Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Makeover: Pineapple Curry of Mussels

Welcome to Thailand!

Pineapple Curry of Mussels sounds like it would be pretty healthy, right? We've got mussels instead of the higher fat meats that we've been seeing in the other recipes, and pineapples are good for you... However, this recipe is a wolf in sheep's clothing. There is SO much full-fat coconut milk and coconut cream in it, that it weighs in at 536 calories per serving and 38 grams of fat, 22 of which is saturated! Top that off with 1210 mg of sodium (about what you need in an entire day). YIKES!

Lesson learned: When you're going out to eat, you might want to avoid the dishes that are made with coconut milk - likely they are not using the light version like we are going to do.

The Makeover of the week transforms this Pineapple Curry of Mussels to a Pineapple Vegan Curry - much more healthy, and if you are a fan of pineapples like I am - wow, is it delicious.

The highlights per serving:
158 calories
4.5 g of fat (3 is saturated)
389 mg of sodium (I used a store-bought seitan. If you need to lower your sodium even more, you can use tofu or make your own seitan.)
and you still get 12.6 g of protein

Delicious and quick. Although, I did have to buy some extra ingredients to make this curry... I found them all at Whole Foods in the Asian foods section, or you can probably buy them at an Asian supermarket.

Pineapple Vegan Curry


  • 1 can LIGHT coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp sucanat (This like a raw brown sugar with the molasses still in. It would be the equivalent of brown sugar if brown sugar wasn't just white sugar with brown food coloring.)
  • 2 tsp tamarind concentrate mixed with 1/4 c water
  • 1.5 cups finely chopped pineapple
  • 1 package seitan chopped (or you can use a package of firm tofu, chopped)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut in thirds, discarding the woody ends
  • 1 yellow squash, diced

(FYI about chilis - I'm not picky at all about chilis, probably because I don't know enough about them, but I'm happy to just pick whatever combination of spicy/medium-spice chilis are available. It seems to work for me!)
  • 1 tbsp kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 red fresco chilis
  • 1 serrano chili
  • 2.5 tbsp chopped galangal (bought it pre-minced at Whole Foods because they didn't have it fresh. If you can't find it, you can use ginger instead.)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp cilantro, chopped
  • 5 tbsp chopped lemongrass
  1. Put all the ingredients for the paste in a blender or food processor and mix until blended.
  2. In a saucepan on the stove, heat 1/4 c of the paste and 1/4 c of the coconut milk for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stir occasionally.
  3. Store the rest of the paste in the freezer for the next time you make this curry.
  4. Add the sucanat and tamarind water. Heat for 1 minute.
  5. Add the rest of the coconut milk, pineapple, seitan/tofu, asparagus, yellow squash. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Check occasionally and stir so it doesn't stick to the bottom.
  6. Take off the cover and cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
PS - This isn't a very spicy curry. If you want it spicer, you can use hotter chilis, or more chilis, or more paste in the first step.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Makeover: Duck Breasts in Balinese Spices...

Pull out the spices! This recipe makeover uses the inspiration of a Bali dish, to make a healthier, vegan-ier option with tofu or seitan, kale, and green beans.

What is so fun about this project for me, is that it really shows how just by changing a couple ingredients and adding veggies, you can turn around just about any recipe to reduce the calories, increase the vitamins, minerals, and decrease the fat. AND it's still delicious. Not only that, but I think these vegan/vegetarian dishes are easier to make too... they take much less time and are likely less expensive. Does anyone know how much duck breasts with the skin cost?

Ok, so here's what you get and what you lose in this week's Vegan "Curry" in Balinese Spices...
  • 142 calories per serving... Not 404
  • 9 g fat per serving (4 g saturated fat)... Not 27 (16 g saturated)
  • No cholesterol... you get 120.5 mg with the duck version
  • 49 mg sodium... Not 516 mg (I cut out 1 teaspoon of salt)
  • 413% of your daily amount of vitamin A (Go Kale!)
  • 115% of your daily amount of vitamin C
  • 45% of your daily amount of calcium!!! (Go Kale!)... This is important, because people tend to believe that dairy is your only good source of calcium.
  • 22% of your daily amount of iron
  • 76% of your daily amount of manganese
Vegan "Curry" in Balinese Spices

  1. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 1 tsp ground turmeric
  4. 3 tbsp lime juice
  5. 3 cloves
  6. 2 green cardamoms
  7. 1 tsp cinnamon
  8. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  9. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  10. 1 tsp chili powder
  11. 1" slice of ginger, minced
  12. 1 can LIGHT coconut milk
  13. 1 container of firm tofu or seitan
  14. ~4 cups string beans, cut in half with the ends taken off (~3 cups after cut)
  15. 1 large bunch of kale (mine probably made about 7 cups chopped, it was huge)
  16. 1 medium tomato, diced
  17. 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
  1. In a food processor or blender, blend chili powder and ingredients # 1 - 10 with 1/4 cup water.
  2. Add to a sauce pan, and add 1/4 c coconut milk.
  3. Cook for a couple minutes on medium heat, stirring to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom or burns.
  4. Add the tofu or seitan and remove from the heat.
  5. Let it sit there, while you tear the kale into chunks (size isn't important) and discard the stems. Also, cut the green beans now if you haven't already.
  6. Add the green beans and the rest of the coconut milk to the saucepan. Put it on medium heat and cover. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. When the green beans are almost done, add the kale, tomato, and sunflower seeds. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  8. Serve with brown rice and enjoy!