Light on calories, heavy on flavor

Jill Wendholt Silva
The Kansas City Star

Indian curries made with ghee (clarified butter), coconut milk or cream are seductively rich and undeniably delicious — but they’re often high in saturated fat, calories and sodium.

The American Heart Association advises to choose curries with a vegetable or dal (a pulse of dried lentils, peas and beans) base instead. The health organization also advises choosing chicken or seafood over beef or lamb.

The Kansas City Star’s Indian-Inspired Slow Cooker Chicken uses reduced-sodium broth and no-salt-added tomatoes with fat-free or light sour cream for a touch of richness.

Curry might rhyme with “hurry,” but curries actually lend themselves to preparation in the slow cooker.

Spices are critical to this dish. It’s important to use the freshest available. Curry is a complex mixture of herbs and spices, most often including coriander, cumin and turmeric, as well as fresh or dried chiles. If you shy away from curry because of its implied heat level, rest assured this one is flavorful but mild.

Basmati rice would be typical with this style of entree, but whole-grain brown rice adds more fiber.

Indian-inspired Slow Cooker Chicken

Makes: 6 servings

Nonstick cooking spray

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 teaspoon dry minced garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs

1 cup fat-free or light sour cream

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

11/2 cups cooked basmati or brown rice

Spray the interior of a 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

Place onion, garlic, brown sugar, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, diced tomatoes and chicken broth in the crock. Stir to combine well. Submerge chicken pieces into sauce until covered. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees.

Stir in sour cream until blended and heat for about 10 minutes to heat through. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over cooked rice.

Per serving (based on boneless breasts, fat-free sour cream, basmati rice): 250 calories (9 percent from fat), 3 g total fat (1 g saturated), 70 mg cholesterol, 25 g carbohydrates, 33 g protein, 307 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss.