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HOMEMADE CHINESE TAKEOUT: Cooking at home can reduce sodium intake

From food courts and grocery stores kiosks to corner restaurants, Chinese takeout is a popular go-to dinner. It’s tasty, but many times you are dining on more sodium and fat than you may think.

Don’t give up on Chinese food. Instead, do it yourself with these just-as-tasty versions with the bonus of good-for-you.

CHINESE-STYLE STIR-FRY BROCCOLI BEEF

Makes 4 servings

½ cup rice and about 1 ¼ cups broccoli and beef mixture 

Combine tender lean beef, fresh broccoli florets, aromatics and a drizzle of Chinese sauces and you have a delicious dinner. You’ll use a few bowls to whisk things together but once you start cooking you’ll have dinner on the table in no time flat.

1 (3.5 ounce) bag boil-in-bag whole grain brown rice

Cook according to package directions. Set aside.

1 pound flank steak, visible fat and silver skin discarded

While rice is cooking, slice steak diagonally across grain into slices about ¼-inch thick and 2-3 inches long.  Place in medium-size bowl.

4-5 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces

Add to steak. Stir well. 

Marinade

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon less sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon agave

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Stir marinade ingredients together in small bowl. Pour over steak mixture and stir well. Set aside.

Sauce

¼ cup low-sodium beef broth

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon agave

Whisk sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided use

Heat a large nonstick skillet (about 12-inches in diameter) over medium-high heat.  Add 1 teaspoon oil, swirling skillet to coat bottom of pan.

Add half of beef mixture to hot skillet, spreading meat in a single layer. Cook for one minute without stirring. Then stir fry for two minutes, stirring constantly. Scoop onto a plate. Return skillet to heat. Add one teaspoon oil to hot skillet, swirl and repeat with remaining beef mixture. Scoop onto the plate and set aside.

Return skillet to stove over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, swirling skillet to coat bottom of pan.

4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to hot skillet. Stir fry for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 

1 (12-ounce) bag broccoli florets (about 5 cups)

1/3 cup water

Add broccoli to skillet. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add water and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered until crisp tender, about two more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in beef mixture. Whisk sauce mixture and add to skillet. Stir and toss well to mix beef and broccoli. Cook until beef is hot and sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2 teaspoons less-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Drizzle in soy sauce and sesame oil.  Stir well and serve immediately over brown rice.

Nutrition information per serving without rice: 290 calories; 13 g fat; 3.5 g saturated fat; 50 mg cholesterol; 403 mg sodium; 16 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 28 g protein; Vitamin A 20%; Calcium 10%; Iron 20 %; Vitamin C 140%

Nutrition information per serving rice: 85 calories; less than1g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 mg sodium; 50 mg potassium; 18 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 2 g protein; Iron 1 %;  Thiamin 5%; Niacin 5%

SODIUM SAVVY: Soy sauce is very high in sodium. Even the less sodium varieties can have 575 mg sodium/tablespoon so use it sparingly.

Baby bok choy (Photo courtesy of yodaswaj)

Baby bok choy (Photo courtesy of yodaswaj)

BABY BOK CHOY and BELL PEPPER

Makes 4 servings

Once a little harder to find, baby bok choy is milder than regular bok choy and is cropping up in markets everywhere. Red bell pepper adds color, texture and sweetness to this satisfying side while the sauces give the dish that “yum.”

12 ounces baby bok choy (about 12 heads), bottoms cut off

Separate leaves and rinse well in colander. Do not dry.  Set aside. 

Red bell peppers (Photo courtesy of Natika)

Red bell peppers (Photo courtesy of Natika)

½ large red bell pepper, cut in ½ lengthwise and then in ½ crosswise

Cut pepper into strips about ¼ – inch thick. Set aside.

4 teaspoons canola oil divided use

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 teaspoons oil and swirl skillet to coat bottom of pan.

Add bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until peppers soften and char just a little.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Return skillet to stove over medium-high heat.  Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and swirl skillet to coat bottom of pan.

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root

Add garlic and ginger to skillet and stir fry for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add damp bok choy and stir fry until leaves are limp and stems soften, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. 

2 teaspoons Sriracha hot chili sauce)

1 teaspoon less-sodium soy sauce

Stir in Sriracha and soy sauce followed by bell pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per: 70 calories; 4.5 fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 88 mg sodium; 2 g carbohydrate; less than 1 g fiber; 1g sugar; Vitamin A 95% ;  Vitamin C 110% ; Calcium 8% ; Iron 4 %

Kitchen questions? Email Carla at kitchenwithcarla@hotmail.com.

Copyright 2017 Carla F. Williams All Rights Reserved

 

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