Penang chicken and sweet potato curry – Thaitastic!


Penang chicken

Several healthy eating cookbooks contain ‘fakeaway’ chapters – reduced-fat recipes of our favourite takeaways – but none better than Justine Pattison who has dedicated an entire book to them. Penang chicken and sweet potato curry is a sumptuous Thai fakeaway that I’d be delighted to have served to me in a restaurant. The beauty of this is that you can enjoy restaurant quality food for just over 400 calories providing you follow the simple cooking method to the letter.

The sweet potatoes mean that you don’t need to add extra calories by having rice or bread, and the accompaniment of the stir-fried broccoli with chilli and garlic adds some extra zing and class for only 48 calories more. This is a really special dish to cook on a weekend ‘date night’. So crack open some vino, tuck into this and get ‘love is in the air’ blasting out by John Paul Young and you’ll be sorted :-).

If you love this, why not try another of Justine’s fakeaway crackerjacks – Ginger Chicken with Udon Noodles. Continue reading “Penang chicken and sweet potato curry – Thaitastic!”

Low-cal chicken tikka masala – worth stripping off for!


Chicken tikka

It’s January. I’m skint and that, combined with my need to sift some post-Christmas ‘timber’, means that Indian takeaways are firmly off the menu for now. Thankfully, low-cal chicken tikka masala from the Hairy Dieters is a brilliant ‘plan B’. In fact, it tastes so good that this could become ‘plan A’ going forward.

Do take the trouble to marinate the chicken overnight if you can as the flavours, particularly the ginger, intensify which makes the end result really satisfying. Personally, I left the salt out of this dish because I’m not a fan and I don’t think the recipe needs it but see what you think. Please note, the calories listed below DO NOT include rice or naan. A small piece of bread satisfies me when mopping up the sauce and the dish will still come in at under 500 cals.

Prep does take a while but this is a doddle to make. The only ‘health and safety’ precaution I need to make is to momentarily ‘strip off’ when blending the sauce with a stick blender as I tend to get it all down my top and up the walls if I’m not careful. It’s not just me, right? Continue reading “Low-cal chicken tikka masala – worth stripping off for!”

Chicken biryani- a flavour-bomb fakeaway


chicken biryani

When compiling a list of my favourite Indian curries that I wanted to try as a ‘fakeaway’, Chicken Biryani didn’t immediately spring to mind. But I’m so glad I decided to make this reduced-calorie version from the Hairy Dieters as it’s literally bursting with flavours which made for a fabulous surprise.

Some healthy eating books regularly throw in the claim ‘this is better than a takeaway’ almost to the point of it becoming a cliché, however this was exactly the conclusion I came to after demolishing this chicken biryani meal. There a lot of ingredients, but as long as you follow the method to the letter it will turn out brilliantly.

A lot of ‘fakeaway’ recipes give you the calorie count for the meal WITHOUT rice, so if you’re not careful what seems like an ultra healthy dish on paper can be potentially misleading. This chicken biryani meal INCLUDES rice and comes in at just under 400 calories (based on serving 5 people) so you don’t need to worry whether this is a healthy choice for your diet! Continue reading “Chicken biryani- a flavour-bomb fakeaway”

Chicken Bhuna – fab ‘fakeaway’!


Chicken bhuna

You’ll find lots of cracking Indian ‘fakeaway’ dishes throughout the Hairy Dieters’ books and Chicken Bhuna is right up there with the best of them. In fact, if my 13-year old son didn’t despise peppers I’d probably make this more often than I do. Perhaps it’s time to show the boy some tough love and make him eat this belting curry more often? I digress…

I really like the simplicity of this recipe. Unlike the majority of Indian dishes which require lots of spices, this one only uses mild curry powder and garam masala. The addition of the fresh ginger, garlic, chopped tomatoes and chilli powder work their magic to produce a fantastic sauce and hey presto, job done.

The calorie count is 305 calories but do keep in mind this is WITHOUT including rice and/or naan bread. But if you do succumb to these extras this meal is still far healthier than a standard takeaway, and a damn site cheaper and dare I say it, tastier too! Continue reading “Chicken Bhuna – fab ‘fakeaway’!”

Fish Curry (in a hurry!)


Fish curry

Fish Curry from the Hairy Dieters’ Fast Food book is a sumptuous hot and sour one-pan treat which can be prepped and cooked in about half an hour. It may seem like a lot of ingredients but they are mainly just spices which combine to produce a gorgeous and distinctive flavour.

The Hairy Dieters suggest using hake or tilapia (I’ve never heard of this fish before), but I’ve previously used cod on the occasions I’ve made this recipe. It probably isn’t as ‘firm’ as the other two but it works well for me. My local Co-Op frequently discounts cod fillets towards the end of the day so I pop them in the freezer and defrost them when I’m ready to rustle this meal up at a bargain cost.

This is a brilliant meal to do if you’re following a 5:2 diet (just 226 calories per serving), and even if you’re not and want to enjoy an extra helping (I have been known to!) then it’s still only going to set you back 452 calories! Continue reading “Fish Curry (in a hurry!)”

Very Easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry


Thai chicken curry

Despite the number of ingredients, Very Easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry from the Hairy Dieters’ inaugural book is indeed easy to make and quick for a weeknight tea providing you get everything out on your working top before you start.

I’m not a huge fan of rice, but even if you are, I don’t think this recipe necessarily warrants the addition of anything else given that the chicken is bulked out by the peppers and mangetout. If you can resist having rice, the calorie count for this ‘fakeaway’ dish is waistline friendly and perfect if you’re having a ‘5:2’ day and seeking a healthy evening meal for under 300 calories.

My only slight criticism is that even with the addition of the cornflour this curry is a tad watery for my liking so I tend to cook for longer than the suggested timings listed below. Try it yourself, as Neil Buchanan from Art Attack famously said (or perhaps not famously at all). Continue reading “Very Easy Thai Chicken and Coconut Curry”