I don’t have to tell you that dining out these days is fraught with peril. America’s well-documented love affair with super sizing means that restaurant portions are likely to be twice the portion size you would serve yourself at home.
The same goes for take-out or delivery. People often assume that Chinese food is low in fat. While I’m pretty sure most restaurants no longer rely on the much-maligned MSG as a food additive, prepared Chinese food is still loaded with calories and very high in salt. Inferior cuts of meat are often coated in batter, deep-fried and then sauteed. Although the dishes tend to be laden with vegetables (lending to the belief that they are healthy for you), said veggies are loaded with hidden fats and sodium.
Today, I bring you an easy to prepare dish that is much lower in fat and sodium than any take-out. An attractive dish filled with colorful vegetables, you won’t miss the Kung Pau chicken for long. As a matter of fact, by substituting ingredients associated with Asian cuisines (sesame oil, garlic, ginger, nuts), you can satisfy your cravings and give any dish an international spin.
- One pound boneless pork loin, trimmed
- 2 tbls low sodium soy sauce
- 4 tsp sesame oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, shaved
- 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 onion, thinly sliced into rings (optional)
- 1 cup red or green bell pepper strips
- 1 cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen/thawed
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I prefer baby bellas)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbls corn starch
- 2 tbls slivered almonds
- In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, the garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper.
- Cut the pork into bite size cubes and toss into the soy sauce mixture. If possible, marinate for 15 minutes or more.
- In a large, non stick pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the pork and stir fry until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork back to the marinade bowl (see Kat’s tip below) and cover loosely to keep warm.
- Add the onion (if using) and bell pepper to the pan. Stir fry until the veggies soften a bit (3 minutes). Add the broccoli and mushrooms to the pan. Stir fry another 3 to 4 minutes until they are tender-crisp to your liking.
- Place the corn starch in a liquid measuring cup. Add the chicken broth and whisk until smooth.
- Return the pork and drippings to the pan. Add the corn starch mixture to the pan, whisking to smooth out any corn starch that collected at the bottom of the measuring cup.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the almonds in the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the pork is cooked through and the sauce thickens up slightly.
Serve over white or brown rice.
Kat’s tip: Pork must be fully cooked to avoid food-borne illness. To prevent contaminating meat, normally you should never place cooked meat back in the container that the raw meat came out of. However, since the pork is going through another phase of cooking in step 6 the risk of tainting the dish is eliminated. Plus, it cuts down on the number of dirty dishes that have to be cleaned afterwards.
Nutritional information – values are approximate per serving (not including rice):
Calories 339.2 Total Fat 15.9 g Cholesterol 90.2 mg Sodium 642.6 mg Potassium 844.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 11.6 g Protein 36.8 g
Inspiration: Weight Watchers Smart Choice Recipe Collection – 1994