Chinese food has become an ethnic staple in the American diet. There is something satisfying, and inherently comforting, about Chinese food, and recently, chefs preparing Chinese dishes have raised the bar when it comes to ingredients and creating unique flavor profiles. These chefs have elevated Chinese cuisine into a total dining experience that tantalizes all the senses and moves food preparation almost to the level of art.
The Problems With Take-Out
However, Chinese food, especially the take-out version that is common in most cities and towns, despite being delicious, is often far from healthy. The problem with Chinese take-out is that it is often high in sodium. The sauces of certain dishes are made with thickeners or stabilizers that, for pregnant women, lead to fluid retention or gastrointestinal discomforts like gas, bloating, or diarrhea.
Further, most of the appetizers and most of the entrees are fried or cooked in bulk, then reheated and tossed with a sauce depending on the dish ordered. Since the hallmark of Chinese take out food is delivering good food in a short amount of time, most dishes are typically heated by frying or sautéing them a second time in additional oil then combining with a sauce or topping.
Cooking Your Own Chinese Food
The flavors of Chinese, and other Asian cooking, are unique. Asian restaurants are not common in every city or town, so I found a way to bring those Asian-inspired flavors to my own kitchen without having to add in sodium or other preservatives.
Beef and broccoli is a traditional Chinese dish that can be healthy if the right cuts of meat are used and the sauce is made fresh. My beef and broccoli dish is lower in sodium, full of fiber thanks to the broccoli, and lower in fat. My recipe uses corn starch to build a thicker sauce instead of things like MSG (monosodium glutamate) and low sodium soy sauce that is available in most grocery stores. I also use brown rice instead of white rice to add extra fiber and flavor.
Plus, once all the prep work is done, this dish is ready in about 10 to 15 minutes and tastes better than your local take-out restaurant!
Beef & Broccoli
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound boneless chuck steak, cut into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- Prepare the coating: In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, water, and garlic powder until smooth.
- Add the beef strips to the coating mixture. Toss to coat.
- In a large skillet (or wok) over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and stir fry the beef until cooked, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and keep warm.
- In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the broccoli and onion until cooked, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Return the beef to the skillet.
- Prepare the sauce: Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to the skillet.
- Cook and stir beef and broccoli in sauce 2-3 minutes.
- Serve over brown rice.
Note: Use any leftover rice to make Rice Pudding!