Spice up St. Paddy’s Day with this Chinese recipe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Spice up St. Paddy’s Day with this Chinese recipe

Jim Romanoff / The Associated Press
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage With Corned Beef is seen in this Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008 photo. The Chinese cooking style of using lots of vegetables with healthy amounts of meat is combined with traditional St. Patrick's Day ingredients in this Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage With Corned Beef. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

The Chinese have got it right when it comes to including meat in a healthy diet. Their secret: more vegetables, less meat.

But to learn from this cuisine, don’t go by what you see on most American Chinese restaurant menus. Meat-heavy dishes such as sweet-and-sour pork and General Tso’s chicken are Western creations.

The typical Chinese diet consists mostly of complex carbohydrates such as vegetables and rice, plus proteins from soy products such as tofu. Meats are used in small amounts, usually for flavoring, and are likely to be the main course only for special occasions.

Western diets, however, tend to be meat-centered, an approach that can contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

The Chinese approach to using meat in cooking is a great way to enjoy meats that are flavorful but fatty or high in sodium. For example, bacon makes an excellent seasoning because of its intense saltiness and deep, smokey flavor.

This recipe for sweet-and-sour cabbage with corned beef borrows many of the elements of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal and makes them into a healthy side dish.

Thin strips of deli-sliced corned beef, which are lean but quite salty, are used to flavor nutrient- and fiber-rich shredded cabbage and carrots. Cider vinegar, coarse Dijon mustard and a bit of brown sugar create a sweet and tangy contrast to the saltiness of the corned beef.

The dish is easy to prepare, but to save even more time, you can use preshredded cabbage (a coleslaw mix) and preshredded or matchstick carrots, which can be found in the produce section of most grocers.

Preparation time, start to finish: 30 minutes (10 minutes active). Makes 6 servings.

1 teaspoon canola oil

4 ounces deli-sliced corned beef, cut into thin strips

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon brown sugar

6 cups shredded green cabbage (about 1 pound)

2 cups shredded carrots

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large, nonstick skillet with a lid, heat oil on medium-high.

Add the corned beef and saute, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the water, vinegar, mustard and brown sugar. Stir to combine.

Add the cabbage and carrots and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Check the vegetables midway through and add more water if necessary.

Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 109 calories; 4 g fat (1 g saturated); 16 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 532 mg sodium.

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