Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Satisfy Chinese takeout craving with Kung Pao Cod

Kung Pao Cod will satisfy your craving for Chinese food. Using pan-seared cod reduces calories and fat.

Associated Press

Kung Pao Cod will satisfy your craving for Chinese food. Using pan-seared cod reduces calories and fat.

Eating healthy doesn't mean there isn't room for occasional treats like Chinese takeout or a drive-through for our favorite one-of-a-kind cheeseburger. As long as we keep these kinds of meals reserved for true cravings, not convenience, then I can probably keep our healthy eating in check.

For regular weeknights, building up a repertoire of fast, tasty and healthy versions of the family's favorite dishes is the best strategy to avoid ordering fast food simply because I'm so hungry I no longer care what I eat as long as it's quick. (Nothing worse than scarfing down a pizza that I didn't truly enjoy!)

What if there was a way to incorporate some of these drool-worthy indulgences into a normal weeknight menu? Kung Pao Cod scratches the itch of the Chinese takeout craving, but for a fraction of the calories, fat and cost. I keep the main flavors of traditional Kung Pao, but swap out fried chicken or shrimp for pan-seared cod, which means lots of protein comes with healthier fat. I keep the cod in whole fillet form, which means the fish stays together better, and no time is lost on cubing meat. I pan-sear the fillets and then pour the sauce over the fish just before serving. The mild fish takes on the complex flavors readily, even without the typical marinating of Kung Pao.

To add even more nutrients, I bulk up the dish with quick-cooking and healthy mushrooms and peppers. And the sauce is simplified to save time: I whisk all the ingredients into one bowl and dump it all at once into the pan, cooking it only for a minute or so. Small tweaks make this recipe weeknight-speedy and weeknight-healthy, too.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."

KUNG PAO COD

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

6 fillets of cod, or other firm fish, about 2 pounds total

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons neutral oil, like grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced

¾ cup thinly sliced bell pepper (red, orange or yellow preferred)

½ cup unsalted peanuts, shelled

½ cup chopped green onion

Cilantro leaves for garnish, optional

For the sauce:

cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

cup water

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ to ½ teaspoon (to taste) red pepper flakes (or Szechuan seasoning or chili paste)

Heat a large nonstick saute pan on medium-high heat. On a cutting board or plate, drizzle a tablespoon of soy sauce over both sides of the cod fillets and gently pat away the excess with a paper towel. Sprinkle the cornstarch over both sides of the fish and gently pat away or brush away any excess. (They should barely be dusted with cornstarch.) Place the neutral oil in the pan and, once hot, cook the cod just until golden brown and cooked through, turning once, about 4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Remove cod from heat and set aside on a warm plate. Add the sesame oil, mushrooms and sliced peppers to the pan and cook 1 or 2 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add the peanuts and half of the green onion and cook another minute.

Pour all of the sauce ingredients from the bowl into the pan. It will thicken almost immediately. Stir and remove from heat. Spoon the Kung Pao sauce over the fish to serve, and sprinkle with remaining green onion and cilantro, if using.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 202 calories (47 calories from fat), 5g fat (1g saturated, 0g trans fats), 65mg cholesterol, 318mg sodium, 8g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 4g sugar, 31g protein.

Satisfy Chinese takeout craving with Kung Pao Cod 10/12/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:34am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mistmatches

    Lightning Strikes

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  2. Editorial: A neighborhood under attack unites

    Editorials

    Three murders in two weeks understandably have Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood on edge. But Tampa police and residents are working together to find the killer and are connecting in ways that will strengthen the community in the long run. This is the best reaction to the tragedy of the three deaths, and it should …

    Seminole Heights residents came together in a candlelight vigil Sunday night to pay respect to the families and to demonstrate that they will not be cowed into staying indoors.
  3. Students at middle school pretend to rape black classmates on Snapchat

    Nation

    The Snapchat had just about every offensive topic the middle school students could cram into a video clip: race-based simulated sexual assaults, profanity-laced slurs and repulsive language that shocked whoever the intended audience was - and, eventually, many more people.

    Students at a Virginia middle school pretended to rape other students on video, which was shared on Snapchat. Reports say white members of a football team enacted the rape scenes while in the locker room. This photo of a standard locker room is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
  4. Seminole Heights restaurants face struggles amid killings, post-Irma

    Food & Dining

    SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — The neighborhood's hip circle of popular, well-regarded restaurants is feeling the squeeze in the wake of a recent killing spree. And the timing is rough.

    Ella's American Folk Art Cafe. Times files
  5. St. Pete-Clearwater holding food, supply drive for hurricane refugees

    Airlines

    CLEARWATER — St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Allegiant Air are holding a food and supply drive for the Hispanic Outreach Center in Pinellas County. The event, which will benefit refugees displaced by Hurricane Maria, will be held Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the airport at 14700 Terminal Blvd.

    St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Allegiant Air are hosting a food and supplies drive Tuesday for refugees displaced by Hurricane Maria. | [Times file photo]