I was a lucky kid. Growing up, the family of one of my closest friends happened to own one of the best Chinese restaurants in the Chicago area. I ate their food at least once a week, resulting in the consumption of a lot of Mongolian beef, Mu Shu pork, Orange chicken and Sesame chicken.
That consumption eventually slowed down. First, my friend's family - tired of the stress and long hours - closed down the restaurant. Second, I discovered an array of other tasty ethnic foods, particularly Middle Eastern and Indian. And probably the most important reason? I saw a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest that determined how unhealthy Chinese food could really be. Sesame chicken, for example, can pack more than 1,000 calories and 70 grams of fat.
Who would have thunk it? Chinese food always seemed so healthy, what with the focus on vegetables and rice.
The good news is, though, there are now a number of low-cal, low-carb Chinese food recipes surfacing each day. Here is one featuring a Chinese sea bass that only runs about 270 calories.
A few other tips:
If you are at a Chinese restaurant, you can cut down on the fat by asking for your food steamed or with little-to-no oil. Also choose brown rice instead of white and watch how much sauce you use.
Here's another recipe - courtesy of Splenda.com - to whet your appetite.
SWEET SESAME CHICKEN
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/8 cup sesame oil
1 1/2 cups unflavored bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cubed
1. Combine the raw sesame seeds with the 1/8 cup of sesame oil and microwave for 2 minutes.
2. Mix the roasted sesame seeds with the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg and SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend. Set aside.
3. Heat a large frying pan or wok with the 1/4 cup of sesame oil and the vegetable oil.
4. Dredge the chicken pieces in the bread crumb mixture so that they are evenly coated.
5. Drop the chicken into the hot pan and cook over medium heat.
6. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown on each side.
7. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with rice, noodles or vegetables and assorted mustards for dipping.
540 Calories, 32g fat, 30g carb