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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy’

Everyone loves pad thai.  Even the pickiest of eaters, who won’t dare anything more exotic than sweet and sour chicken (I know Chinese versus Thai, I’m making a point here), love pad thai.  Unfortunately like most Asian foods, no store bought mix, frozen entree, or other concoction measures up to the real deal.  This is due to the unique nature of the “sauce” that makes pad thai what it is.  This characteristic pad thai sauce is really not a sauce at all, but very heavily seasoned scrambled eggs that you fold the other ingredients into before they solidify, leaving the dish impossible to be made well, if not made fresh. This recipe is one of my girlfriend’s absolute favorites, and I decided to make it last night in celebration of me finding some work! As I have been trying to be healthy lately (and doing well I might add!  Eight lbs down, and the last five posts have all been “healthy”) I thought I would run the numbers on this recipe.  The final results, assuming the recipe makes four servings, come out to almost exactly 500 calories per serving (though we dare you to only eat one serving!) So, with no further blabber, here is the recipe:

My mise for the meal (essential for this dish)

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai

3 tbs peanut oil

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tbs white sugar

2 tbs soy sauce

1/2 tbs oyster sauce

1/2 tbs golden mountain seasoning sauce (Tuong Gai Vi, if you have been trying to make Thai food, and it doesn’t taste right, this is what you are missing.

1 1/2 tbs Ketchup (yes thats right, tomato ketchup, like Heinz, I promise)

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 lb raw shrimp (whatever size is cheapest that day works)

1 1/2 c. cooked chicken breast meat, chopped to bite size pieces

1/2 lb dry rice vermicelli

1 c. bean sprouts (I forgot these at the grocery store, so they aren’t in the pictures)

3 tbs dry, unsalted, roasted peanuts, crushed a little (I throw em in a plastic baggy and beat them with either my meat pounder or a rolling pin a couple of times so they are busted up but not ground

1 tsp red chili flakes

2 green onions sliced thinly

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

First I would like to say that due to the extremely fast cooking time of this recipe, it is essential that you make a mise, as has been discussed in previous posts.  If you do not do this, your dish will not come out.

So in the interest of preparing this dish, you must first cook your vermicelli.  Follow the directions on the packaging for the cooking time, and once the noodles are cooked completely strain and thoroughly rinse the noodles in ice cold water, while pulling and separating the noodles with you hands.  Vermicelli is notoriously bad at sticking to itself, and thoroughly rinsing the noodles while working them will prevent this.  After the noodles are ice cold, and strained, pour a tablespoon of oil on them and toss to coat, again to prevent sticking.  Cover the noodles with a sheet of plastic wrap until you are ready to use them.

Next, defrost the shrimp in cold water and peel them completely, including the tails. Next you are going to precook the shrimp, and I have a trick for this that will keep the shrimp from being overcooked (as they will be cooked again gently while assembling the dish, and no one likes tough overcooked shrimp).  To perfectly cook shrimp that will later be cooked again in stir-frys, pasta sauces, etc. bring a medium pot of water to a boil for 1/2 lb cold uncooked shrimp.  Dump the shrimp into the water and stir gently from time to time to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot, the instant the pot returns to a boil the shrimp are ready to be removed.  At this point they will still look slightly undercooked, and thats ok, thats what we want, so they can finish later, but not end up overcooked. If the shrimp are 40 count or larger, cut them into bite sized pieces and set aside for later.

Finally, combine the sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, golden mountain seasoning and ketchup in a ramekin or bowl and set aside.  Now if you have cut everything else up, and measured all your ingredients you are ready to cook!

Pad thai in serving dish, garnished and ready to be dished out

Most recipes for Asian dishes are very unhealthy because they call for ungodly amounts of oil.  I have found that this is completely unnecessary, and have learned a trick that keeps food from sticking to the wok without all the oil.  The trick is that if at any point your food starts sticking to the wok, pour in a scant 1-2 tbs of very cold water and toss your ingredients.  If you have a well seasoned wok, this will unstick your food without altering the taste of the dish.  Be sure you only use small amounts of water at a time or it wont vaporize on hitting the wok, and will water down your dish.

For the Actual Dish:

(This cooking time is extremely short, like 5 minutes, and thus no pictures of the process were taken)

Heat a wok over very high heat, and add oil.  Once the oil “dances” add in the garlic and cook quickly, stirring constantly until it is just starting to take on a little color (just a little, no one likes burnt garlic).  Now add in the chicken and shrimp and cook, tossing constantly, to heat through.  Add in the sauce, mix with meats and garlic then add in the two beaten eggs.  Stir quickly to combine the eggs and sauce and let sit for about 2 minutes, until the eggs just start to set.  At this point add in the vermicelli and toss to coat in the egg-sauce mixture.  Add in all but a pinch or two of bean sprouts and cook, tossing constantly until bean sprouts are starting to limp, and the noodles are heated through.  Turn out the pad thai to a serving dish and garnish in this order: peanuts, red pepper flakes, reserved bean sprouts, green onions, and cilantro.  Thats all there is to it, you are now ready to eat!

Healthy Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai, ready for scarfage!

And as always, Enjoy!

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Who doesn’t like great Indian food!? Unfortunately, depending on where you live it can be hard to find good Indian food. Even if you can, it can be difficult to find it for a good price. So, if you are like me, you run to the internet to scour the world wide web for authentic Indian recipes. Unfortunately, I have found that of all the cuisines I have ever tried to research online, this one is by far the trickiest to successfully track down.

Nonetheless, after a number of trials, and a few failed attempts, I have refined an excellent chicken tikka masala recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any pictures until I was finished, but it was so good, I had to post. One last thing to mention before I get to the recipe, this version of tikka masala is actually quite healthy. This recipe makes six servings, with each coming in at 550 calories when served over 3/4 cup basmati rice.

On a related note, you will notice some fantastic looking naan in the pictures (an essential if you are going to eat Indian food). I know from my own trials (probably 5 different attempted recipes) and discussions with my friends, that a good naan recipe is next to impossible to track down. So, here is the link to the naan recipe I found and used the other day. Shout out to Manjula Jain for posting this fantastic recipe!

So with no further adieu here is the recipe:

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala

For the chicken:

1 lb chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut to a 1″ cube

2 c. Chobani plain non-fat yogurt, in 1 c. portions

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger root, minced

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tbs garam masala

For the tomato base

1 28oz can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Check the link above for the recipe

The Best Homemade Naan Ever! Check the link above for the recipe

1 tbs ginger, minced

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp coriander seeds

2 bay leaves

5 whole cloves

cheesecloth

For the actual dish

Tomato base, prepared ahead of time

1 medium onion, sautéed until golden brown, then pureed to a paste

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp ginger paste

1 /2 tsp cayenne, (+/-) to your preferences

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

1 c. Chobani plain, non-fat yogurt

For the Chicken:

To start, at least 1 hour before hand, preferably 4 hours, combine all ingredients listed above, place in a ziplock bag, and let sit in the fridge. Once marinated, skewer all the chicken bits, and grill until cooked through.

For the Tomato Base:

Wrap the peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaves, and cloves in the cheesecloth and tie up for easy removal of spices later. Combine all ingredients listed for the tomato base, including spice bundle in a pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the tomato chunks are soft and ready to fall apart. Remove the spice bundle, and with an immersion blender (or poured into a regular blender) puree the base until smooth.

For the Tikka Masala:

Combine the tomato base, onion, garlic paste, ginger paste, and the spices in a heavy bottomed pot or a wok, and heat to a gentle simmer. After about 5 minutes, add in the cooked chicken, and continue to simmer for 7-8 minutes. Once chicken is heated through and the flavors have melded, stir in the yogurt and cook 2 minutes more. Simple as that, you have chicken tikka masala, ready to be served over some basmati rice! Bon Appetit!

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala Plated on Basmati Rice, Ready to enjoy!

And as always… Enjoy!

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It might be noted that there has been a distinct lack of posts in the last few months.  This is for a variety of reasons, foremost being that I cant seem to remember to take any pictures when I am cooking (and what serious food blog posts without pictures of the process). The lack of pictures and posts however does not mean there has been any lack of cooking and eating.  Much to the chagrin of my pants, I may have put on a few extra over the past couple of months… :/

Therefore, I am going to be posting again, and its going to be under the banner of healthy food.  Tasty… Healthy… Food.  No cardboard here, I promise!

So lets dive in with my breakfast from today.  A healthy, hearty and filling dish, that falls in at a mere 354 calories per serving!

All you need for delicious and creamy breakfast polenta

Healthy and Hearty Breakfast Polenta

For the Polenta:

3/4 c. water

1/2 c. course ground yellow cornmeal (I used Goya brand when I created this, all cornmeal reacts slightly differently to polenta style preparation, just FYI)

1 1/2 c. 1% milk

1/2 tsp kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Toppings:

1/8 c. onion, diced

1/8 c. mushroom, thinly sliced

1/8 c. ham, diced

1 egg overeasy

To begin, bring the water to a boil over medium heat then slowly whisk in the cornmeal.  You will end with a very thick past like below.

After the initial addition of the corn meal

Reduce the heat slightly and whisk in the milk in 1/2 cup portions, allowing the mixture to come to a simmer between each addition.

 

After the addition of the initial 1/2 cup milk

After the final addition of the milk

At this point you may be wondering, this is going to be polenta!? It looks like corn meal suspended in a pool of warm milk, but yes, this will finish as a fantastically creamy polenta.  To get there, with a wooden spoon, mix in the salt and pepper, reduce heat to low, and cook slowly, stirring constantly to avoid clumping for 15-20 minutes.  When you are done the polenta will have thickened up nicely as below.

The polenta after it has thickened appropriately, and is ready to rest for a couple of minutes

At this point remove from heat and let set up for 2-4 minutes.  In the mean time sauté your onions mushrooms and ham in 1 tsp of butter, combine in a bowl with the polenta…

Polenta with onions, mushrooms, and ham

cook your egg in the same pan, and lay atop the whole creation.

Hearty and Healthy Breakfast Polenta, topped with onions, mushrooms, ham, and an over easy egg. Yum!!!

So there you have it, a hearty flavorful breakfast, that is guaranteed to please for about 350 calories!  Enjoy!!!

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