An easy and low calorie vegetarian Chinese curry, just like my favourite Chinese chip shop makes! The perfect fakeaway.

Vegetarian Chinese curry in a wok with tofu and peas.

If you’re reading this, you either know exactly what I mean by ‘chip shop Chinese curry’, or if you’re not a fellow Brit, you may have no clue. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll understand what I’m talking about!

Portion of chip shop Chinese curry in a bowl with chips and rice.

What is a chip shop Chinese curry?

The UK is famed for its amazing chip shops, but we also have plenty of the lesser-known Chinese chippy – basically a place that sells both Chinese food and the usual chip shop fare.

Don’t ask me why – I imagine it just makes more economic sense for some Chinese take aways to make sure they sell chips too (it’s all we Brits need to convince us that somewhere’s worth visiting…). Whatever the reason, it’s led to some pretty awesome mash-ups – like this chip shop Chinese curry!

Portion of Chinese chip shop curry with tofu in a bowl, served with chips and rice.

Chip shop curry sauce

This kind of Chinese curry is generally made with the curry sauce that we Brits like to eat on our chips – it’s basically a thick sauce that’s simply flavoured with curry powder.

I’ve blogged my own chip shop curry sauce recipe before – it goes beautifully on thick, British-style chips. But it can also be used to make a proper curry, with plenty of vegetables and tofu.

Again, I imagine it’s mainly an economic decision for Chinese chippies to use this curry sauce to make an actual curry, rather than only using it for chips (if you’ve got it, you may as well use it, right?), but hey – it works for me. The end result is a rich and tasty curry with loads of veggies and a truly irresistible sauce.

Plus, it’s actually pretty healthy, with all those fresh veggies, and low calorie too!

Chinese chip shop curry in a wok with tofu and peas.

Is a chip shop Chinese curry actually Chinese?

In short – no.

Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure this kind of Chinese curry isn’t actually remotely Chinese – nor is it at all Indian.

As far as I know, it’s purely a British thing.

(and people think we Brits have terrible food…?!)

This Chinese curry may not be an authentic Chinese recipe by any means, and you won’t need tons of carefully blended spices to make it… but that’s part of its charm. It’s quick and easy to make, and will truly make you feel like you’ve made a trip to your favourite chip shop.

Tofu and stir fry veggies cooking in a wok.

Vegetable and tofu curry

Of course, no curry is complete without heaps of veggies, so that’s where this recipe begins, along with some crispy tofu.

I used a pack of mixed stir fry vegetables, but added a few extra veggies too – mushrooms, onion and peas.

I often take this approach with curries and stir fries – there are certain vegetables that I feel have to be included in a given dish, but using the bag of mixed veg as well helps to bulk things out, and gives you all those tasty extras like the beansprouts and bamboo pieces which would be expensive to buy individually.

Best of both worlds!

Tofu and stir fry veggies cooking in a wok with curry powder and flour.

Homemade curry sauce

Next, add a good spoonful of curry powder and some flour. This forms the basis of the curry sauce – you just need to add a bit of veggie stock to make it nice and saucy.

My homemade chip shop curry sauce is actually a bit more complicated than this – still pretty straightforward, but it does have a couple more ingredients. But since with this recipe, you’re already going to the effort of cooking the vegetables and tofu, I wanted the sauce itself to be really quick and easy.

And let’s be honest – we’re not going for haute cuisine here. Even with just a few ingredients, this chip shop Chinese curry is seriously tempting – the sauce is thick and bursting with flavour, and it goes beautifully with chips and rice.

Chinese chip shop curry cooking in a wok.

Chips and rice?!

Yep – in a proper Chinese chippy, you often get the choice to have your curry served with rice, chips, or a bit of both – the good old ‘half and half’.

Obviously this is the only sensible choice.

The rice soaks up the curry sauce, and really, what good is a curry without rice?

And the chips… well, you never need a reason to have chips with your meal.

Homemade Chinese chip shop curry in a wok with tofu.

How could I adapt this chip shop Chinese curry?

Feel free to use whatever vegetables you fancy in your curry.

For some reason, mushrooms, peas and onions seem vital in my head – they make it seem like a truly authentic chip shop Chinese curry. But maybe that’s just what my local Chinese chippy uses!

Really, you can use whatever vegetables you like – peppers, broccoli, mange tout, cauliflower, courgette… it’s a curry, it will work with anything.

You could also swap the tofu for a tin of chickpeas if you’re not a tofu fan.

Whatever you put in your chip shop Chinese curry, that thick, tasty curry sauce is truly irresistible!

Portion of Chinese chip shop curry in a bowl with chips and rice.

Easy chip shop Chinese curry

An easy and low calorie vegetarian Chinese curry, just like my favourite Chinese chip shop makes! The perfect fakeaway.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 200 g (~ 7 oz) firm tofu, drained
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 200 g (~ 2 cups) mixed stir fry vegetables
  • 80 g (~ 1/4 cup) frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 500 ml (~ 2 cups) vegetable stock
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro), to serve (optional)

Instructions

  • Cut the tofu into pieces, and press it for a few minutes inside a clean tea towel or between some kitchen paper.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok, and add the pieces of tofu. Cook over a medium-high heat for a few minutes each side, until nicely browned. Add all the vegetables (onion to peas), and cook for a further 5 minutes, until partially cooked. Add the garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Add the curry powder and flour, mix well to coat, and then add the vegetable stock. Allow to simmer gently until cooked to your liking – the sauce will thicken up as it simmers, so just leave it as long as you like (maybe another 5 minutes). Serve topped with some fresh coriander if desired.
Course: Main meals
Cuisine: Chinese, Indian
Keyword: chinese curry, chip shop curry, easy curry, tofu curry
Author: Becca Heyes
Nutrition Facts
Easy chip shop Chinese curry
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 228 Calories from Fat 109
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12.1g 19%
Saturated Fat 2.5g 13%
Sodium 532mg 22%
Potassium 202mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 19.9g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5.9g 24%
Sugars 4.6g
Protein 12.3g 25%
Calcium 13%
Iron 20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe.

Love healthy homemade versions of your favourite take aways? My veggie egg fu yung is another of my favourite Chinese dishes.