Thursday, 27 June 2013

Week 21- Healthy Take on the Takeaway

In the UK we do love a takeaway meal.

26% of the population eat one at least once a week- and an astonishing 1 in 10 people eat one more than twice a week.

Although, 'can't be bothered to cook' is the most often cited reason for this- there are other reasons too. The food is tasty, often can be delivered to your home when you're tired or unwell, and the people in the small shops and restaurants work hard and long for their profits.

The problem is that the 'tastiness' comes from that hit of fat, salt, sugar and flavour enhancers which ultimately is not good for your health. The food is often deep fried, and the provenance and usage of the oil is outside of your control too.

So, this week I am preparing a menu of favourite takeaway-style Oriental food- to show that it can be very healthy and very easy to prepare.

Starter is miso soup with 'pot sticker' dim sum, followed by yasai yaki soba ( a vegetable stir fry with buckwheat noodles) and crispy chilli beef (yes- deep fried, it is supposed to be a treat- but you can control the amount and type of oil) and followed with an exotic fruit salad with ice cream and toasted coconut.

For the pot stickers, I am using minced turkey, which is low in fat, for the filling. Mix the meat together with some soy sauce, finely chopped spring onion, a little garlic and a few breadcrumbs to make a burger-like consistency. (Indeed you can keep any unused mixture and make it into burgers in a bun for tomorrow night's meal). Form into small sausages and leave to chill in the fridge.

Defrost 2 spring roll wrappers (or filo sheets) and keep covered with a damp tea towel whilst you work. Place the 'sausage' in on half of the square, brush the edges of the wrapper with a 'glue' of cornflour and water and then fold and seal a bit like a pasty.

Brush the 'pasties' with a little oil on either side and then fry them gently in a frying pan. When lightly brown on each side, turn off the heat, put on a tight fitting lid and leave to steam for 5 minutes to cook the filling through.

Serve with miso soup: you can buy jars of miso paste in most supermarkets. A jar will last for ages in the fridge, once opened. Put one heaped dessertspoon of the paste per person into 500ml of boiling water, add some chopped spring onion and a handful of beansprouts and serve immediately.
Miso soup with dim sum

The noodles are quick and simple to prepare too- just boil them for a couple of minutes in a pan (no need for salt), drain and refresh with cold water in a colander. Meanwhile, stir fry peppers, beansprouts and spring onions in a wok, add 1 beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of soy sauce and stir until the egg is cooked and evenly distributed. Mix in the drained noodles and add a dressing of your choice: soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, peanut butter (for a satay style sauce) etc Decorate with crispy onions and sesame seeds.
Yasai yaki soba

For the crispy chilli beef- cut one sandwich or flash fry steak into very thin strips. Marinade these for a short while in soy sauce, then toss in cornflour until coated. Heat an inch of vegetable oil in a wok until smoking and then add the beef piece by piece and fry quickly ( a very few minutes ) until golden and crisp. Lift out the pieces and drain them thoroughly on kitchen paper. Heat your favourite chilli (or black bean or hoi sin sauce) in a pan and coat the beef with sauce.

Crispy chilli beef

Exotic fruit salad
For dessert, a fruit salad is a refreshing choice. I prowl around the aisles of the supermarket looking for fruit which is reduced as it is a bit bruised or overripe- today's haul brought me kiwis, pineapple and mango- which I added to grapes, mandarins and strawberries. Topped with vanilla ice cream and a spoonful of toasted coconut- ( dessicated coconut dry-fried for 1 minute in a pan, stirring all the time, until it starts to brown lightly then removed immediately from the heat.)

Quite a feast- I hope you agree. If I had bought this from my local takeaway (not counting pudding which isn't available)  it would have cost : £12.50. If I had eaten in at Wagamamas, it would have been around £35 for two.

Making it myself cost: just under £7 for two. Plus, there is leftover stir fry to make noodle soup tomorrow, leftover fruit salad for my lunchbox and another meal of turkey burgers for tomorrow night.

If you would like to see more takeaway-style recipes, I have begun pinning them on my pinterest boards at

Live long and prosper!

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