Curries are one of my favourite things to eat, so I make them a lot. As I’m trying to reduce my cholesterol, I add as many cholesterol-lowering ingredients as I can to my meals. Curries are great for this, because you can add things like chickpeas, ground flaxseeds and vegetables, and the curry tastes just as good. And the vegetables count towards your five a day, which is an added bonus.
You can use all sorts of different curry pastes in this recipe (or make your own). To keep the saturated fat content as low as possible, I use chopped tomatoes as the base of the sauce. The curry pastes that I think work best with tomatoes are Tikka Masala, Jalfrezi and Madras. Tikka Masala is my favourite, as it’s not too spicy, so you can add extra spice depending on who will be eating it.
I generally cook brown rice to go with it, as the dietary fibre also helps to lower cholesterol. Brown rice takes about 25 minutes to cook, so I put it on the boil with a lid on once I’ve prepared all the ingredients for the curry, which means it’s ready at the same time as the curry.
Another great thing about adding chickpeas and vegetables is that they make it very filling and you don’t need to use as much chicken, which makes it cheaper. Make sure you use a big pan, like a casserole dish, as it makes a big batch. It freezes well, or you can just keep any leftovers in the fridge to have another day – it tastes even better the second day.
- Serves: 4-6
- Preparation time: 10 mins
- Cooking time: 30 mins
- Difficulty: Easy
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tsp ginger, crushed, grated or finely chopped (see notes)
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped (see notes)
- 200g Tikka Masala curry paste
- 500g chicken breast, diced
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (optional)
- 3-4 cups of chopped vegetables, e.g. mushrooms, peppers, courgettes
- Chilli flakes (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Accompaniments (e.g. rice, yoghurt, papadums, mango chutney)
- Put brown rice on the boil if using (as per packet instructions).
- Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan (medium-to-high heat).
- Add the diced onion and fry until soft (about 3 mins).
- Add the ginger, garlic and curry paste. Stir, then cook for 2 mins.
- Add 50ml water, stir again, and cook until the water has evaporated (about 3 mins).
- Add the diced chicken and cook until sealed (stir a few times while cooking).
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stir.
- Fill up the empty tin a quarter full with water, pour into the pan and stir.
- Add the chickpeas, ground flaxseeds and vegetables to the pan and stir.
- Allow to simmer uncovered for 15 mins, stirring every 5 mins.
- If you want a thinner consistency, add some water to the pan during cooking.
- Check the chicken is cooked through, then add chilli flakes and salt to taste.
- Serve with accompaniments.
- If you don’t eat meat, you can just leave out the chicken and add more vegetables. Whole button mushrooms or big pieces of aubergine would make good replacements, and work well with the other ingredients.
- I’m a bit lazy when it comes to finely chopping/grating, so I buy these jars of ready-crushed ginger and keep them in the fridge to use whenever I need them.
- You can use as much garlic as you like. Garlic is a good cholesterol-lowering food, so I use 1 clove per person. You can’t really taste the garlic in the curry once it’s cooked, so I’d recommend using all 4 cloves. I use a garlic mincer, as I don’t really like the taste of the ready-minced garlic you can buy in jars.
- To increase the vegetable content even more, you can add a few handfuls of spinach leaves to the curry. Stir them into the curry about a minute before serving, and they will add a great contrast to the red tomatoes.
- Just before serving, I add a spoonful of fat-free yoghurt on top of the curry. It goes really well with the Tikka Masala, especially if it’s spicy. My husband has cream cheese with his curry instead of yoghurt (he doesn’t have high cholesterol). I also sprinkle some flaked almonds on top if I have any, which adds a bit of crunch.
For more cholesterol-friendly recipes and tips on how to reduce cholesterol naturally, click here.