Make 2016 the year you treat your taste buds and diet to a round-the-world trip, thanks to these healthy recipe ideas.
I have a bit of a tradition each Christmas, which is to buy a present for myself. Last year I chose a Chinese cookbook called Every Grain of Rice, by Fuchsia Dunlop.
Why this title? I’d read that it was full of recipes with lots of vegetables and just a little bit of meat, mainly to give the food flavour. I thought it would be good for my attempts to eat more greens and live a healthier lifestyle.
And that got me thinking: what other recipes around the world could we Brits use to eat well, try new dishes and stick to a healthier diet?
Yemeni breakfast beans
Everyone loves a good fry-up now and then; loads of baked beans and fried egg and bacon. But why not mix things up with some healthy beans with ful medames? This is a breakfast dish eaten around the Middle East. I’ve made it myself and it’s perfect for a gloomy Sunday in a warm kitchen.
Mexican prawn tacos
Fancy a change to your prawn and calorie-laden mayo sandwich? How about a zesty and refreshing taco? No beans, no cheese, just delicious flavours. There appears to be an avocado craze going on at the moment – they are healthy but also calorific – so perhaps just have a scrape of guacamole for the taste.
Greek pasta salad
Now, pasta can be calorific. But don’t worry about it in this dish – think of it as an extra taste and texture to accentuate the crunchy vegetables. The yogurt is a nice way to add smoothness and creaminess without having to dollop mayo or salad cream on there.
I once had an Albanian TV star at my house; he’s rather like the country’s Jonathan Ross (but without the antics). How’s that for a claim to fame? Unfortunately, he didn’t make me any of this delicious-looking stuffed pepper and rice dish. I think this dish would also work with quinoa and vegetarian mince, for an even healthier meal.
Okinawa, an island off the south of Japan, is famous for its long-lived people. That’s as good a reason as any to try one of their sweet potato puddings. While a purple potato is preferred, I think you could still enjoy this with a regular one, eh? Of course, all puddings are a bit calorific, but I imagine it’s better than one that’s smothered in cream and full of sugar.
Did you know that at formal dinners you traditionally have a savoury course after the sweet? So I think we’ll round off our international menu with a tangy dish to cleanse the palate. I wanted to share one of Dunlop’s recipes with you. I couldn’t find a video, but here’s how she does it:
- Get a green pepper and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Get some firm tofu and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Fry the pepper without oil until it’s almost cooked. Take out of the pan.
- Add the tofu into the pan with some oil. Fry until golden.
- Put the pepper back in with the tofu. Add some light soya and little bit of salt. Swirl around until it’s all hot, then serve and eat.