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Britain finds curry fattening

business Updated: Jun 30, 2008 02:45 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The latest finding that an Indian takeaway comprising chicken tikka masala, pilau rice and one plain naan contains 1338 calories to burn which a person needs to cycle for over five hours may well scare away many aficionados of Indian cuisine in Britain.

This in turn will have a direct impact on the 9000 curry houses in the country, already feeling the pinch of the rising price of rice and the general credit crunch.

Weight for weight, naan contained even more calories than the curry swimming in oil. There were 290 calories in a 100g naan compared with 685g in 350g of chicken tikka masala curry.

Chicken tikka masala curry, popularly called CTM here and regarded as a national dish, is the mainstay of the sales in the Indian restaurants — 23 million portions a year are sold.

A more serious accusation was levelled, some time ago, at chicken tikka masala: in the depths of its pink-red sauce, it may be harbouring dangerous levels of chemicals that cause hyperactivity, asthma, and even cancer. Trading standards officers in Surrey found that more than half of the Indian restaurants it examined were using illegal and potentially dangerous levels of food dye to give the dish its distinctive colour.

Their findings prompted a nationwide alert to ensure Indian restaurants everywhere adhere to legal limits on such additives.

Package Indian food makers claim the findings were not exactly correct because only curry house which prepare cheap versions of the dish add dye.

“We know that Indian curries are a bit rich but we remove fat before cooking. Oil used has almost no fat,” said Sir GEK Noon, of Noon Products.

“Because of turmeric and other spices, which are used in preparing meals, Indians do not get bowel cancer which affects thousands here,” said Anshuman Saksena, general manager of the popular Sitaraay, Chor Bizarre and Tmarai.