“I’ll just go for the usual please”
A cold, rainy Friday night, cuddled up on the sofa with a great film. The perfect time to pick up the phone and order yourself a Chinese takeaway.
The Chinese chicken curry is that staple item on the menu that we know is going to be a safe option. It’s full of flavour and generally tastes great, whichever takeaway you go to. Maybe you’ll add some chips, throw in some prawn crackers and enjoy a few won-ton's on the side too.
Friday nights are never the night to worry about calories but some of you might just be wondering if there are any lower-calorie options that are just as easy to get your hands on. We decided to test the takeaway against a supermarket ready meal and our own Spicentice recipe.
The takeaway Chinese chicken curry
Generally speaking, we will share a large curry and a large rice container between 2 people. It can be quite difficult to set to portion control when you’ve got leftovers hanging around though.
We took an average calorie count from a couple of different calorie tracking websites including My Fitness Pal which counted a ½ container.
Curry = 336 calories
Egg fried rice = 230 calories
It’s a slippery slope though when you’ve got that bag of prawn crackers and the large array of appetisers to choose from on the menu. Prawn toast, wontons, noodles and the like can soon double or triple your calorie intake with all their fried goodness.
Total = 566 Calories
The Tesco ready meal
The Chinese chicken curry is a firm favourite offered in Tesco and likely in most other big brand supermarkets. These meals come as pre-portioned meals for 1 and this particular version weighs around 450g for the chicken and rice together. It also contains a lot of additives to preserve shelf life and of course, isn’t fresh.
It’s a mediocre alternative to the takeaway if you want a quick microwave dinner but according to our tests, actually comes in higher in calories than a takeaway meal!
Total calories = 615 calories
The ready meal portion is fairly large, but we aren’t convinced we could enjoy a smaller portion and stop ourselves eating the whole lot! It might actually be a tastier AND healthier option to get down to the Chinese if you really can’t resist the urge to indulge, we think you’ll enjoy it more.
The Spicentice Chinese chicken curry
Total calories = 377
Of course, we won!
We developed a recipe that doesn’t use any coconut milk, cream or other high-calorie, high-fat additions. Our recipe uses some key things like garlic and onion, a good amount of chicken stock and a simple but special mix of herbs and spices from our seasoning mix – Add in a smidge of flour to thicken it all up & you’ve got an authentic curry in not much time at all with just under 200 calories to spare.
You could add in some shop-bought prawn crackers or spring rolls without making it a hugely calorific meal – or even add a glass of rum & ginger beer on the side to make to perfect Friday night.