How Many Calories Are In A Curry?

I sometimes get asked how many calories are there in a curry? A lot of people like eating curries but are afraid that they contain too many calories that will ruin their latest diet and they will put on weight.

The answer isn’t straightforward. There are hundreds of different curries. If you’re not following a recipe, the number of calories in a curry can vary from meal to meal.

Some curries are laden with calories but they are usually curries from a restaurant (either dine in or takeaway).

Curries made at home are generally better for you (from a calorie point of view) and frozen supermarket curries are usually OK as well.

Recently I wrote a series of articles, titled “Curry Calorie Count”, that describes the perils of eating restaurant curries and all of those delicious extras that you often eat with a curry.

The articles describe how I worked out how many calories, kilocalories or kilojoules are in three of the delicious curries made by following the Curry Focus recipes.

The main difficulty in working out the energy content of curries is finding out how many kilocalories, or kilojoules, are in the spices. You need to know the numbers for the main ingredients but these are usually easier to find.

So to help you out, the following is a table for the most common curry ingredients for you to use in calculating the kilocalories, or kilojoules, in a curry.

Note that all measures (teaspoon, tablespoon and cup) are for level measures.

Ingredient Measure Kilocalories* Kilojoules*
Bay leaves 1 23 97
Black peppercorns 1 teaspoon 0 0
Canola oil 1 tablespoon 122 511
Cardamom pods 7 5 21
Cardamom, ground 1 teaspoon 5 21
Cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon 6 26
Chicken breast, skinless and boneless 3.5 oz (100g) 163 682
Chickpea flour 1 cup 484 2,026
Chilli powder 1 teaspoon 8 34
Chilli, fresh 1 4 17
Cinnamon stick 3 inch stick 3 13
Cinnamon, ground 1 teaspoon 6 26
Cloves 12 cloves 7 30
Cloves, ground 1 teaspoon 7 30
Coriander, fresh 1 cup 4 17
Coriander, fresh 1 tablespoon 2 9
Coriander, ground 1 teaspoon 5 21
Cumin, ground 1 teaspoon 8 34
Garam masala 1 teaspoon 6 26
Garlic paste 1 teaspoon 5 21
Garlic, crushed 1 clove 4 17
Ginger paste 1 teaspoon 1 5
Ginger root, fresh 1 inch 5 21
Lamb, lean and boneless 3.5 oz (100g) 145 607
Lime juice 1 tablespoon 6 26
Onion 1 large 40 168
Onion 1 medium 30 126
Onion 1 small 20 84
Rice, Basmati 1 cup 170 711
Rice, long grain 1 cup 205 858
Salt 1 teaspoon 0 0
Tomato 1 medium 26 109
Water Any 0 0
Yoghurt, plain unsweetened 1 tablespoon 10 42

* there are 4.184 kilojoules in a kilocalorie.

You need to be careful about the numbers in the above table. Some are guesses, based upon what I could find on the Internet. And some are obviously approximations (for example, there are lots of different type of chilli and they can’t all have the same number of calories, can they?).

The biggest pain with working out how many calories are in a curry is all the counting and arithmetic that you need to do. I find it a very tedious exercise.

Hopefully this table will let you work out the kilocalories, or kilojoules, in your favourite curry.

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