Since I embarked on my “course correction” in October of 2007 and becoming 67 pounds lighter, and with Rachel herself carrying 50lbs less — we’ve been doing a lot of Asian-inspired stir-fry cooking at home as our “go to” typical dinner when we are very hungry but want to eat something healthy. Where we used to order from our favorite Chinese American local delivery places, we now cook our own healthier, albeit different versions, with higher amounts of vegetable and protein content and much less fat. To be perfectly honest, I actually prefer eating this way now, even though I really miss my egg rolls, fried rice, lo mein, and egg foo young soaked in gravy.
The photos I am going to show you should give you an idea of how we’ve been approaching our typical, non food porn meals. You will notice a common theme is that we incorporate a lot of green vegetables as well as tofu in our cooking, and many of our sauces are stock based. We also now use a large, nonstick wok and “paint” it with a small amount sesame oil using a silicone basting brush instead of free-pouring oil, which also cuts down on the fat content quite a bit. We also use a lot of alternative whole grains to just plain brown rice as the beds for our stir fries, such as Quinoa, Kamut, or Barley.
Here is one of the earliest attempts to actually “re-create” a takeout dish, Beef with Oyster Sauce and Chinese Broccoli. Note that we are now using portioned controlled amounts of brown rice instead of white rice.
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Cold noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce, one of the first things we made when we burned our Fat Pack membership cards. These “noodles” are actually made out of Yuba, or tofu skin. No carbs.
We only did this once, but we should definitely do it more often — Griddle-Style Egg Foo Young, using Egg Beaters. Lower in cholesterol, and not fried, using only Pam spray as the oil.
Egg Foo Young, Plated, with Garlic Saute Gai Lan and Soya/Stock cooked Quinoa grain instead of fried rice. The “Gravy” is simply a mixture of stock, soy, and oyster sauce, thickened with a little bit of cornstarch.
Here’s sweet and sour meatballs, made with Turkey. The fried rice is brown rice, with a lot of vegetables in it, accompanied by a healthy portion of Shanghai Bok Choy saute.
Here’s another variant.
Chicken Soong is a type of ground chicken saute seasoned with oyster and hoisin sauce, accompanied by a lettuce wrap, which usually has a lot of pinenuts in it. The only main difference between a restaurant version and this one is we use a lot less oil and we amped the protein content significantly by adding tofu. We use either all chicken white meat or turkey breast, as well as smoked or seasoned baked pressed tofu that we buy from chinese groceries to give it some extra flavor.
We always make a lot of brown rice in advance so we don’t have to cook it for every meal — our investment in a rice cooker has really paid off. This fried rice, like the one pictured above, uses brown rice, a small amount of oil , chicken, shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, chicken breast, and scallions.
What else can I say about Shroom Insanity? Several different types of mushrooms and firm tofu. Its an obscenely expensive dish as far as basic produce costs go, but if you’re a mushroom fan, its totally worth it.
Moo Goo Gai Pan is another Chinese American dish that translates well to a healthier version. Here we’re using King Oyster as well as white mushrooms, as well as edamame to accompany the light sauce with the chicken.
Another slightly different version of Moo Goo Gai Pan, but with different green vegetables and high-protein Kamut grain as the base.
One of my favorite condiments is black bean or fermented hot bean sauces. Both China and Korea have different types, and they are great for throwing into any kind of stir fry dish. This Shrimp stir fry features Sichuan-style hot bean paste.
Here’s a Shrimp with Black Bean sauce and Gai Lan.
Another hot bean and black bean sauce heavy dish is Ma Po Tofu. This gets made at least twice a month during the winter.
Vietnamese food is also totally game. This is a lemongrass beef, using a lean flank steak, with asparagus and shredded tofu.
Cooking seasonally is also a great way to get variation. This is a garlic sherry shrimp saute with yellow leeks, with smoked tofu.
And a Pineapple Chicken with String Beans. Consider the possibilities of different flavor combinations to break up the same old stir-fry.
Fresh herbs of different types are also good to use. This chicken stirfry dish uses Thai Basil along with Baby Gai Lan tips.
I stole this “Kung Pao” chicken recipe directly from an Asian-Fusion restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina. The secret ingredient? Black Vinegar.
Spicy Pepper Capsicum Saute with Pressed Tofu. More black bean sauce and lots of fresh green chiles. Turkey meat takes on a whole new dimension with this much chili fire.
Curry Pastes will also really liven things up. We used Penang Curry to amp up a recent Shrimp stir-fry.
What can I say, I love my green beans.
Here’s another one of the typical throw it together last second fusion dishes we make. Chicken, Tofu Skin Noodles, and mixed green vegetable chop suey flavored with Thai green curry paste and brown fried rice.
Japanese flavors work really well too. These are Japanese Eggplants and Shrimp sauteed with Awase Miso paste in a stock-based sauce.