Carbs often get a negative reputation, especially by the weight conscious due to the notion that overstuffing on carbs often lead to an unwanted belly. True as it may be, consuming the right types of carbs can actually reverse the effect and help you lose weight as well as maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The bad ones, better known as refined carbohydrates, are most commonly found in white bread, white rice, sugary cereals and in many of our favourite local hawker dishes. Besides being bad for your weight, consuming too much of these adulterated ingredients can also raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The good news is that working the ‘right’ carbs into your diet can help prevent these health problems. They come in more natural forms such as whole grain wheat bread, fruits and vegetables. And with many healthier options readily available to us, you can even find healthier, wholegrain substitutes for cookies, wraps, and even pasta.
Sure, it ain’t easy; but baby steps. We substitute our carbs slowly but surely. Here are 4 easy recipes that incorporate wholegrain carbs into our everyday home-cooked dishes. We’ve tried them and hey, they actually taste pretty good!
LAKSA FRIED RICE
Fried rice is one of those stay-home dishes that literally anyone can whip up. Just grab whatever leftovers you have in your fridge, some cooked overnight rice and fry it all together. Our laksa fried rice that substitutes regular white rice with brown rice offers both a lip-smacking kick with a myriad of fresh and flavourful ingredients—minus the guilt.
- 1 cup cold brown rice
- 300g fresh prawns
- 1 piece fish cake, sliced
- 100g bean sprouts
- ½ cucumber, grated
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 bunch laksa leaves, chopped
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 50ml low-fat coconut milk
- 2 tsp dried prawns, washed and pat dried
- 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
- 2 tbsp laksa paste
- Pepper to taste
- Green onions, thinly sliced
- Heat canola oil in a wok. Lightly sauté onions until transparent.
- Add dried prawns and fry for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add laksa paste, lemongrass and ½ of the laksa leaves, fry till fragrant.
- Add low-fat coconut milk, mix well. Then add bean sprouts, cucumber, fishcake, and stir-fry with the paste.
- When well incorporated, add prawns, the rest of the laksa leaves, and brown rice. Fry for about 3 minutes or until prawn is just cooked.
- Pour in beaten egg and mix into rice. Cook until rice dries out.
- Add pepper to taste.
- Garnish with green onions.
CHICKEN WHOLEMEAL WRAPS WITH SALSA
Whether you are looking for a quick snack in between meal or simply a healthy lunch to take to work, our chicken wholemeal wraps with salsa will do just the trick!
Nothing beats a hearty grilled chicken and a zesty salsa to brighten it up. And wholemeal wrap has this earthy taste, making it so much nicer than regular wraps!
- Wholemeal wraps, 1 packet (8 pieces)
- Chicken breasts (skinless, deboned), 2 medium
- Eggs, 2 medium
- Lettuce, ½ head
- Red pepper (cored and sliced), 1 medium
- Tomato (sliced), 2 medium
- Carrots (cut into thin strips), 1 medium
- Cucumber (cut into thin strips), 1 medium
- Olive oil, 1 teaspoon
- Pepper, a dash
- Salt, a pinch
- Tomato, cubed, 1 cup
- Red chilli, seeds removed, 1 medium
- Lemon juice, 2 tablespoons
- Coriander, chopped finely, ½ cup
- Marinade for chicken
- Sesame oil, 1 teaspoon
- Ginger juice, 2 tablespoons
- Soy sauce, 1 teaspoon
- Pepper, a dash
- In a bowl, mix the chicken breasts with the marinade. Leave aside in the fridge for an hour.
- In a container, mix together all the ingredients for the salsa. Cover the lid and leave aside in the fridge.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs together with a dash of pepper and a pinch of salt. Heat a non-stick pan with half a teaspoon of oil, and fry the omelette until golden brown. Let it cool and then slice thinly. Set aside.
- Using the same non-stick pan, heat up the rest of the oil. Add the chicken breasts and cook over a low fire until cooked. Let it cool and then slice thinly. Set aside.
- Warm up the wholemeal wraps one at a time in a microwave oven or grill, over low heat until warm.
- Place one wrap on a large round plate. Spread out the sliced vegetables, sliced chicken and omelette, followed by a tablespoon of avocado mango salsa. Roll the wrap tightly from one end to the other, and tuck in one side. Repeat for the rest of the wraps. Serve immediately.
FRIED BEE HOON CHICKEN BOLOGNESE
East meets West in this oddly satisfying dish that comprises Asian-style fried bee hoon and an Italian-inspired chicken bolognese ladled over top. Believe us when we say, the combination works!
The cherry on top? It doesn’t cost much to prepare this dish!
- 1pkt brown rice bee hoon
- 600g minced chicken
- 100g celery – chopped
- 100g carrot – chopped
- 100g onion – chopped
- 20g garlic
- 30ml olive oil
- 2tbsp HCS soya sauce
- 300g HCS tomato sauce
- 1litre chicken stock
- Salt, sugar and pepper to taste
- Soak brown rice bee hoon till soft, drain and cut.
- Heat pan with oil and fry bee hoon with soya sauce. Transfer to a serving plate.
- Heat oil and fry garlic with minced chicken till dry.
- Put in other chopped vegetables.
- Add tomato sauce.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to boil.
- Simmer for 20mins and season to taste.
- Thicken sauce with cornstarch.
- Pour bolognese sauce over bee hoon.
A popular Malay breakfast item, mee rebus is something that we absolutely love to begin our mornings with. The only downside to it is that eating it too often is incredibly unhealthy.
With our healthier rendition that does not skimp on flavour, you can enjoy mee rebus as often as you like.
- 150g onion, large, red
- 40g garlic
- 30g ginger
- 1.5cm lengkuas (galangal/blue ginger)
- 1.5cm Kunyit hidup (or ½ tsp turmeric powder)
- 20g dried chilli, pre-soaked
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 40g dried shrimp
- 2-3 tbsp water (Grind all the above ingredients together)
- 3 tbsp briyani powder (or curry powder)
- 100g tau cheo (preserved soya bean paste), ground
- 2 tbsp peanuts, pounded
- 2-3 tbsp plain flour / sweet potato flour
- 1.2L water (Mix well)
- 3 tbsp healthier choice oil
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2g salt
- 600g wholegrain yellow noodles
- 300g bean sprouts
- 3 eggs, hard-boiled
- 2 stalks Chinese celery leaf
- 2 stalks spring onion, diced
- 5 pieces green chilli, diced
- 6 limes, cut into half
- 3 cubes tau pok, cut into half
- 3 tsp fried onion (optional)
- Heat oil with medium fire in a wok. Add and stir-fry the grounded ingredients (1) till fragrant. Add in ingredients (2), and continue frying. Lastly, add in ingredients (3) to make gravy. Bring to boil.
- Stir in the sugar and bring to boil. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Blanch yellow wholegrain noodles and bean sprouts in boiling water. Drain well.
- Put noodles and bean sprouts in serving bowls.
- Pour gravy on top of noodles, add garnishes, and serve hot.
This post is brought to you by Health Promotion Board.