It seems that in recent years, everyone is more concerned about their health. As people are becoming more educated about caloric intake, cholesterol, saturated fat, and sugar, they’re beginning to shy away from eating some of their favorite foods like Chinese takeout from their local restaurant. Indeed, eating at an Asian restaurant or getting takeout is like navigating a culinary minefield, where every misstep is like stepping on a calorie and fat laden bomb. There is hope, however, for those of you that enjoy Asian cuisine and still want to include it in your diet. A lot of the unhealthy elements of Asian cuisine come from bad cooking methods. By learning to use low calorie Chinese cooking methods, you can recreate your favorite dishes at home that are healthier and tastier than anything you can get at a restaurant.
The first thing that you can do to make healthy Chinese food at home is to avoid deep frying. How many times have you eaten at your favorite establishment only to find that your meat and even vegetables are swimming in pools of fat? Unfortunately, this is the norm rather than the exception when eating out these days. Oil is bad for you because it is high in calories and is in some cases high in cholesterol and saturated fats, both of which contribute to heart disease. One tablespoon of oil contains approximately 120 calories. Whatever you do, avoid deep frying as a cooking method. When food is deep fried or cooked in copious amounts of fat, the grease can soak up into the food, creating high calorie dishes that are high in cholesterol and fat. You can prevent this by cooking at home. There, you can control how much and what kind of oil you use. You can even get rid almost all of the oil all together if you invest in a non-stick skillet and use vegetable cooking spray.
Instead of deep frying, try other cooking methods to control the fat. For example, say you’re using a Chinese recipe for sweet and sour chicken. The chicken in sweet and sour chicken is traditionally battered and deep fried where it can soak up a lot of grease. Instead, try breading it in bread crumbs, giving it a light spray with cooking spray, and then baking it in the oven. You’ll still get the textural element of crunch that is similar to a deep fried item, but you’ll get none of the extra oil and grease.
Another low calorie cooking method that you can use in your Chinese kitchen is steaming. Steaming relies on the heat of water vapor instead of oil to cook your food. By using this technique, you don’t have to use any oil at all. On top of that, steaming is also a gentle cooking method that enables you to retain a lot more nutrients and vitamins in your foods than with other techniques.
Finally, you can create great tasting dishes at home that are friendly to the waist by reducing the amount of meat that you use in your dishes. Meat is high in calories, saturated fats, and cholesterol and reducing the amounts that you use in your cooking can really help to make your dishes healthier. Consider the dish called Beef and Broccoli. When trying to make a healthier version at home, it’s helpful to think about it as if it were called Broccoli with Beef, where the vegetable component is the main star of the dish. Use smaller amounts of beef as more of a seasoning element and make the vegetable the centerpiece. You can use this philosophy with almost any dish in order to make it low cal.
There are a number of low calorie Chinese cooking methods and techniques that you can use at home to help make your dishes healthier. By cutting down on the meat, avoiding oil, and using techniques like steaming and baking, you can enjoy Chinese food without the negative health impact.