Indian food is one of the most popular cuisines in Australia. Since the dishes are rich and delicious, they aren’t the best foods to consume if you’re trying to lose weight. Thankfully, it’s still possible to enjoy the iconic flavours of Indian food. All you have to do is tweak the standard recipes to make healthier alternatives. If you’ve been craving exotic and complex flavours, here are low-calorie Indian food recipes you can eat even while on a diet.
5 LOW-CALORIE INDIAN FOOD RECIPES YOU CAN MAKE AT HOME
1. WHOLE WHEAT GARLIC NAAN
Naan is a staple of Indian cuisine. However, naan is traditionally made from white flour, which is often associated with weight gain. A healthier alternative is to use whole-wheat flour, which has lower calories and more nutrients. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this low-calorie whole-wheat garlic naan recipe:
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 cup soy flour
- 1/4 cup low-fat curds
- 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp bicarbonate soda
- Combine flour, curds, garlic, oil, salt and bicarb soda. Knead for about 4-5 minutes until you have a soft dough. Cover with wet muslin cloth for 45 minutes.
- Divide the dough to create four-inch circles.
- Use oil to grease the interior of a pressure cooker. Turn it upside down with the opening placed over an open flame.
- Wet one side of the naan and place it on the sides of the pressure cooker. Cook until brown spots appear or naan peels easily from the pressure cooker. Serve.
2. REDUCED-FAT BUTTER CHICKEN
I’ve included butter chicken in my low-calorie Indian food recipes. It’s one of the most popular Indian dishes after all. With a few adjustments, you can turn this delicious meal into something that’s healthier, low-fat and low-sodium. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, diced
- 2 large onions, diced
- 140g tomato paste
- 2 cups canned tomatoes, diced
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup natural low-fat yoghurt
- 1/4 cup lite cooking cream
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp ginger, crushed
- 1 tsp chilli, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground garam masala
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Heat oil and butter in a pot over low heat. Add onions and cook for about 6 minutes or until softened and translucent.
- Mix cardamom, garam masala, cloves, cinnamon, coriander and turmeric in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add garlic, ginger and chilli to pot. Stir for a minute. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute.
- Add spice mixture and cook for a minute or until the aroma is released.
- Add tomatoes, sugar and water to the pot. Stir and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream and yoghurt while stirring.
- Add chicken breasts and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer to serving plate. Serve with rice, naan or roti bread if desired.
3. FISH AND VEGETABLE VINDALOO
Vindaloo is a popular Indian curry dish that’s usually served with pork, lamb or chicken. As a healthier alternative, this low-calorie recipe uses fish and tons of vegetables. This way, you can still enjoy the spicy flavour without worrying about your diet. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 600g white fish fillets, cut into small pieces
- 250g cherry tomato
- 150g frozen green beans
- 1 medium yellow capsicum, chopped
- 1 cup fish stock
- 1/3 cup fresh coriander
- 2 tbsp gluten-free vindaloo curry paste
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add curry paste and cook for a minute or until fragrant. Stir while cooking.
- Add fish stock, tomato, capsicum and red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add fish to pan. Cover and let simmer for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through. Add green beans during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Stir in coriander leaves.
- Transfer to plate and serve.
4. SKINNY TIKKA MASALA
Tikka masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes, so we’ve included a healthier version on our list of low-calorie Indian food recipes. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- 113g fat-free yoghurt
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cup tomatoes, crushed
- 1/2 cup 1% milk
- 4 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- salt, as needed
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden.
- Add ginger and stir for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add cumin, garam masala, turmeric, chilli and salt. Mix well. Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Stir in tomatoes, milk and yoghurt. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
- Add chicken and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.
- Transfer to serving bowl and top with cilantro. Serve with rice or naan if desired.
5. LOW-FAT CHICKEN TANDOORI
A low-fat chicken tandoori still makes for a very delicious and flavourful meal. The recipe for this healthier Indian dish is also simple and quick to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 16 skinless chicken thighs
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 large ginger, grated
- 300ml Greek yoghurt
- 4 tsp paprika
- 3/4 tsp garam masala
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- vegetable oil, as needed
- Mix lemon juice, paprika and red onions in a bowl. Cut chicken thighs and marinate in the juice for 10 minutes.
- Combine yoghurt, ginger, garlic, garam masala, cumin, chilli and turmeric. Pour over chicken and mix to coat everything evenly. Cover and chill for at least one hour.
- Heat grill and coat rack with vegetable oil. Grill chicken pieces for 8 minutes and then flip to cook the other side for another 8 minutes.
- Transfer to plate and serve.
The key to sustaining weight loss is to not feel deprived of your favourite meals. If you love Indian food, there’s no reason why you can’t indulge in these dishes from time to time. Even if you’re committed to your weight loss goals, you can still incorporate these delicious dishes into your diet. Just tweak the recipes and use healthier ingredients.