I first had lotus root at a great little Korean restaurant in town. I had no idea what it was. My first thought? “…This may or may not be a cross section of ET’s pancreas.” Once I got over the initial shock, I began to appreciate the beauty of the plate. I took my first bite and was instantly hooked: the lotus root was delicious. It was tender and slightly sticky, simmered in soy sauce and something sweet. I’m still working out how to replicate that dish. During the course of my many (many, many) experimentations, I’ve found that lotus root makes a fantastic baked chip.
Lotus root is starchy — not unlike a potato, actually. After a quick, tenderizing boil in water and vinegar, I give the lotus root the same treatment I would give oven-cooked spuds. I grab a few of my favorite spices, season the lotus root liberally, and toss them in a hot oven. This simple process yields a lovely, flavorful snack. The baked lotus root chips are crisp at the edges and tender in the middle, a little chewy throughout. I like to eat them with a little bit of spicy-sweet gochujang on the side.
I usually use my favorite seasoning trio of chili, garlic, and onion powders, but you can change the flavors in a million different ways. The lotus root works beautifully with just about anything. Try it with garam masala for an Indian flair; for a Latin touch, try adobo or a mix of cumin, garlic, and parsley. If you like spicy North African flavors, harissa is a great choice.
Detailed instructions after the jump!
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My mom only recently showed me how to make pancit. I always thought it was a slightly mysterious, mystical dish for some reason. Turns out pancit is actually quite simple to make — the one trick is making sure not to overcook the delicate rice stick noodles. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that today.
Why? Because my version dispenses with the rice stick noodles altogether, calling for tofu shirataki noodles instead. That means this pancit (already a virtuous dish) is unbelievably low in calories and carbohydrates. A huge serving comes in under 200 calories!
Pancit is a little prep-intensive. It takes a few minutes to get all the vegetables chopped and ready. However, once the cutting is done and the actual cooking begins, pancit comes together quickly and easily. Its flavors are simple and comforting: garlic and onion, soy sauce, and bright lemon.
Pancit is perfect for potlucks or parties — it’s easy to make in bulk and adapt to all kinds of tastes. I used chicken here, but you can make yours with shrimp, pork, or just vegetables if you like. You can also use the traditional rice stick noodles instead of the shirataki if you prefer. Just look for the alternate instructions at the bottom of the recipe.
Keep reading to learn how to put this pancit together!
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I’m happy that Brussels sprouts are finally getting some of the love and respect they deserve. They’ve popped up on restaurant menus all over the place. Of course, there are some stubborn holdouts that want no part of this Brussels sprouts business. Just means more delicious sprouts for me.
Anyway, this Asian-inspired recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare them. Sautéed in a healthy oil infused with garlic, onion, and chili flakes, the sprouts take on big, bold flavor. Sugar-free orange marmalade is the key to this recipe. It adds bright, citrusy sweetness without adding a ton of extra calories. A few drops of fragrant, nutty sesame oil are the finishing touch. All together, the sauce is similar to the one you find on takeout-style orange chicken. Needless to say, this version is a lot better for you.
These spicy orange Brussels sprouts are an easy, delicious dish for meatless Monday. Most people will prefer this recipe as a side (try it with steamed fish or chicken satay), but I really like it as a main over rice or noodles. Recipe after the jump! Read more… →
So I don’t know if you heard, but *apparently* there’s this big winter storm that’s hitting the Northeast tonight. Setting aside the (very real) dangers to life and property, I don’t mind storms. I’m a homebody by nature, so I love any opportunity to cozy up with wine and a good book. If it’s a winter storm, all the better — that just means I get to make soup.
This five-spice beef noodle soup is my lazy-woman’s take on pho. Most of the quintessential pho flavors (ha) are there, but the cooking time is much shorter. Another reason to get excited about this dish? I’m finally getting on the shirataki train. Shirataki noodles are made from yam flour, sometimes tofu, and water. Since the noodles are comprised almost completely of fiber, they’re basically calorie-free. They work perfectly in Asian dishes like this beef noodle soup. If you can’t find shirataki noodles or don’t care for their gelatinous texture, you can use any other noodle you like — just know that it will increase the calorie count per bowl.
The broth is infused with the warm aromas of Vietnamese five-spice: star anise, fennel, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Dried mushrooms add depth and earthiness to the soup for an extra-hearty flavor that complements the beef perfectly. Bonus? This soup is phenomenally nutritious — it’s low in calories (under 100 per bowl), low in fat, and high in protein.
Here’s how to put this pho-inspired beef noodle soup together. Read more… →
I’ve always held that chicken thighs are a sadly underused ingredient. For down-home feasts and party food, people always reach for easy-to-grab drums and wings. When people are trying to watch their weight, skinless chicken breasts are usually the first choice. For reasons I’ll never understand, it seems like the thighs can’t get any love.
Me? I’ll take a good chicken thigh any day of the week. While the thighs are higher in fat and calories than the breasts, they’re much more moist and flavorful. They take well to every preparation — baked, fried, or braised, they turn out wonderfully succulent and juicy. My favorite thing about chicken thighs? A pack of them won’t break the bank. I picked up 8 large thighs (bone-in with the skin) for about $3 at my grocery store.
Come on, now. That’s basically free.
I put my bargain to good use by making another of my favorite Filipino dishes: chicken adobo. If the Philippines has a national dish, chicken adobo is it. Remember those adobo-style green beans from last year? This recipe uses almost the exact same ingredients and method — just swap the green beans for chicken. This is part of the beauty of adobo: you can make it with anything. A Filipino foodie friend of mine confessed to me that he once made adobo with just onions when he was too lazy to go to the grocery store. At first I laughed. Then thought to myself, “…I bet that onion adobo was DELICIOUS.”
Served over brown rice, chicken adobo makes for a healthy, satisfying supper. Since you basically just toss everything in the pot and leave it alone, it’s also a great dish for busy weeknights. Read on for the recipe!
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