Curry. Almost as nice without all the oil.


By popular request (ok, one person asked for it), here’s the low-calorie, and really rather delicious curry I made for my fasting dinner this evening. The curry itself is based on a Gujarati aubergine and potato number from my favourite Indian cookery book, Cooking with My Indian Mother-in-Law – obviously neither of those were going to work here, because aubergine cries out for oil (actually, thinking about it, I could have steamed it, but I had a bit of a rubbish aubergine dish from Holy Cow on Sunday, and I didn’t really fancy it) and potatoes are a big old calorie bomb, so I nicked the spicing and changed the veg. It’s quite a thick, intensely-flavoured curry, but that’s what you want on a fast day. No namby-pamby food welcome. (If you’d prefer a thinner sauce, just add more water. Duh.)

The cauliflower rice, meanwhile, is unashamedly stolen from Instagram’s @ellypear, who posted a similar thing yesterday evening. I wasn’t sure how she’d cooked hers, but I didn’t have many calories left, and I get grumpy if I don’t have my berries and low-fat yoghurt (oh God) for pudding, so I microwaved mine. To be honest, I was a bit sceptical about the idea, but that just shows how needlessly cynical I am about all ideas low-cal/carb/fun, because it worked really really well. Ok, so I’d have preferred rice. but the little nubbly pieces of cauliflower did a surprisingly good job in its stead, and there was a lot more of it too. Which is psychologically important. Make sure you season it well. 


Gujarati-style butternut squash and kale curry with cauliflower ‘rice’ (Serves 1 (but easily doubled or quadrupled, 210kcal) 

1tsp groundnut oil 

1/4tsp mustard seeds

1/4tsp cumin seeds

Pinch of fenugreek

1/4tsp chilli powder

1/4tsp asfoetida

2tsp dana jiru (1.5tsp coriander seeds and 3/4tsp cumin seeds, toasted then ground)

50g onion, chopped 

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/4tsp turmeric

200g tinned tomatoes 

100g butternut squash, peeled and chopped  into small chunks

100g kale, shredded 

100g cauliflower, cut into small florets 

Pinch of black onion seeds

Fresh coriander, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the mustard, cumin, fenugreek and chilli powder. Cook for a minute until the mustard seeds begin to pop, then stir in the aefoetida and dana jiru. Cook for another 30 seconds, then add the onion and garlic.
  2. Cook until softened, then add the tomatoes. Turn down the heat, add a splash of water, and simmer until reduced and thick. Season and keep warm. 
  3. Meanwhile, steam the butternut squash over a pan of boiling water for about 5 minutes, then add the kale and steam for another couple of minutes until tender.
  4. Put the cauliflower into a food processor and whizz into rice-sized pieces. Put in a microwaveable container and cook for 1 minute. Season and stir in black onion seeds.
  5. Stir the vegetables into the curry sauce. Serve with the cauliflower rice, with a little coriander on top to serve. Devour.

One response to “Curry. Almost as nice without all the oil.”

  1. When it comes to curry my favourite is Rogan Josh, preferably the Madhur Jaffrey one from her early BBC book, Indian Cookery. Can you beat it? Then the real challenge is to find an Indian Chicken Curry with a similar depth of flavour to the Rogan?

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