When I first started trying to lose weight, I thought I could do it just by eating what I thought were healthy low calorie options on menus and cutting back on fried food, desserts etc. But boy was I wrong! One of my biggest problems was that I had no idea how many calories were actually hidden in some of that healthy looking food and that healthy food is only healthy as long as your serving sizes are also appropriate. Sure that chicken stir-fry may not use much fat to make it but if you are eating enough of it to feed a small army, you are still going to put on weight!
For some people, there are health reasons why they are overweight but for me and I suspect a few others, the problem was I was eating way more calories than I was using. And this is still something I struggle with and I still love my desserts and particularly chocolate. But I am a big believer in eating in moderation rather than trying to cut certain foods completely out of my life.
I also know a lot of people are against calorie counting and I don’t think it is a long term option. But for me it gave me the knowledge about what I was eating, and as they say, knowledge is power. I now have a much better idea about what is a reasonable portion size.
One of the things I was very disappointed to learn was that my favourite meal at Wagamama’s (which seems to have now closed in Australia according to their website – how did I miss that? Oh thats right I stopped eating there :)) the grilled katsu curry chicken had quite a high calorie count. I suspected this was primarily because of the serving size and while I know I don’t have to finish a meal, as a child I definitely had it drummed in to me not to waste food and used to eat it all.
I don’t know why then, I never thought to make it at home. Maybe I thought it had some secret ingredient that I would have to traipse all over town for. Then a few Japanese chicken curry recipes started popping up in my pinterest feed including this one from Foodie on Board which included a recipe to make a Japanese curry mix. I am keen to make new spice mixes following the success I had making this sazon seasoning from Skinny Taste.
In terms of flavour, it is not a spicy hot curry, rather I think of it more as comfort food curry. The sauce is lovely and flavoursome but not in an in your face way; the flavours are more subtle which is what I sort of expect from Japanese food.
The same pictures must have been appearing in Maureen from the Orgasmic Chef’s feed as she posted a version of a Japanese Chicken Curry last week based on one of the recipes I saw – hers looks possibly more healthy than mine with a few veggies thrown in for good measure. What I did find interesting is that both recipes include apple, which adds a touch of sweetness.
The result is probably not a very close match to my Wagamama’s curry but it definitely has the same flavour base. And fewer calories at 350 a serve without the rice and 570 with a third of a cup of basmati rice steamed. I will definitely be making this one again as well as giving Maureen’s version a whirl. I like the idea of the potato in Maureen’s curry (though that will up the calories) as well as the lovely amount of sauce the chicken comes with. I absolutely love rice and sauce – I have probably shared before that growing up all I ever wanted from the Chinese takeaway was fried rice with curry sauce. I was not a culinary savvy kid.
I have reduced the calories in the original recipe by cutting back on the amount of oil used in the cooking. The original recipe is about
For the curry mix, I just halved the recipe and figured I could the rest for later. I couldn’t find ground fenugreek so I bought whole fenugreek and ground it in my mortar and pestle without too much effort.
This is a fairly quick recipe to make, especially once you have the curry mix on hand. Preparation time is 10 and cooking time is 25, so total time of 35.
- 140g of chicken breast, skinless and boneless cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 inch squares)
- 1/2 tbs of vegetable oil
- 1/4 of an onion, sliced thinly
- 2 tbs of peeled apple, grated
- 1/2 tbs of Japanese curry mix (see below)
- 1 tsp of minced ginger
- 1 tsp of minced garlic (equal to one clove)
- 1/2 tbs of plain flour (I think this is called all purpose in the US)
- 1/2 a cup of chicken stock
- 2 tsp of rice wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup of baby spinach
- coriander (cilantro) to garnish
- 1 tbs turmeric
- 1/2 tbs of ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp of ground cardamon
- 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp of ground pepper
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- a pinch of ground cloves
- a pinch of fennel seeds (or ground if you can find it)
- Heat the oil on medium -high in a skillet or small saucepan
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry in the skillet until sealed and going golden, about 4 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from pan and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and cook the onions until they are soft - this should take a couple of minutes or so. If you use an electric stove like me, it can be slow to cool down and your onions might be fried rather than just softened. This is not a problem in terms of a great tasting recipe.
- Add the apple, curry mix, ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. This takes a minute or two.
- Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two, stirring until well combined.
- Add the stock and keep stirring to make sure it is well combined.
- Keep stirring until it is boiling then turn the heat to let it simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens . This should take 2-3 minutes. But keep an eye on it as the smaller amounts may mean it thickens quickly depending on how much your stove has cooled.
- Add the chicken back in and stir in the the rice wine vinegar.
- Cook for about 8 minutes. The main thing is to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. If need be take a piece out and cut it open to make sure there is no pink left.
- Add the baby spinach andcook until the spinach has wilted, about a minute or two.
- Garnish with the coriander (cilantro)
- Grind the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle
- Add the other spices and combine
- Keep in a jar - I normally reuse old spice jars