12 Most Healthy and Tasty Asian Recipes for 2012
The New Year is a wonderful time for fresh starts, particularly when it comes to eating healthy. Resolutions aside, we’re all ready for a bit of detox and to focus on eating cleansing ingredients. What better way than to introduce Asian flavors to your diet and make eating healthy pleasurable.
Here are 12 healthy Asian inspired recipes for 2012 that are tasty and virtually guilt free.
This is a variation of the popular Vietnamese dish “shaking beef”. It’s a tasty warm salad of seared lean beef tenderloin tossed with crunchy watercress, an aquatic vegetable that contains significant amounts of iron, calcium and folic acid. Multiple medical studies have even claimed that consuming watercress regularly arrests cancer growth. Whether true or not, this satiating dish is reason enough to eat more watercress.
2. Thai Green Curry with Shrimp
This impressive aromatic dish is loaded with flavor and is super with a bowl of steamed nutty brown rice. Coconut milk is lactose free and, although a bit higher in calories and good fat, it can help you lower your cholesterol and boost your immune system. This versatile curry is great with shrimp or chicken and any fresh seasonal vegetables.
3. Steamed Fish with Ginger and Green Onions
This simple dish is delicately flavored with soy, ginger and green onions. The other plus is that fish is also an excellent source of low-calorie protein and omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce the risk of diseases. Steaming the fish over high heat is quick and helps retain the nutrients and the fresh fish flavor.
The Asian version of the western cure-all chicken noodle soup, this nutritious recipe is reputed to cure head and chest colds. The mildly spicy and tangy broth offers excellent health benefits including antioxidant properties from ginger and shiitake mushrooms and an abundance of minerals and fibers from bamboo shoots.
This cooling noodle dish has traditionally been eaten for centuries in Japan. Made from buckwheat, soba noodles have a nutty flavor and an ever so slight grainy texture that is rich in protein, minerals and fiber. Eating 100% buckwheat soba noodles can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure and is truly gluten-free.
Miso is a great staple to add to your pantry. Commonly used in Japanese soups, it is also a superb ingredient for adding flavor to vegetables and seafood. A fermented soybean paste, miso is an enzyme rich food that stimulates digestion and strengthens the immune system. This recipe uses miso as a marinade for fish, adding amazing depth of flavor and caramelizes beautifully when broiled.
These satiating lettuce cups are deceivingly good for you. It’s a quick stir-fried dish that’s loaded with lean protein as well as great texture and flavor from water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Use trimmed radicchio leaves instead of lettuce for added flavor and color.
8. Lotus Root Salad
This exotic underwater root of a lotus plant makes a beautiful vegetable dish and is wonderful in soups. In Asian cultures, this rhizome has been used to treat respiratory problems including relief from coughs. It has a crunchy yet delicate texture and also provides an excellent source of vitamin C.
Ideal for the gluten-free diet, rice paper wrappers are dried, semi-translucent sheets used for wrapping grilled meats or tofu, fresh vegetables and herbs. This versatile Southeast Asian inspired recipe is a beautiful and unique way to encase a salad. For added flavor, serve the rice paper rolls with an Asian peanut or chili sauce.
10. Cold Tofu Salad
Tired of mixed green salads? Try adding tofu your diet. This creamy and refreshing cold tofu dish is an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein. It’s also a rich source of isoflavones (plant hormones) that help reduce coronary heart disease and prevent bone loss. Try using silken or soft tofu to maintain the light texture in this dish.
11. Grilled Tandoori Chicken
Indian cuisine has a long culinary tradition of complex and flavorful dishes using liberal amounts of dried spices and aromatics such as ginger and garlic. The earthy spices of turmeric, coriander, cumin and cardamom used in this Indian grilled chicken dish have anti-inflammatory properties and aid in cholesterol reduction. Try making this recipe with fish, shrimp or lamb and remember to add more spices to your diet for flavor, texture – and, most importantly, for health.
12. Sake Braised Wild Mushrooms
This Japanese inspired recipe is for mushroom lovers. The flavor is earthy and the ultimate in umami seasoning. Seasonal wild mushrooms are sautéed and then braised with sweet Japanese rice wine with the liquid used in reconstituting dried mushrooms. An Asian culinary staple, mushrooms are a niacin rich food which helps prevent or delay Alzheimer’s. Try serving this dish with a bowl of steamed rice or tossed with warm soba noodles for a satisfying meal.
So, hopefully I’ve given you a multitude of options for healthy, delicious and Asian inspired eating. Whether you’re in the mood for entrees, vegetables, salads or snacks … meat, seafood, chicken, vegetarian … there’s sure to be something that can add tastiness to your cooking options and help you get off to a great nutritional start for the New Year.
Featured photo courtesy of Farina Kingsley.