Enjoy low-calorie versions of your favourite fast foods created by the Hairy Bikers for a new book

24 mins read



We’ve kept these nice and simple and made the little morsels of fish superflavoursome so you don’t need all the usual calorific taco extras. Zesty and tasty – a real treat.

Serves 4

  • 1tsp ground cumin 
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon 
  • ½tsp ground allspice 
  • ¼-½tsp chilli powder (chipotle is good) 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) firm, white fish fillet, cut into 2-3cm chunks 

For the salsa

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime 
  • ½tsp salt 
  • ½ a red onion, finely diced 
  • 4 tomatoes, finely diced 
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, finely diced 
  • 2tbsp finely chopped coriander stems and leaves

To serve

  • 8 corn tortillas 
  • Coriander sprigs 
  • Pickled jalapeños (optional)

Si & Dave’s tip 

If you’re not watching your waistline, feel free to add any extra bits and bobs like cheese and soured cream. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/ gas 6. Line a baking tray with parchment. To make the salsa, put the lime zest and juice in a bowl with the salt. 

Add the red onion and leave it to marinate for about half an hour – this will help soften the flavour and intensify the colour. Add the remaining ingredients, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed, then leave to stand at room temperature. 

For the fish, mix all the spices together with plenty of salt and pepper. Toss the fish in the spices, then arrange the pieces on the baking tray, spacing them out well. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove. 

Heat the corn tortillas and serve the fish with the tortillas, salsa and some pickled jalapeños, if using, for an extra kick. 

  • Info per serving: calories 363, protein 28g, carbs 49g, sugar 6g, fat 5g, saturated fat 1g, fibre 3g, salt 1.6g

Matthew Juke’s wine pairing: Stunning with salsa

2021 Caparelli, Pinot Grigio delle Venezie Italy (£4.50, Tesco) 

It is very rare to find a decent sub-fiver wine these days, but this pinot grigio, with only 12% alcohol on board, is keen enough to joust with the lime and chilli salsa in these tasty tacos. 


Actually, as you will see, this chicken isn’t fried but baked, which means it is way lower in calories and fat but still so good. Chicken drumsticks are cheap and tasty, so are ideal for this recipe, and as they take a while to cook, the crumb coating browns and crisps up nicely. 

Serves 4

  • 1tsp garlic powder 
  • 1tsp onion powder 
  • 1tsp dried thyme 
  • 1tsp ground black pepper 
  • ½tsp salt 
  • 200ml (7fl oz) buttermilk 
  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 8 chicken drumsticks, skinned 
  • 75g (2¾oz) breadcrumbs 
  • ½tsp sweet smoked paprika 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 
  • 1tbsp olive oil

First, you need to marinate the chicken. Put the garlic and onion powders, thyme and black pepper in a large bowl with the salt, buttermilk and Worcestershire sauce. 

Si & Dave’s tip 

You could also use thighs or breasts. These are great with salad or you can pop them in a lunch box to take to work. 

Mix thoroughly. Make deep slashes in the drumsticks – 3 or 4 in each one – and add them to the buttermilk mixture. 

Use your hands to massage the buttermilk marinade into the drumsticks so they are well coated, then cover the bowl and put it in the fridge. Leave the chicken to marinate for at least an hour or overnight. 

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 and line a baking tray with parchment. Mix the breadcrumbs with the paprika and season with salt and pepper. 

Dip each drumstick in the breadcrumbs and arrange them on the baking tray. Mix the oil with a tablespoon of water and brush this mixture over the drumsticks. 

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, turning once or twice during the cooking time. 

  • Info per serving (2 drumsticks): calories 225, protein 25g, carbs 17g, sugar 4g, fat 6g, saturated fat 1g, fibre 0g, salt 0.6g

Matthew Juke’s wine pairing: First choice for chicken

2021 La Gioiosa Prosecco Rosé Millesimato Veneto, Italy (£10-£13, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Majestic, Ocado, amazon.co.uk) 

Southern fried chicken, with its saltiness and crunch, goes hand in hand with soothing whites and rosés, and this pinot noir-based stunner weighs in at a delicate 11% alcohol. It’s juicy and strawberry themed with a silky texture and bright finish.


Chicken is lower in calories than lamb and makes an easy and delicious spinach curry.

Serves  4

  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 
  • 15g (½oz) root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 1tsp coconut oil, ghee or vegetable oil 
  • 1tsp mustard seeds 
  • 1tsp cumin seeds 
  • 1tbsp curry powder
  • 1tbsp tomato purée 
  • 4 skinless chicken thigh fillets, diced 
  • 200ml (7fl oz) chicken stock or water 
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted 
  • A small bunch of coriander, finely chopped 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 
  • 100g (3½oz) plain yoghurt 
  • Juice of ½ a lemon 

Put the onion, garlic and ginger into a food processor and whizz to form a purée. Heat the oil in a large pan or a flameproof casserole dish. 

Si & Dave’s tip 

Spinach is rich in iron but we need vitamin C to help us absorb it – so a touch of fresh lemon juice here does the trick. 

Add the mustard and cumin seeds, then fry them until they pop. Stir in the curry powder for a minute, then add the onion, garlic and ginger purée and continue to fry for a few minutes until the mixture is very aromatic and reduced. 

Stir in the tomato purée and continue to cook, stirring constantly until everything is well combined and the tomato purée has lost its raw edge. Add the diced chicken and stir until it’s all well coated in the purée. 

Pour in the stock or water and stir to make sure the base of the pan is thoroughly deglazed, then stir in the spinach and most of the coriander. Season with salt and pepper. 

Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked through and tender, and the sauce has reduced a little. 

Stir in the yoghurt and leave to simmer for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let the mixture boil. Add the lemon juice before serving and garnish with the reserved chopped coriander.

  • Info per serving: calories 200, protein 24g, carbs 9g, sugar 7g, fat 6g, saturated fat 2g, fibre 6g, salt 0.8g 

Matthew Juke’s wine pairing: sensational with spice

2021 M&S Classics No.7 Vinho Verde Portugal (£7, Marks & Spencer) 

Vinho verde is one of the lowest-alcohol styles of white wine, and this 10% alcohol version from M&S is a beauty. With crisp acidity and a thrillingly refreshing green apple theme, it slices through the spiciness of the curry with ease.


Here’s a recipe inspired by our days filming down on the Mississippi Delta. The best way to get the tasty coating on these veggie kebabs is to get your hands in there and get messy – much more effective than brushing. 

Serves 4 

  • 16 okra, trimmed 
  • 16 closed-cup mushrooms 
  • 1 corn on the cob, cut into 8 pieces 
  • 1 red pepper, cut into chunks 
  • 1 green pepper, cut into chunks 
  • 4 spring onions, cut into 3cm rounds

For the seasoning 

  • ½tsp garlic powder 
  • ½tsp onion powder
  • ½tsp dried thyme 
  • ½tsp cumin 
  • ½tsp sweet smoked paprika 
  • A dash of Tabasco or similar hot sauce 
  • 1tbsp olive oil 
  • A squeeze of lemon juice 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 

To serve  

  • Lemon wedges 
  • Hot sauce 

Buttermilk dressing (optional) 

  • 150ml (5fl oz) buttermilk 
  • 75g (2¾oz) crème fraîche 
  • 2tsp cider vinegar 
  • ½tsp garlic powder 
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A few basil leaves, finely chopped 
  • A few chives, finely chopped 

Si & Dave’s tip 

If you don’t want to use our delicious buttermilk dressing you can serve these kebabs with hot sauce and lemon juice. 

Preheat a grill to its highest setting or prepare a barbecue. You will need 8 skewers and if using bamboo skewers, soak them in warm water for half an hour first so they don’t burn. 

Mix all the ingredients for the seasoning together in a large bowl with some salt and pepper and 1tbsp water. Add all the vegetables and mix with your hands until they are very well coated in the seasoning. 

Thread the vegetables on to the skewers, making sure that each one has at least 2 pieces of okra, 2 mushrooms and a piece of corn on it. Arrange the skewers on a rack for the grill or on your barbecue. 

Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until the vegetables are slightly charred and softened. 

To make the buttermilk dressing, if using, mix all the ingredients together and season with some salt and pepper. Serve with the kebabs. 

  • Info per serving without dressing/with dressing: calories 84/170, protein 3/5g, carbs 6.5/9g, sugar 5/7g, fat 4/7g, saturated fat 0.5/6g, fibre 5/5g, salt trace/trace

Matthew Juke’s wine pairing: fab with kebabs 

2021 Sharpham, Estate Selection, Sandridge Barton Devon, England (£17.20, sandridgebarton.com) 

This is the first write-up in the UK for this brand new wine, made with the madeleine angevine grape. At only 11.5% alcohol it showcases the variety’s floral, tropical perfume and dramatic, cleansing acidity on the finish. This terrific balance is crucial with the spring onions and peppers in these delicious kebabs.


We reckon the best bit about a baguette is the crust – and of course, the doughy inside is where the calories are. So, the answer is to remove the soft inside and then you have a lovely crunchy sandwich to fill with this tasty kimchi omelette or whatever else you choose. Magic, eh?

Serves 2 

  • 50g (1¾oz) cabbage (white or green pointed), very finely shredded 
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated or cut into matchsticks 
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped 
  • 3tbsp kimchi, drained and finely chopped 
  • 4 eggs 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 
  • 2tsp butter 
  • 25g (1oz) Cheddar, grated 

To serve

  • 2 x 15cm lengths of baguette (or similar) 
  • A few drops of sesame oil 
  • A few slices of cucumber 
  • A few coriander sprigs 
  • Chilli sauce, chilli jam or ketchup

Si & Dave’s tip 

A Korean staple, kimchi, or fermented vegetables, is really good for your gut. You can buy it in supermarkets. 

First prepare the pieces of baguette. Split them in half lengthways and remove most of the soft bread inside. You can dry this out and use it for breadcrumbs – no need for any waste. 

Divide the cabbage, carrot, spring onion and kimchi between 2 bowls. Beat 2 of the eggs and add to one of the bowls, then beat the remaining eggs and add to the other bowl. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. 

Heat 1tsp of the butter in an omelette pan. When it has melted, add the contents of one of the bowls, swirling the mixture around to coat the base of the pan, then leave to cook until the underside is browned. 

Carefully flip over to cook the other side. Sprinkle over half the cheese, so it starts to melt on the top side. 

Now fold the omelette over, so the cheese is in the centre. Repeat the process with the second batch of ingredients. 

Pile the omelettes into the baguettes and dress with a few drops of sesame oil, the cucumber and coriander, followed by the chilli condiment or ketchup of your choice.

  • Info per serving: calories 480, protein 25g, carbs 60g, sugar 8g, fat 14g, saturated fat 3.5g, fibre 6.5g, salt 1.6g 

Matthew Juke’s wine pairing: Cracking with kimchi

2021 Ramón Bilbao, Rosado Rioja, Spain (£8, Tesco) 

Many rosés approach – and some even exceed – the 14% alcohol mark, but at just 12.5% alcohol this raspberrykissed Rioja is super-refreshing, and ideal with the kimchi dish and its fermented tanginess.


We like to have something a bit naughty now and then, and a good chip shop curry sauce brings back happy memories of many a feast.

Serves 4 

For the meatballs

  • 400g (14oz) lean minced beef 
  • 1 small onion, grated 
  • 1 medium carrot, grated 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 2tbsp finely chopped coriander stems 
  • 1tsp curry powder 
  • 25g (1oz) breadcrumbs 
  • 25g (1oz) thick yoghurt or kefir 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 
  • Chopped coriander leaves, to garnish 

For the sauce

  • 1tsp coconut oil 
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced 
  • 1 carrot, finely sliced 
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced 
  • 15g (½oz) root ginger, finely chopped 
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped 
  • 25g (1oz) raisins 
  • 2tbsp mild curry powder 
  • ½-1tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1tbsp tomato purée 
  • 500ml (18fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock 
  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • A squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 and line a baking tray with parchment. Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl with plenty of seasoning and mix. 

Divide the mixture into 20 balls, then place them on the tray and bake for 15 minutes. 

Si & Dave’s tip 

Serve the meatballs in the sauce as suggested or keep them separate and serve the sauce in bowls for dipping.

To make the sauce, melt the coconut oil in a pan, then add the onions and carrot. Add a splash of water, stir to coat, then cover and leave to cook over a medium-high heat. 

Cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown. 

Turn up the heat and add the garlic, ginger, apple and raisins. Stir for a couple of minutes, then add the curry powder, cayenne (to taste) and tomato purée. 

Stir so a paste forms around the veg and fruit, then pour in the stock. Stir to deglaze the base of the pan, then add the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, and season. 

Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Blitz in a blender or food processor until smooth. 

Taste and add a squeeze of lemon and more cayenne, if necessary. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for a few minutes, then garnish with coriander and serve.

  • Info per serving: calories 361, protein 29g, carbs 28g, sugar 19g, fat 13g, saturated fat 5g, fibre 8g, salt 0.7g 

Matthew Juke’s wine pairing: Magic with meatballs

2020 BeaujolaisVillages, Réserve de Pizay France (£8, selected Co-op stores)

Beaujolais is the most delicious style of ‘light’ red, and with only 13% alcohol and lovely berry notes, this one is a great match for the Meatballs.


Oily fish like salmon is good for us and these burgers make a delicious and filling meal.

Serves 4

  • 400g (14oz) salmon fillet 
  • 180g (6oz) raw peeled prawns 
  • 3 spring onions, chopped 
  • 2tsp sushi ginger (from larger supermarkets), very finely chopped 
  • 1tbsp tamari or soy sauce 
  • 1tsp sesame seeds (preferably black) 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 
  • 1tsp sesame oil 

For the pickled cucumber 

  • 1 large cucumber 
  • 1tsp salt 
  • 1tsp sugar 
  • 1tbsp Japanese rice vinegar 
  • 1tsp wasabi paste 

To serve

  • 4 burger buns or 4 large lettuce leaves (see tip below right) 
  • Watercress sprigs

First, prepare the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthways and remove the seeds with a spoon – no need to peel. 

Using a vegetable peeler, slice the cucumber into ribbons. Put the ribbons in a colander and sprinkle with the salt, then place over a bowl and leave for half an hour. 

Si & Dave’s tip 

If you’re watching the calories, you can avoid the buns. Just sit the burgers on fresh lettuce leaves – delicious! 

The cucumber will give out plenty of liquid, which will drain into the bowl. 

Squeeze the cucumber gently, then transfer to a tea towel or kitchen paper to blot off excess liquid. Whisk the sugar, vinegar and wasabi paste in a bowl and add the cucumber. 

Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add a little salt if needed. 

Now make the burgers. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Put two-thirds of the salmon and peeled prawns in a food processor, then blitz for a few seconds until puréed. 

Finely chop the remaining salmon and prawns – this will give the burger some texture. Transfer both the puréed and the chopped salmon and prawns to a bowl and add the spring onions, sushi ginger, tamari or soy sauce and the sesame seeds. 

Mix well and season with a little salt and pepper. Shape into 4 burgers. 

Place the burgers on a baking tray. Mix the sesame oil with 2tsp water and brush the burgers. 

Bake for 15 minutes. Lightly toast the burger buns, if using, and serve the burgers with the cucumber and a few sprigs of watercress.

  • Info per serving without bun/with bun: calories 295/460, protein 30/35g, carbs 4/32g, sugar 3.5/4.5g, fat 17.5/20.5g, saturated fat 3/4g, fibre 1.5/2.5g, salt 0.95/1.9g

Matthew Juke’s wine pairing: Perfect with prawns 

2021 Tesco Finest Gavi Piemonte, Italy (£9, Tesco) 

The new vintage of this Gavi is the finest budget version of this classic Italian white wine style that I’ve tasted so far this year. With a pin-sharp 12.5% alcohol, it’s a pithy, taut white, and the perfect counterpoint to the indulgent Prawn And Salmon Burgers recipe. 



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