From My Wok to Yours - Taking the Mystery Out of Everyday Dining and Meals!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cholesterol Control

 
Apparently the President of the United States has a cholesterol problem.  Reports state that his cholesterol problem stems from a love of burgers and desserts.  He is lucky enough to have his own pastry chef and huge kitchen with gourmet chefs at his disposal. Sadly, I am not the President of the United States.  I would love to be the President, but in all reality, I don’t see that happening any time soon, so I am relegated to having to fend for myself and find the right kind of healthy foods and monitor my own cholesterol levels.  (Ironically, I am allowed 2200 calories per day to maintain my current weight and body mass index.  Cool, huh?)

So, off in search of sustenance I went today.  Lunch options were many.  I could drive five minutes in any direction and find something to eat.  Most of it, however, is fast food.  Wingstop. McDonald’s. Carl’s Jr. Burger King. Jack in the Box. Subway.  Just to name a few.  Plus, there were all of the hole-in-the-wall taquerias, and a horrible Asian Buffet.  Given that I, too, am trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, fast food was not one of my first choices.  While I was driving around, a sign caught my eye: it was a restaurant professing to “Wok Smart.”  Hmm… and what did that mean?  Apparently they were offering dishes that were less than 250 calories per serving.  Okay, let’s give it a whirl.

Panda Express.  (cough, cough…really?) I can already hear my daughter questioning my choice.  I have dined there a few times before, and I have written about, in detail, my experiences with their food.  Ironically, there is now a sign at the beginning of their line that states that they do not add MSG to their food.  Perhaps they never added more but there was never any guarantee that they have absolutely none. 

I ordered their 2 entrĂ©e plate with a serving of Firecracker Chicken and Black Pepper Chicken with steamed rice.  (I am still not a fan of anyone else’s fried rice other than my own.)

While tasty, and served hot, the flavor of the chicken seemed to be overtaken by salt, which then resulted in both chicken options tasting the same.  The only thing that made it more than just spicy chicken was being able to sip the iced tea that they serve.  (It’s good tea, with a hint of orange that comes forth as an aftertaste.)

I was trying to dissect the flavors while eating, and I think that the one dish that I will be able to replicate the best is the Black Pepper Chicken.  It uses a chicken stock base with black bean sauce, with a liberal dash of black pepper.  Seems pretty easy, and I will have to give it a try.

When I went in search of some sort of pamphlet with nutritional information, I had no luck.  The first person I asked had no clue what a nutritional guide even was.  The other two people referred me to their website.

I eventually navigated my way through their site and found their nutritional information.  Needless to say, there are quite a few dishes that may be healthier than others, but from the standpoint of quality Chinese food, I would not suggest it.  Call it Americanized Chinese food.  Even on the same level of McDonald’s.  Unless you see or hear the manager of the nearest location pointing his/her finger and yelling in Cantonese, don’t call this authentic.

Trust me.  You can make a Black Pepper Anything, in a healthier form by following my simple steps.

Until then, Good Eating, Friends…

 
Black Pepper Chicken
Ingredients:
7 ounces boneless chicken breast
4.5 ounces celery
2 ounces onions
.5 ounce vegetable oil
Marinade:
1/2 egg white
.25 teaspoon salt
1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
1.5 Tablespoons cooking wine
Other condiments:
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cooking wine
1 teaspoon black beans, soaked and mashed
10 Tablespoons white sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch slurry
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon table-grind pepper
Preparation:
1. Cut chicken breast into one- by two-inch thin slices and place it in the marinade mixture for ten minutes.
2. Cut bok choy into same size pieces as the chicken breast and set aside.
3. Heat wok, add half the oil and stir-fry the chicken for half a minute. Remove and set aside.
4. Add the rest of the oil and fry all the vegetables for one minute then return the chicken to the wok with all the condiments.
5. Add cornstarch paste and stir-fry another minute. Add sesame oil and serve
Chicken with Chinese Vegetables
Ingredients:
7 ounces boneless chicken breast
4.5 ounces bok choy
2 ounces celery, sliced
1.5 ounces bamboo shoots
1 ounce snow pea pods
.5 ounce vegetable oil
Marinade:
1/2 egg white
.25 teaspoon salt
1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
1.5 Tablespoons cooking wine
Other condiments:
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cooking wine
1 teaspoon sugar
10 Tablespoons chicken stock
1 Tablespoon cornstarch slurry
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Preparation:
1. Cut chicken breast into one- by two-inch thin slices and place it in the marinade mixture for ten minutes.
2. Cut bok choy into same size pieces as the chicken breast and set aside.
3. Heat wok, add half the oil and stir-fry the chicken for half a minute. Remove and set aside.
4. Add the rest of the oil and fry all the vegetables for one minute then return the chicken to the wok with all the condiments except the cornstarch and sesame oil.
5. Add cornstarch paste and stir-fry another minute. Add sesame oil and serve.
 

 
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