My one big “diet no-no” that I can’t give up is short-grain white rice. I love the way short-grain rice sticks together and the texture when it’s been cooked properly. I’d rather have half a cup of white rice with a bit of seasoning than a whole cup of brown rice or something else, because I know that’s what will keep me satisfied. I’ll switch out all my other carbs for the healthier option, pinky swear. ;)I am lucky enough to work about 5 minutes from a Mitsuwa
I am lucky enough to work about 5 minutes from a Mitsuwa. I stop there to pick up “new crop” short-grain rice (meaning fresher rice) in 5 lb. bags whenever I run out. There are some good brands available in most grocery stores, but it’s amazing how much better rice changes the taste. Since I usually have some every week, I like to splurge a little on a nicer brand. Plus, it gives me an excuse to go to Mitsuwa and pick up other ingredients, like thinly sliced beef, and fun things (like a Hello Kitty Onigiri shaper…).
On this trip, I picked up some Shirataki yam flour noodles. These noodles are 0 calories (or 10 calories if you get the silky tofu type).
I know some healthier recipes use them in place of spaghetti or other pasta in Italian-type dishes, but the texture just isn’t quite right to me. In stir fry, however, these noodles are perfect! I use them whenever I have a craving for Chinese food in my low-cal stir fry.
To make it for yourself, you need:
- 1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (you can mince your own, but why do that to yourself)
- 1 cup snow peas (or any other vegetables you prefer)
- Soy sauce to taste (low sodium is fine)
- 1 package Shirataki yam flour noodles (These are only $1 for 7 oz, which is enough for 2 servings, at Mitsuwa. Their snow peas and soy sauce are pretty cheap, too. If you don’t have a Mitsuwa, most grocery stores carry these, but they may be cheaper at your local Asian market.)
Open the package of noodles and strain them. Rinse several times until the smell is no longer noticeable. Set aside in a strainer to drain.
Heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan (or wok if you have one) over medium heat. Add minced garlic and tilt the pan to spread it around. Put the snow peas in first and sauté until almost cooked (around 2.5 mins). If you use a lot of veggies like I do, you may want to use tongs to flip them to make sure all get cooked through.
Add in the noodles and cook for about a minute, making sure all the noodles and snow peas get coated in oil. Add a splash of soy sauce to taste and toss so all noodles and snow peas are coated. Cook another 30 seconds-1 minute and serve immediately.
This is an excellent low-calorie snack that always curbs my Chinese food cravings; the mixture of sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce tastes just like takeout to me. If you want to make it a meal, you can add lean meat like chicken or a few pieces of thinly-sliced beef like I did here:
I’m usually pretty skeptical of certain craving replacements, but this one really does help me a lot when I’m seriously jonesing for lo mein (and it takes about 5 minutes to make, which is about as much cooking as I can take some nights). Did I mention it’s cheaper too? This will only set you back about $2 per serving, or $3.50 if you add about 3 oz. of thin-sliced beef per person.
Did this help you clean out your takeout menu drawer? Send me a picture!