Stir fries have to be the perfect 5-2 fast day meal. Healthy, nutrition, low in calories and very easy to prepare. Fast day or feast day I’ll often prepare a stir fry for dinner using whatever is in season or in my refrigerator. Unfortunately due to the time consuming calorie counting involved of the many ingredients I have been loathe to post stir fry recipes. I well remember spending hours last summer calculating calories for a 5-2 post on Lettuce Cups Filled With Stir-Fried Chicken and Vegetables.
Today I caved in. It’s another fast day and the overwhelming request for dinner? Chicken stir fry. So here it is. A comprehensive post on how to build a skinny stir fry. Broken down into key components. Calorie counted to the nth degree. Feel free to mix and match ingredients at leisure. You control the outcome. I know that I will be referring back to this post next time I need to satisfy a fast day stir fry craving.
HOW TO BUILD A SKINNY STIR FRY
Limit Fats and Oils To a Tablespoon or Two
Each and every tablespoon of oil used, irrespective of type, accounts for 120 calories. Limit the quantity of oil used in your stir fry to reduce the overall calorie count.
Choose Lean Protein Wisely.
For a substantial fast day meal allow 150 grams of protein per person per serve. Choose wisely. The type of protein selected has a huge bearing on the final calorie count of your meal. Here is a quick guide to the calorie count of 150 grams of the most popular protein sources. Sourced from the Fatsecret and Livestrong websites.
Lean cuts of protein must be trimmed of all visible fat and skin, and sliced thinly for a quick sear in the wok. Even a little fat increases the calorie count dramatically. Truly not worth it on a fast day.
Protein, Raw Weight, Trimmed of All Visible Fat
Calories per 150g serve
|Chicken Breast, Skinless, Boneless||165|
|2 Medium Eggs||150|
Use Plenty of Seasonal Vegetables.
Fresh, frozen or tinned. Vegetables are incredibly low in calories. I prefer to use fresh wherever possible and load as many different varieties into my stir fries as I can. An incredibly easy way to bulk up a meal with maximum fibre and minimum calories.
It’s all about the preparation. Peel, slice or julienne the vegetables before heating the wok. Once your ingredients hit the searing hot wok dinner will be ready in less than ten minutes. it really is as quick as that.
|Raw||Calories per cup serve|
|Beans, green, sliced||44|
|Bok Choy, shredded||9|
|Capsicum, red, sliced||24|
|Long Green Spring Onions, sliced||32|
|Onions, brown, sliced||67|
Don’t Forget the Aromatics.
The basis of a great stir fry? Heady aromatics that deliver a gutsy flavour punch. I always use the holy trinity of freshly pounded ginger, chilli and garlic. Complemented by fresh seasonal herbs, lime or lemon juice. Use as much as you like. Guaranteed flavour for an almost negligible calorie count.
|Calories for Fresh Herbs and Spices|
|Basil, shredded||1 per tablespoon|
|Red Chilli Pepper||18 per chilli pepper|
|Coriander, shredded||1 per tablespoon|
|Garlic||4 per clove|
|Ginger, minced||6 per tablespoon|
|Mint, shredded||1 per tablespoon|
Add Depth of Flavour With Sauces
Well chosen sauces can change the character of your stir fry according to your whim. Hot and spicy one day, sweet and subtle the next. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust the seasoning according to your taste.
|Calories per Tablespoon Serve|
|Hot Chilli Sauce||10|
|Rice Wine Vinegar, seasoned||20|
|Rice Wine Vinegar, unseasoned||2|
|Shao Xing, Chinese Rice Wine||2|
|Soy Sauce, dark||25|
|Soy Sauce, light||9|
|Sweet Chilli Jam||48|
|Sweet Chilli Sauce||28|
Serve A Carbohydrate With Your Meal
Traditionally stir fries are served with steamed rice or noodles. Choose carefully between the alternatives and you can drastically reduce your calorie intake. Japanese soba noodles are particularly low in calories. Of course if I am feeling particularly strong and virtuous I sometimes skip the carbohydrate altogether. Timing is of the essence. Remember to begin cooking your rice or noodles before you fire up the wok.
|Calories per ½ cup Serve, Cooked|
|Rice Vermicelli Noodles||110|
Taking heed of all this good advice and information, tonight’s skinny fast day offering? Stir Fried Chicken With Red Capsicum, Broccolini and Chilli Jam. Filling, nutritious and delicious. What a pity I succumbed to a skim milk cappuccino earlier in the afternoon. Without that temptation I would have come in well under my 500 fast day calorie limit.
1 Cup Tea With Teaspoon Sugar
1 Cup Diced Watermelon
1 Skim Cappuccino
Stir Fried Chicken With Red Capsicum, Broccolini and Chilli Jam
½ Cup Steamed Rice
1 Cup of Tea with Teaspoon of Sugar
Stir Fried Chicken With Red Capsicum, Broccolini and Chilli Jam.
Serves 4 (275 calories per serve plus 95 calories per 1/2 cup steamed basmati rice)
1 tablespoon peanut oil (120 calories)
2 garlic cloves, crushed (8 calories)
2 cm piece ginger, finely grated (3 calories)
1 long red chilli, finely sliced (18 calories)
1 cup long green spring onions, thinly sliced (32 calories)
2 cups red capsicum, sliced (48 calories)
1 cup green beans (44 calories)
1 cup broccolini, sliced into bite size pieces on the diameter (30 calories)
1 cup carrot, julienned (52 calories)
600 g chicken breast, skinless and boneless, sliced ( 660 calories)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (18 calories)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (9 calories)
1 tablespoon chilli jam (48 calories)
1/2 lemon, juiced (2 calories)
3 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded (3 calories)
HEAT wok over high flame until smoking hot. Add peanut oil and swirl to coat.
ADD garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir fry for one minute until fragrant.
ADD chicken and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken just changes colour. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
ADD spring onions, capsicum, green beans, broccolini and carrot and stir fry quickly for a further 2 minutes. Return chicken to the wok. Toss well to combine. Stir-fry for another minute.
COMBINE chilli jam, lemon juice, oyster sauce and soy sauce in a bowl. Add to wok Stir-fry for 3 minutes until heated through.
REMOVE from heat. Check seasoning and stir in shredded basil. Serve with steamed rice.