Massaman curry is a rich, creamy Thai curry that is flavored with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cumin. It is made with chicken, potatoes, onions, peanuts and coconut milk and is usually served over white rice. The combination of tender chicken, starchy potatoes, sweet coconut milk and fragrant spices makes massaman curry a very comforting and satisfying dish.
While Thai curries tend to be on the spicier side, massaman curry is more mildly flavored. Its complex blend of spices gives it a depth of flavor that isn’t overpowered by heat. This makes massaman curry appealing for those who can’t tolerate very spicy food.
Calories in Massaman Curry
The number of calories in massaman curry with rice depends on the specific ingredients used in the recipe and the portion sizes. In general, a serving of massaman curry contains around 300-500 calories.
The main sources of calories in massaman curry are:
– Coconut milk – Coconut milk adds a rich, creamy texture to massaman curry. A 1/2 cup serving of full fat coconut milk contains about 450 calories. Light coconut milk has fewer calories, with around 200 calories per 1/2 cup.
– Chicken – A 3 ounce portion of boneless, skinless chicken breast contains about 140 calories. Chicken thighs with skin on contains around 175 calories for a 3 ounce serving.
– Potatoes – One medium boiled potato contains about 150 calories. Fried potatoes will be higher in calories.
– Peanuts – 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts contains about 160 calories.
– Rice – A 1/2 cup serving of cooked white rice has around 100 calories.Brown rice has slightly more with around 110 calories per 1/2 cup.
So in a typical massaman curry dish with chicken, potatoes, peanuts and coconut milk served over 1/2 cup of rice, the total calories can range from:
– 500 calories for a lighter version with lean chicken, light coconut milk and vegetables
– 700-800 calories for a heartier version made with higher fat coconut milk, chicken thighs and boiled potatoes
– Up to 1,000 calories or more when served with fried potatoes or extra peanuts and rice
The exact calorie count will depend on the specific amounts of each ingredient used in the recipe. Larger portion sizes will also increase the calorie content.
Ways to Reduce Calories in Massaman Curry
Here are some easy ways to lighten up massaman curry and reduce the calorie count:
– Use light coconut milk – Replace full fat coconut milk with light coconut milk to slash the calories in half.
– Increase veggies – Bulk up the curry by adding extra vegetables like carrots, peppers, broccoli, snap peas or cauliflower. Non-starchy veggies provide volume with minimal calories.
-Chicken – Stick to boneless, skinless chicken breasts and trim any visible fat to cut down on the calories from chicken.
– Potatoes – Swap out boiled potatoes for extra veggies to eliminate starch and calories. You can also bake seasoned potato wedges in the oven instead of frying.
– Peanuts – Sprinkle just 1-2 tablespoons of peanuts on top instead of stirring a larger amount into the curry.
– Rice – Serve curry over cauliflower rice or shredded lettuce instead of regular rice to remove those carbs and calories. A 1/2 cup of rice can be 100-200 calories.
– Portion sizes – Curries tend to be high calorie dishes, so keep portions around 1 cup of curry with 1/2 cup of rice or substitutes. This will help control calorie intake.
Making a few substitutions and being mindful of portions can easily shave off 200-300 calories from a massaman curry meal.
Nutrition Facts for Massaman Curry
Here is the nutrition breakdown for a typical serving of massaman curry with rice:
Massaman chicken curry (1 cup)
Cooked white rice (1/2 cup)
Total for 1 serving of massaman curry with rice
As you can see, a typical serving of massaman curry with rice provides around 600 calories, with most of those calories coming from the coconut milk and chicken in the curry. There are also 37 grams of carbs, mostly from the rice, and 27 grams of protein from the chicken.
While 600 calories is not excessive for a main meal, those calories can quickly add up if you eat a large portion or help yourself to seconds. To lighten it up, you could swap out the regular rice for cauliflower rice or shredded lettuce to remove about 100-200 calories.
How Many Calories Per Day
So how does a massaman curry meal fit into your total daily calorie needs?
The average moderately active adult woman needs about 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight. For men, the estimated calorie requirement is around 2,500 calories. However, optimal calorie intakes can vary quite a bit based on age, activity level, and other factors.
If following a 2,000 calorie diet, a 600 calorie massaman curry meal would make up 30% of your total daily calorie intake. For a 2,500 calorie diet, it would be 24% of your calories for the day.
To allow room for this higher calorie meal, balance it out by choosing lower calorie foods for your other meals and snacks throughout the day.
Here is an example 2,000 calorie day with a massaman curry dinner:
|Breakfast: 300 calories|
|Lunch: 400 calories|
|Dinner: 600 calories (massaman curry)|
|Snacks: 300 calories|
|Beverages: 400 calories|
|Total: 2,000 calories|
As you can see, the massaman curry makes up a sizable portion of the day’s calories. Going with lighter options for breakfast, lunch and snacks helps balance out the meal.
You can also opt to share the massaman curry family-style, or pack half for leftovers to cut the calorie intake in half. Getting in the habit of paying attention to portion sizes for higher calorie dishes can make a big difference in your overall calorie intake.
Benefits of Massaman Curry
While massaman curry is relatively high in calories, it does provide some nutritional benefits:
– Protein – The chicken in massaman curry delivers a good amount of satisfying protein. Protein helps keep you feeling full and takes longer to digest than carbohydrates.
– Potassium – Potatoes are packed with potassium, an important electrolyte. Getting enough potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure.
– Fiber – Peanuts add fiber, which aids digestion and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
– Healthy fats – Coconut milk provides medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of healthy fat that may boost metabolism and support brain function.
To maximize the nutritional value of massaman curry, accompany it with a side of steamed or stir-fried vegetables. They’ll provide extra fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Substitutions to Make Massaman Curry Healthier
While massaman curry is delicious as is, you can modify the traditional recipe to create a lighter, healthier version:
– Chicken – Use boneless, skinless chicken breast and trim any visible fat. This removes some saturated fat and calories compared to chicken thighs.
– Coconut milk – Swap light coconut milk for a portion of the regular coconut milk. You’ll still get the creamy texture with fewer calories.
– Vegetables – Double up on the onions, peppers, carrots or other veggies in the curry. They add nutrients and bulk with minimal calories.
– Potatoes – Replace potatoes with cauliflower florets which have fewer carbs and calories. You can roast the cauliflower first to give it a crispy texture.
– Peanuts – Use unsalted peanuts and reduce the amount to a tablespoon or two sprinkled on top. Or leave peanuts out completely.
– Rice – Serve the curry with riced cauliflower or a salad instead of regular rice. You’ll avoid those starchy carbs and calories.
– Herbs/spices – Boost flavor with extra garlic, ginger, lemongrass, basil, cilantro or a squeeze of lime juice. This enhances taste without adding calories.
With a few simple substitutions, it’s easy to turn massaman curry into a lighter, healthier meal while keeping it just as delicious.
Massaman curry is a rich, flavorful Thai curry that typically provides around 600 calories per serving when served with rice. The main sources of calories are the coconut milk, chicken and potatoes. To lighten it up, use light coconut milk, increase veggies, stick to lean chicken breast, and serve over something other than regular rice.
While massaman curry is moderately high in calories, it does deliver ample protein, potassium, fiber and healthy fats. Make some healthy tweaks to reduce calories and balance it out with lighter meals and snacks during the rest of your day. This allows you to enjoy the complex flavors of massaman curry while still minding your daily calorie intake.