Desi Recipes which are 500 Calories or Less

If you want to enjoy flavourful meals while also eating healthy, this is possible with these delicious Desi recipes which are 500 calories or less.

Desi Recipes which are 500 Calories or Less f

This dish promises maximum flavour and will not increase your waistline.

Healthy eating is all the rage today, with many people adjusting their diets to benefit their lifestyle. The main reason is to lose weight.

Indian cuisine is widely known as one of the tastiest foods but is also one of the highest in calories.

These dishes usually use large amounts of oil or fat. Calories especially increase when ghee or butter is used.

While many of your favourite dishes are high in calories, it is possible to enjoy the same food but with fewer calories.

Not only is good for cholesterol, but it is also full of fragrant, antioxidant herbs and spices.

It is a great way to keep one eye on health and the other in delightful flavours.

You do not need to get rid of your curry habit. The same textures and delicious flavours can be achieved by following these simple recipes that are 500 calories or less per serving of 400g.

Jeera Aloo

Desi Recipes which are 500 Calories or Less - Jeera Aloo

Calories: 159

Jeera Aloo is a really delicious way to spice up a potato dish. Soft potatoes combined with a multitude of flavours makes for an enjoyable meal.

This recipe is filled with earthy flavours of cumin and a hint of tanginess from the lemon juice (You can substitute the lemon juice for mango powder).

It is a really homely dish, but with bags of flavour and with less than 160 calories, what’s not to love about it.


  • 4 Potatoes, boiled and diced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3cm ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 Green chillies, slit lengthways
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • A small handful of coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Dry roast the coriander seeds and half of the cumin seeds until fragrant. Remove from the heat and cool before crushing into a powder.
  2. Heat oil and add the remaining cumin seeds. Fry until sizzling and fragrant.
  3. Stir in green chillies and ginger. Sauté for a few seconds, reduce the heat and add the coriander-cumin powder, turmeric, chilli powder and salt.
  4. Add the potatoes and mix well so that it is coated properly in the spices.
  5. Add the lemon juice and stir.
  6. Cook on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the potatoes from turning into a mash.
  7. Garnish with coriander and serve with paratha or roti.

This recipe was adapted from Hari Ghotra.

Chicken Jalfrezi

Desi Recipes which are 500 Calories or Less - jalfrezi

Calories – 302

This Bengali origin dish is one of the most popular curries due to the amount of flavour coming from each element.

The slight acidity from the tomatoes and the hint of sweetness from the pepper offset the intense spices of the jalfrezi.

Usually, a curry is high in calories as they are ladened in a rich sauce, but this jalfrezi has a less prominent gravy, making it less fattening than other curries.

Trying this dish will promise maximum flavour and will not increase your waistline.


  • 3 Chicken breast, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ Large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Red pepper, chopped
  • 2 Red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 Yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • A handful of coriander leaves, chopped

For the Sauce

  • ½ Large onion, chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 400g can plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 300ml water


  1. Coat the chicken in cumin, coriander and turmeric. Leave to marinate in the fridge.
  2. To make the sauce, heat oil in a pan.
  3. Add onion, garlic and green chilli to the pan and fry for five minutes until browned.
  4. Add water to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Blend the tomatoes until it has a smooth consistency.
  6. In another pan, add oil and add coriander, cumin and turmeric. Fry for one minute.
  7. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Blend the onion mixture and add to the tomato sauce. Season generously and simmer for 20 minutes.
  9. In a pan, add oil and fry the chicken, stirring continuously.
  10. Reduce the heat and add the sliced onion, peppers and red chillies. Stir until the onions and pepper soften.
  11. Add the sauce to the chicken and simmer for 20 minutes. Add a little water if it becomes too thick.
  12. Sprinkle with garam masala and coriander leaves.
  13. Serve with rice or naan.

This recipe was inspired by BBC Good Food.

Chicken Korma

Desi Recipes which are 500 Calories or Less - korma

Calories: 387

Typically, chicken korma is high in calories as it is ladened with cream and sugar.

However, this healthier alternative will stop you worrying about eating fattening foods.

This version is flavoured with mild spices and contains almonds as a source of protein.

The typical coconut milk is replaced with yoghurt to keep the calories low but will still ensure a creamy texture for you to enjoy.


  • 4 Chicken breast, diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 2cm ginger, chopped
  • 6 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground coconut
  • 3 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted (optional)
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1cm cinnamon stick
  • ½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala


  1. Put garlic, ginger, ground almonds and six tablespoons of water into a blender and blend to a smooth paste.
  2. Add oil in a pan and when very hot, add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon stick. Stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Stir in the onion and cook until browned.
  4. Reduce the heat and add the spice paste, along with the cumin, coriander and red chilli powder. Stir for three minutes, then add the purée and stir for one minute.
  5. Add the chicken, salt, yoghurt, garam masala, ground coconut and 150ml water.
  6. Bring to a simmer then cover the pan. Turn the heat to low and gently simmer for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Remove the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.
  8. Garnish with flaked almonds if desired and serve on a bed of basmati rice or with naan.

This recipe was adapted from Madhur Jaffrey.

Saag Paneer

Desi Recipes which are 500 Calories or Less - paneer

Calories: 396

Paneer dishes are usually high in calories due to the high fat content in the cheese and rich sauce, but saag paneer mixes green leafy vegetables for a healthier alternative.

A North Indian dish with plenty of flavours, saag paneer is a well-loved meal. It is rich in calcium and highly nutritious thanks to the spinach.

It is a mix of delicious flavours such as mild paneer and intense chilli which is why it is loved by Desi people.

The soft texture and mellow flavour make it a perfect vegetarian option to have on any day of the week.


  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 450g paneer, cubed
  • 500g fresh spinach
  • 1 Large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 2cm piece ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Green chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ Lemon juiced to serve (optional)


  1. Melt the ghee, whisk in the turmeric and chilli powder.
  2. Toss the paneer in the mixture to coat then set aside.
  3. Wash spinach and leave to drain completely. Squeeze out excess water then chop.
  4. Fry the paneer in a large pan for eight minutes, flipping so that they become golden all over.
  5. Meanwhile blitz the onion with garlic, ginger and green chilli.
  6. Once the paneer is cooked, set aside on a plate.
  7. Tip the onion mix into the pan and reduce the heat. Fry for 10 minutes or until the mix browns, add a little water if begins to go dry.
  8. Add the garam masala and cook for a further two minutes.
  9. Add the spinach and cook for three minutes, pouring 100ml water.
  10. Slowly add the paneer to heat through.
  11. Squeeze lemon juice over paneer to serve.

This recipe was inspired by BBC Good Food.

Red Lentil Dal

Desi Recipes which are 500 Calories or Less - Red Lentils


Calories: 253

Red lentil dal is one of India’s staple dishes and each region has their own take on the classic.

This vegetarian dish is one of the best meals for those watching their calorie intake.

It also forms a huge part of many Desi diets because it is cheap and has huge nutritional value.

The dish is cooked with whole cumin seeds in a tomato based masala, finished with crispy onions and fresh sprigs of coriander.


  • 200g red lentils
  • 600ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Small onion, chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 Tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves
  • A handful of coriander, roughly chopped


  1. Add the lentils to a pot with salt and water. Bring to the boil.
  2. Remove the froth, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes. Once soft, remove from the heat.
  3. In a pan, heat oil and add the bay leaf and cumin seeds.
  4. Once sizzling, add the onion. Fry until lightly browned.
  5. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, fenugreek and chilli powder.
  6. Gently cook for 10 minutes until it becomes a paste.
  7. Add some of the lentils to the pan and stir, the empty the contents into the lentil pot and stir.
  8. The consistency should be quite thick, but if too thick, add a splash of water.
  9. Season and stir in the garam masala. Garnish with coriander and serve.

Although Indian cuisine tends to be full of calories, these recipes prove that it is not always the case.

So, this will provide guidance for those who want to enjoy Desi food and watch their calorie count.

Lead Editor Dhiren is our news and content editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

Images courtesy of BBC, Pinterest, The Wanderlust Kitchen and BBC Good Food

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