"I've decided that perhaps I'm bulimic and just keep forgetting to purge."

-- Paula Poundstone

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A salute to the General

Ever try to eat healthy but crave Chinese food?

It bites.

I love a good Chinese buffet, but trying to find something healthy among the deep-fried goodness is difficult.

Probably my favorite is General Tso’s Chicken, but it’s a no-no if you’re trying to lose weight.

So last week we tried this “(Almost) General Tso’s Chicken” recipe out of Rocco Dispirito’s “Now Eat This” cookbook.

It didn’t taste a thing like General Tso’s Chicken, but it did help tame my cravings for Chinese for a while.

My husband blames the weird twang we tasted on the fact that we had “seasoned” rice vinegar. So don’t do that.

I’ll give you the recipe. You’re on your own for a fortune cookie. Enjoy!

“(Almost) General Tso’s Chicken”
Rocco Dispirito
Serves 4

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups whole-wheat panko crumbs
4 large egg whites
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-inch cubes)
4 cups broccoli florets
3/4 cup Rockin' Asian Stir-Fry sauce (recipe to follow)
3 packets Truvia or Splenda
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (not flavored!)
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place a wire rack on a foil-lined baking sheet and set aside.
2. Put the flour in a shallow dish. Put the panko in another shallow dish. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk until they are extremely foamy but not quite holding peaks. Working in batches, dredge the chicken in flour, shaking off any excess. Add the chicken to the egg whites and toss to coat completely. Then add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, to the panko and toss to coat completely.
3. Spread the chicken out on the wire rack. Bake until the breading is golden and crispy and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, place the broccoli florets in a microwave-safe dish, and cover it with plastic wrap. Cook on high until tender, about 4 minutes. Keep the broccoli covered until ready to serve.
5. In a large bowl, combine the Rockin' Asian Stir-Fry sauce, Truvia, rice vinegar and chili garlic sauce. Add the cooked chicken to the bowl, and toss gently until the chicken is evenly coated with the sauce.
6. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the chicken, and serve with the steamed broccoli.

Before: 40.6 g fat, 843 calories
After: 5.6 g fat, 310 calories

Rockin' Asian Stir Fry Sauce
Makes 1 3/4 cups (28 servings)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bunch scallions (white and green parts), chopped fine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup reduced sugar ketchup (Heinz)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions, and sauté, stirring often, until very fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add the soy sauce, chicken broth, rice vinegar and ketchup, and whisk to blend.
3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauté pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
4. Store the sauce in a covered container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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