Chicken yellow curry is a popular Indian dish that consists of chicken cooked in a sauce made from curry powder and various spices. It’s a flavorful dish that can be mild to quite spicy depending on the type and amount of curry powder used. Many people enjoy chicken yellow curry but are concerned about the calorie content, especially if eating it frequently or in large portions. So how many calories are actually in chicken yellow curry? Let’s take a detailed look.
Chicken Yellow Curry Calories
The calorie content of chicken yellow curry can vary considerably depending on the specific ingredients and amounts used in the recipe. Here are some general guidelines for chicken yellow curry calories:
- 4 ounces (113g) of boneless, skinless chicken breast contains around 120 calories
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or ghee adds around 120 calories
- 1/2 cup of onion chopped adds around 30 calories
- 1 clove of garlic minced contains about 4 calories
- 1 tablespoon of curry powder contains around 8 calories
- 1/2 cup of plain yogurt adds around 100 calories
- 1/2 cup of coconut milk has about 230 calories
- 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes adds around 15 calories
- Chopped cilantro, salt, and spices add minimal calories
So for a basic chicken yellow curry containing 4 ounces of chicken, 2 tablespoons of oil, onions, garlic, spices, yogurt, coconut milk and tomatoes, the total calorie count would be around:
- Chicken: 120 calories
- Oil: 240 calories
- Onions: 30 calories
- Garlic: 4 calories
- Curry powder: 8 calories
- Yogurt: 100 calories
- Coconut milk: 230 calories
- Tomatoes: 15 calories
Total: Around 747 calories
This would be for a moderate serving, around 1 1/2 cups of curry sauce with 4 ounces of chicken. The calorie count can increase with larger portion sizes or richer ingredients like heavy cream instead of yogurt. Adding rice or naan bread would also add more calories.
Ways to Reduce Calories in Chicken Yellow Curry
Here are some easy ways to reduce the calories in a serving of chicken yellow curry:
- Use minimal oil for cooking – try cooking chicken first then removing before making sauce
- Choose lower fat coconut milk or limit amount used
- Use plain low-fat yogurt instead of full fat
- Increase vegetables like onions, peppers, cauliflower
- Use leaner cuts of chicken or remove skin
- Flavor with spices instead of oil
- Avoid heavy cream or butter
- Use reduced fat cheese if adding on top
- Limit rice or bread servings
Making these modifications can potentially reduce the calorie count to 500 calories or less per serving.
Calories in Chicken Yellow Curry at Restaurants
When dining out, the calorie content of chicken yellow curry can vary greatly depending on the restaurant. Some guidelines:
- Indian restaurant curry: 700-900 calories per serving
- Thai restaurant curry: 600-800 calories per serving
- Fast food curry: 400-700 calories per serving
These are general estimates only, as specific ingredients and preparation methods can alter the calories. Menu descriptions may provide calorie information or you can ask the staff for guidance. Going easy on rice or breads served alongside can help reduce overall calories.
Nutrients in Chicken Yellow Curry
Beyond just calories, chicken yellow curry contains a variety of beneficial nutrients:
- Protein: Chicken provides lean protein for building and repairing muscle.
- Complex carbs: Rice, onions, peppers add fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Healthy fats: Coconut milk and ghee provide fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.
- Vitamin A: From onions, tomatoes, coconut milk.
- Vitamin C: Tomatoes, peppers and onions contain vitamin C.
- Iron: Chicken and some spices provide iron.
- Magnesium: Found in coconut milk and onions.
So while the calorie count is important to consider, chicken yellow curry can be part of a balanced diet when portion sizes and ingredients are controlled. It provides protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats when prepared properly.
Tips for Making Lower Calorie Chicken Yellow Curry
Here are some tips for making a delicious chicken yellow curry at home while reducing the calorie content:
- Sauté chicken in just 1 tsp oil then remove and sauté onions in broth or water.
- Use reduced fat coconut milk and limit to 1/3 cup per serving.
- Boost veggies by adding cauliflower, carrot, snap peas.
- Season well with spices like curry powder, cumin, coriander.
- Use Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream.
- Finish with cilantro, lime juice, chopped nuts for extra flavor.
- Serve with riced cauliflower instead of white rice.
Following these tips allows you to reduce oil, dairy and carbs while maximizing nutrients from vegetables and lean protein. This results in a flavorful chicken yellow curry under 500 calories per serving.
Healthier Chicken Yellow Curry Recipe
This healthier chicken yellow curry recipe delivers big flavor for under 400 calories per serving:
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup light coconut milk
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add chicken and cook 5 minutes until browned.
- Remove chicken and set aside.
- Add onion to the skillet and cook 5 minutes until soft.
- Add garlic and curry powder and cook 1 minute more.
- Whisk in chicken broth, yogurt and coconut milk.
- Add cauliflower and simmer 10 minutes.
- Return chicken to the skillet along with tomatoes.
- Cook 5 more minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with cilantro.
This makes 4 servings at approximately 375 calories each. Serve with riced cauliflower or a side salad instead of rice to further reduce calories.
Freezing Leftover Chicken Yellow Curry
Got leftovers after making a big batch of chicken yellow curry? Here are some tips for freezing:
- Let curry cool completely before transferring to freezer bags or containers.
- Divide into portion sizes so you can thaw only what’s needed.
- Leave 1/2 inch space at the top for expansion.
- Seal tightly and press out excess air.
- Label with name and date.
- Freeze up to 3 months.
- Thaw in fridge overnight before reheating on the stove or microwave.
Freezing is a great way to save time and avoid food waste with large pots of chicken yellow curry. Just be sure to follow proper freezing guidelines to preserve flavor and texture.
Ready-to-Eat Chicken Yellow Curry Options
If you don’t have time to make chicken yellow curry from scratch, there are some shortcuts available:
- Jarred curry sauce – Many brands sell Indian-style yellow curry sauce that just needs chicken and vegetables added. Look for low-fat options.
- Prepared frozen chicken yellow curry – Some frozen food brands like Amy’s or Tandoor Chef make frozen chicken yellow curries that just require reheating.
- Canned curry – Brands like Thai Kitchen sell canned yellow curries that can be quickly heated with chicken.
- Curry paste – Look for jars of Thai yellow curry paste to flavor coconut milk, chicken and veggies for fast curry.
- Rotisserie chicken – Shred rotisserie chicken and simmer in a store-bought yellow curry sauce for an instant meal.
While not as healthy or flavorful as homemade, these prepared chicken yellow curry options can work in a pinch while still controlling calories.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the calorie content of chicken yellow curry:
Does chicken yellow curry have coconut milk?
Traditional chicken yellow curry recipes call for coconut milk, which adds beneficial healthy fats but also increases the calorie content. Opt for light coconut milk or limit to 1/4 cup per serving to reduce calories.
What are the calories in chicken korma vs. chicken curry?
Chicken korma is a creamier, milder curry dish that uses yogurt and cream. It typically contains 700-900 calories per serving compared to 500-800 for chicken yellow curry.
Is chicken yellow curry healthier than beef or lamb curry?
Chicken is one of the leaner protein options for curry. Beef or lamb curries often contain more saturated fat and calories, around 800-1000 calories per serving.
What is the Weight Watchers points value for chicken yellow curry?
Most chicken yellow curries fall into the 8-12 point range per serving on the Weight Watchers points system depending on ingredients and portion size. Lighter versions can be 5-7 points.
What is the calorie count in chicken tikka masala?
Chicken tikka masala is an Indian dish made with creamy tomato sauce. A serving averages around 700-900 calories, similar to chicken korma and higher than chicken yellow curry.
Chicken yellow curry can range quite a bit in its calorie content based on serving size, protein amount, cooking method and the specific ingredients used in the recipe. On average, a moderate 1 1/2 cup serving with lean chicken will provide around 500-800 calories. Opting for lighter ingredients and emphasizing vegetables can bring that number down closer to 400-500 calories per serving. At restaurants, calories tend to be higher with most entrees clocking in between 700-900 calories. If enjoying chicken yellow curry, be mindful of portion sizes and accompanying rice or breads. This allows you to satisfy your curry craving while still maintaining healthy calorie intake as part of an overall balanced diet.