Monday, March 31, 2014
Lighter beef korma
I am a girl who likes to eat - not like Andrew Denton, just for fuel, but because I really, really enjoy it. I love trying new things, and discovering heretofore unknown delicacies. I used to be just a sweets kind of girl, but now I like my savoury dishes just as much.
When one loves their food, portion control and balancing fat/sugar/calories are important. It is something that I don't always do well. Fresh out of university, I share-flatted with a girl who made dinner every night because she got home much earlier than me. It was brilliant to come home and find dinner on the table. However, as we were both learning about cooking, the serving sizes were enormous, and gradually, my weight crept up. I became even plumper when I worked for a posh firm that entertained clients with three course lunches on a regular basis. I revelled in the new found delights of eating out at fancy restaurants (for free!), and eagerly always went for all three courses when they were offered. The real blow-out point for me came when I went on secondment to a large city interstate, and had a glorious time trying out all the new foods that were on offer in the much more multi-cultural environment. These factors, combined with my love for lollies and chocolates, resulted in my weight soaring to new heights. The great thing for me was, at that time, I didn't really care - I felt well and happy, and being a heavier girl did not bother me.
Cue unrelated lower back pain after wrenching my back, and my then GP said "it would help if you lost 20kg". I asked him how to do that, and his reply was that if he knew, he'd be a wealthy man. Thanks, what a helpful response! The possibility of easing my back pain meant that I was prepared to try anything, so my weight loss journey began. Weight Watchers only got me so far before I plateaued and never lost any more weight; I also hated the faux religious experience of the group sessions. After giving up on the weight loss project for a while, I went to see a dietitian, who helped me to lose that 20kg, and I kept it off for around 8 years. Then the weight crept on again - not to the levels that I had previously reached, but I was certainly heavier than was good for my health. This time, dietitians were not the answer - I saw two of them, and unfortunately, the "mindful eating" mantra doesn't really help me. So, my most recent weight loss was facilitated by a naturopath, who gave me some handy tips on what to eat to feel fuller and what kind of snacks to eat.
As you can see from my blog, I am not following the strict naturopath prescribed diet anymore, but I hope that by balancing this with that, I can keep the weight off.
This is a long-winded way to get to today's dish. I like a good curry, but unfortunately, many Indian restaurant curries are full of cream and oil and other things that are not very waistline-friendly. Like everything else, it is OK to splurge on them once in a while, but they are not suitable for eating every night. I recently acquired Make It Lighter by Angela Nilsen, which contains recipes for food favourites that are lower in fat/calories/sugar etc than the standard version. Angela's book features a recipe for Chicken Korma, so curry-loving me jumped at the chance to make it. However, I substituted the chicken for beef. Angela swaps cream for yoghurt and limits the oils in the cooking process, resulting in a dish that is lower in fat and calories than a traditional korma. Best of all, it is delish - rich and fragrant and satisfying. The only thing I'd do differently next time is not put the whole cardamom pods in, as I found it hard to find them to fish them out at the end, and there is nothing quite like biting down on a cardamom pod - blek!
The recipe has been published in The Washington Post, so if you would like to try this korma (whether with chicken or beef or whatever else you fancy!), you can find it online here.