Curry Calorie Count. Part Two

Part one of this article described how food energy is measured in kilocalories and kilojoules and some of the challenges in finding out the energy content of food.

So how exactly does this relate to curries? After all, it’s only curries in which we’re really interested.

We’ve already found out that we can’t find out the true energy content of restaurant and takeaway curries.

So we shall concentrate on readymade, frozen, curries bought from supermarkets as well as homemade curries.

Now it won’t surprise you to learn that I prefer homemade curries. I can control the ingredients that go into a homemade curry and I don’t add any preservatives, artificial colourings or antioxidants. And I really think that they taste better than supermarket readymade curries with a better texture as well as flavour. And I can add more of my favourite ingredient into my homemade curry to make it my own unique curry (I quite often add one or two extra fresh chillies when I’m making a curry to make it a bit hotter).

I need to say here that I don’t think there is anything wrong in buying a readymade, frozen, curry from a supermarket – I’ve eaten a lot of them in my time. Sometimes you really don’t have time to make a curry yourself or maybe you’re just not a very good cook. Or maybe a curry takes your fancy when you’re shopping in a supermarket. You may not even like cooking. Or maybe you’re just too lazy.

That’s enough of the general talk. What about some numbers?

The following table shows the energy content of some single serving, frozen, curries that can be bought in most large supermarkets (I did my research delving in the freezer cabinets of a couple of supermarkets).

Curry Kilocalories (kcal)* Kilojoules (kJ)*
Chicken Bhuna 396 1,657
Chicken Korma 498 2,084
Chicken Tikka 232 971
Balti Chicken with Rice 476 1,992
Chicken Korma with Rice 377 1,577
Chicken Tikka Masala 350 1,464
Lamb Rogan Josh with Rice 448 1,874

Lamb Korma with Rice 716 2,996

* 1 kilocalorie (kcal) equals 4.184 kilojoules (kJ)

You may have noticed that some of the above readymade curries include rice and some don’t. If you eat your curry with rice and have to make the rice yourself then you need to add the energy value of the rice to the energy value of the curry to find out the total energy content of what you’re eating.

Different brands of the same curry have different energy contents. Notice how the Chicken Korma with Rice has less kilocalories than the Chicken korma without any rice.

How do some of the Curry Focus curries measure up to the readymade, frozen, curries that can be bought? Check out the following table (these are some of the curries that I have made from the Curry Focus recipes).

Curry Kilocalories (kcal)* Kilojoules (kJ)*
Balti Chicken Curry with Rice 437 1,828
Cumin Chicken with Rice 375 1,569
Kashmir Meatball Curry with Rice 461 1,929

* 1 kilocalorie (kcal) equals 4.184 kilojoules (kJ)

Generally speaking, the number of calories in homemade curries is roughly the same as for the readymade, frozen, curries (although you can’t take this for granted – you should always check the labels to see what is in the bought curry).

As I said earlier, one of the main advantages of making a curry yourself is that you have total control over the ingredients that go into the curry. And, generally speaking, a homemade curry is cheaper than buying a readymade, frozen, supermarket curry.

Just how did I arrive at the energy content of my curries? Let’s look at the Balti Chicken Curry with Rice recipe.

The following table shows the ingredients of the curry, along with the kilocalorie value for each ingredient.

Ingredient Kilocalories (kcal) Note
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 366  
2 large onions 80  
2 medium tomatoes 52  
4 black peppercorns 0  
2 green cardamom pods 2 Best guess
5cm (2 inch) cinnamon stick 2 Best guess (the stick itself is not eaten)
1 teaspoon chilli powder 8  
1 teaspoon garam masala 6  
1 teaspoon garlic paste 5  
1 teaspoon ginger paste 1  
1 teaspoon salt 0  
2 chicken breasts 978 See note 1
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt 20
3 tablespoons fresh coriander 4  
2 fresh green chillies 8 Best guess
2 tablespoons lime juice 12  
1 cup rice 204  
Total energy for 4 servings 1,748  
Energy for 1 serving 437  

Note 1 – most skinless and boneless chicken breasts in my local supermarket weigh in the region of 300g (around 10.5 oz).

I searched the Internet to find out the energy content for the ingredients. It was easy to find the values for some of the ingredients but some were hard to uncover and I just guessed at a couple of the numbers (I always guessed on the high side).

It took quite a while to find out all the energy numbers, especially for the spices.

The next part of this article will compare the energy content of curries with some alternative frozen meals that can be bought and also describes the energy content of some of the more popular extras that people (including me) eat and drink with their curries.

Curry Calorie Count. Part One
Curry Calorie Count. Part Two
Curry Calorie Count. Part Three

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