How Many Syns In A Poppadom? & Some Other Indian Starters!

Updated on 
3 July, 2021

We All Love an Indian Meal, But How Many Syns for a Starter?

On average, in an Indian restaurant, you’re looking at approximately 4 syns per poppadom, 8.5 syns per onion bhaji, 3 syns per vegetable pakora, 2 syns per level tablespoon of mango chutney, and 6 syns per meat samosa.

How Many Syns for a Starter

These syn values will not be universal as different restaurants will use different ingredients, make things different sizes and cook things in slightly different ways, however it’s handy as a rough guide.

This is also obviously not an exhaustive list of Indian starters.

If you’re planning a trip to an Indian restaurant or you’re looking to get a cheeky takeaway, you’ll need to look more specifically at the individual things you’re ordering. It’s fairly easy to find syn values for different things online.

If the numbers above seem daunting, it could be worth looking at cooking your own Slimming World-friendly Indian food which we’ll briefly dip into a bit later.

For now, here are a few more syn values for popular Indian dishes!

Other Indian Dishes and Their Approximate Syn Values

Indian Dishes and Their Approximate Syn Values

When it comes to Indian food, there is a plethora of delicious options to choose from, spanning vegetable dishes, fish dishes, meat dishes, and tasty sides.

Regardless of the meal type you choose, if you’re following a Slimming World plan, you’ll need to keep your syn allowance in mind. Here are some more Indian dishes and their approximate syns:

  • Vegetable Biryani – average portion – 11.5 syns per 420g
  • Chicken Tikka Masala – average portion – 14.5 syns per 360g
  • Lamb Bhuna – average portion – 12 syns per 350g
  • Prawn Bhuna – average portion – 10 syns per 380g
  • Chicken Korma – average portion – 16.5 syns per 360g

And some more side dishes and dips:

  • Yoghurt dip/ raita – 1 syn per level tablespoon
  • Naan breads (garlic, plain) – 20 syns each
  • Pilau rice – 2.5 syns per 180g
  • Lime pickle – 1.5 syns per level tablespoon
  • Chicken pakora – 2 syns each

As with food from any kind of restaurant, portion size will play a big part in determining how many syns a dish or side is, so keep that in mind – the values above are approximate only.

Why Is Indian Food Relatively High-Syn?

Although it won’t be the case for all dishes, quite a lot of Indian cuisine is fairly high-syn. This makes sense when you think about how rich and decadent a lot of Indian dishes are.

This doesn’t mean they’re necessarily unhealthy dishes, rather that they contain ingredients that are creamy or otherwise high in calories.

Many curries will have creamy sauces or be cooked or fried using ghee (clarified butter) which will in turn, amp up the syn value.

Where meat dishes are concerned, any skin or fat that doesn’t get rendered in the cooking process will also be present in the finished product, adding to the calories and therefore, the syns of the meal.

Many Indian starters and sides such as an onion bhaji, samosa, or pakora will also be deep fried which obviously adds calories to a dish.

Another thing to consider is that majority of Indian main meals are eaten alongside other accompaniments such as rice, naan bread, chapatis, and other carb-centred foods. While these things aren’t bad for your in and of themselves, they do use up some additional syns.

Homemade Indian Fakeaway Recipes

Syn-Free Onion Bhaji

Syn-Free Onion Bhaji

If you just love an onion bhaji but can’t reconcile having to use 8.5 syns on just one, here’s an easy recipe to help you recreate the perfect side dish for your other favourite fakeaway dishes.

You’ll Need:

  • 500g onions, thinly sliced
  • 150g drained cooked chickpeas
  • 180g raw sweet potato, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Chilli flakes to taste (optional)
  • Chopped fresh coriander (optional)
  • Cooking oil spray

Fry the onions using spray oil on quite a low heat until caramelised and soft, seasoning to taste and stirring regularly to prevent burning. Add your spices and stir to combine before frying for a further few minutes.

Set your onions aside to cool. Place your chickpeas in a food processor with the egg and blend until you get a smooth paste.

Add your onions, grated sweet potato, and coriander and chilli flakes (if using) to this paste mixture and combine well. Form the mixture into evenly sized balls, place them on a baking sheet, and spray lightly with cooking oil spray before placing in an oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and serve with your choice of dips and chutneys. These bhajis are amazing served fresh out the oven but also delicious out the fridge the next day!

Light Chicken Korma

Light Chicken Korma

For an authentic tasting dish with fresh and flavourful ingredients that won’t work against your weight loss journey, try this low-syn chicken korma recipe. At only 3 syns per serving, you can leave guilt at the door with this one!

You’ll Need:

  • 800 chicken breasts with skin and visible fat removed, cut into chunks
  • 2 onions
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp fresh, crushed ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder (heat of your choosing)
  • ¼ cup tomato passata
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup fat-free plain yoghurt
  • ½ tsp coconut extract
  • 30g creamed coconut
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Chopped coriander (optional)

Prepare a pan on medium heat with oil spray before adding your shopped onion, garlic, and ginger and frying until fragrant and caramelised. Stir in the spices for a few minutes and then add the passata, bringing the pan to the boil.

Simmer for approximately 10 minutes and then pour into a blender and blend until smooth. Add your chicken breasts to the pan and fry until golden on all sides before adding in the sauce from the blender.

Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce until cooked through completely. Add in the creamed coconut, coconut extract, and yoghurt as well as some cornstarch flurry to thicken the sauce.

Stir until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency and is smooth and creamy. Season to taste and add some chopped coriander if using. Serve with rice or naan, and other sides.

To Eat In Or Out?

Whatever you decide, it’s important not to see your healthy eating plan as a limiting factor when it comes to what you can and cannot enjoy.

Eating out at a restaurant once in a while is not going to make you pack on the pounds again, just as cooking up your own Indian food won’t guarantee you the same authenticity. At the end of the day, it’s about balance.

It’s fine to treat yourself every now and then, and it’s also good to learn new recipes and train yourself to make healthier choices.

Jennifer is a certified nutritionist and weight loss coach with a Master's in Nutrition from Cambridge. With over 10 years experience, she shares healthy recipes and science-backed slimming tips on SheCooksSheEats to help people reach their wellness goals. Jennifer stays up-to-date by regularly attending conferences and continuing her nutrition education. She aims to provide research-backed advice to inspire balanced, happy living.
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