What is life without curry? In fact, life is not without hurry and worry too! Jokes apart, rich and heavy curries are enjoyed only once in a while and given the modern health challenges it is best to ‘skim’, ‘trim’ and ‘slim’ the curries. Indian food has so many curries to be proud of and as there is such a vast repertoire it is not possible, given the space constraint, to give low calorie avatars of all.
Curries are mostly made with a base of fat, onions, tomatoes, whole spices or even with nuts and coconut. At home, preparing curries in minimum oil is no longer an uphill task. Thanks to non-stick cooking ware and ingenuity of budding cooks!
Use spinach with creativity
Pureed fresh spinach can make a rich base for mixed vegetables, or tender sweet corn kernels, or even paneer (as in palak paneer!). Make a puree of blanched spinach with some ginger, garlic and green chillies. Start cooking it in the tempered oil and add the masalas and vegetables or chicken.
Tomatoes are a great help
Puree fresh ripe tomatoes with ginger, garlic and green chillies. Sauté in a non-stick pan till a little dry. Then add boiled dal, or steamed vegetables and of course you can highlight the curry with red chilli powder and garam masala powder.
Love for makhni
Tomatoes are pureed with onion, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, red pumpkin, cumin seeds, kasuri methi, salt and red chilli powder. As you sauté this paste in one teaspoon of oil, keep ready some low fat milk (instead of cream) and a paste of cornflour in water with some sugar. Finish off the dish with addition of your choice (grilled chicken or marinated chicken or steamed vegetables or paneer).
Stews sans oil
In a large pan put together some chicken pieces, chunks of potato, cauliflower and carrot. A handful of snow peas add colour. Bring to boil in sufficient water and add two star anise, two to three cloves, one inch stick of cinnamon, grated fresh garlic, roughly chopped green chillies, salt and crushed black peppercorns. By the time the whole thing is done the house is fragrant with a spice-laden aroma that will never let anyone know that this stew has no added fat.
What is curry without rice or bread? When you are serving a curry made in a healthier way why not skip white rice and get along with brown rice? Also skip white bread and look for good quality brown bread or best still, serve rotis.
Let us add a new recipe to our repertoire of healthy curries. Koftas are generally fried before being dunked in curry. But this one is different! Try Tamatar Murgh Kofta.