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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vegetarian "Fried Rice" and Broccoli & Bok Choy: How I Learned to Live Without Take-Out, Part 3

I remember a time when Chinese food and pizza was pretty much all that was available for food delivery service and take-away. Now, if you live in a fairly metropolitan area, you can find a wide variety of restaurants representing food cultures from all around the globe, and many of them have take-away and/or delivery service. Thanks to the internet, ordering food online has become de rigueur and restaurants that normally wouldn't provide delivery can now use the option of a food courier service.  And with all the variety available, the majority of restaurants available for take-out with delivery seem to be Chinese.

When I first began to experience the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia (namely, chronic pain and exhaustion), I relied heavily on food delivery. I didn't have the energy to cook or wash dishes, so I ate of lot of prepared food. I used to get most of my groceries delivered and many of my meals from restaurants that provided delivery service.

One of the staples of my pre-low-carb-whole-food diet was Chinese take-out.  My favorites were vegetable fried rice, garlic eggplant, dry-cooked string beans, and spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce. Once I started doing low carb, my days of overdosing on cornstarch, grease, and MSG were over. I was able to find a few low carb recipes that satisfied my desire for that particular taste. As a general rule I don't eat soy (or flaxseed) products, as they contain phytoestrogens, but fermented products like soy sauce are supposed to be ok. And fortunately, with the currant awareness about gluten-sensitivity and celiac disease, it's fairly easy to find gluten-free soy sauce these days.

Aa I mentioned in my previous post about Indian food, one of the many things I used to dislike about Chinese take-out was the rice. Don't get me wrong - I love rice. It just doesn't love me. Every time I ate rice, I felt bloated, with a thick lump of starch like a stone in my digestive tract. I had no trouble giving it up when I began low carb and I much prefer cauliflower rice. It's considerably lighter fare, and my stomach has a much better time digesting it. By using gluten free soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions and fresh garlic, I was able to create a "fried rice" dish. While it may not taste exactly like traditional fried rice, it does satisfy my desire for that particular taste. If you're going to use sesame oil,  it's important to know that it needs to be refrigerated - it goes rancid pretty easily and is often packaged in smaller bottles to keep spoilage to a minimum.

Vegetable "Fried Rice"


1/2 T sesame oil
1 clove garlic, forced through press
2 oz bell peper, diced
10 g green onion (about 2 shoots), thinly sliced (about 2 T)
1 stalk celery (about 62g/3 oz), washed, trimmed, and using a vegetable peeler, strip the outside of the stalk.
100 g raw cauliflower, grated (use the one with the large holes)
1/2 T gluten-free soy sauce
sea salt, to taste


1 egg, well-beaten


*Heat the oil in a medium-sized non-stick skillet over a medium-high heat.  Add the bell pepper, celery, and half of the green onions and sauté for 1 - 2 minutes.

*Add the garlic and cauliflower and blend and sauté, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes until cauliflower is tender. Turn off the burner and add the soy sauce and salt to taste, and stir mixture until well blended. Garnish with the remaining green onion.

Makes 1 serving and has 127.7 cal, 6.33 net carbs, 7.02 g fat, 5.55 g fiber and 2.83 g protein.

Variation with egg:

I'm not crazy about fried rice with egg, but if you want to use egg, follow the above instructions up until the part where you add the soy sauce and salt. After turing off the burner, use a spatula to move the vegetable mixture to one side of the pan, creating a space. Pour the beaten egg into that space and allow to cook for about 30 seconds. Then blend the egg and the vegetable mixture together until the egg is cooked to your desired consistency. Add the soy sauce and salt to taste and garnish with the remaining green onions.

Makes 1 serving and has 197.7 cal, 6.33 net carbs, 11.52 g fat, 5.55 g fiber and 8.83 g protein.

Broccoli & Bok Choy

Broccoli and bok choy is a fairly common pairing in Asian cuisine. Bok Choy (sometimes referred to as pak choi or just plain Chinese cabbage) is a pretty amazing vegetable. It's a cruciferous vegetable, being a member of the cabbage family and it's relatively low in calories, carbs, and has no fat. Bok Choy is an excellent source of the anti-oxidant vitamins C, A, and K. It aslo contains the following minerals: calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, magnesium and phosphorous. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, nutritionally  dense with folates, fiber, calcium and ascorbic acid. To give it a more  authentic flavor, I use sesame oil, fresh ginger, and gluten-free soy sauce.


1/4 C mushroom broth
1 T sesame oil
2.5 oz baby bok choy
3 oz broccoli florets
1 clove garlic, force through press
1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 T gluten-free soy sauce
sea salt, to taste


*Trim bok choy, separating the leaves from the stalks. Bring the mushroom broth to a  gentle boil in a medium sized non-stick skillet over a medium-high heat and add the broccoli florets and the bok choy stalks.

*Cover and simmer for about 4 minutes over a medium-low heat. Uncover and cook until liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and add the bok choy leaves, garlic and sesame oil. Return to the burner and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and add the ginger and soy sauce, tossing thoroughly. Serve over cauliflower rice.

Serves 1 and has 172.01 cal, 6.13 net carbs, 14 g fat, 3.96 g fiber and 4.05 g protein.

Cauliflower Rice


100 g raw cauliflower
1/2 tsp  sesame oil


*Grate the cauliflower using the largest holes on your cheese grater.

*Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring constantly until cauliflower is soft and starting to get a little toasty, approximately 3 - 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Makes 1 serving and has 85 cal, 2 net carbs, 7 g fat, 3 g fiber and 2 g protein.