in India are vegetarian or vegan. You can easily make a curry vegan-friendly by swapping out the dairy product for coconut milk.”

4. Make your own roti

“Indians always have roti bread, which is made from wholemeal flour, salt and a little vegetable oil. You can make your own or, if you’re short on time, just buy roti instead of naan.”

5. Let spices (not fat) do the talking

“When you’re cooking with lighter ingredients, let clever seasoning and spices shine through – they’ll help you feel more satisfied. My favourites are cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and amchoor (a dried green mango powder that has a delicious sharp taste).”

6. Make your own healthy dip

“One of the healthiest dips is raita – and it’s great for cooling your taste buds, too. All you need to do is mix around 200g of natural yoghurt, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp of cumin powder, a squeeze of lemon juice and a quarter of a cucumber, grated.”

Feeling hungry? Check out Nisha’s easy veggie curry, ready in 50 minutes.

White cabbage, tomato and cumin curry


Recipe extracted from The Spice Tree: Indian Cooking Made Beautifully Simple by Nisha Katona (£20, Ebury Press)

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