Healthy CNY Recipes
Christmas and New Years’ just passed not long ago, and it’s time to feast again! As Chinese New Year festivities start rolling in, we can’t wait to start on our reunion dinners and CNY goodies. It’s important to enjoy yourself and not fixate on counting calories, so here we have 6 tips on how to make your CNY meals effortlessly healthier.
Try our tips in tandem with the suggested recipes for a delicious, less-guilty meal that everyone can enjoy:
1. Steam Your Seafood Dishes
Seafood is a staple on every reunion dinner table, and steaming helps to highlight the freshness and let the star ingredient speak for itself. It’s also a healthier option as it reduces the oil used and retains the nutrients in the food. That said, steamed seafood isn’t limited to fish (though it is a great option!).
For example, this steamed scallops and glass noodles recipe is a delicious addition to your CNY meal. The natural sweetness of the scallops, paired with just some light soy sauce and fragrant garlic will give restaurants a run for their money.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Serves 4.
2. Add a Wholesome Soup to the Menu
A wholesome soup is a great way to deliver amazing flavour while minimising the added fats. It’s warm, comforting, and also a fast and easy way to sneak more nutrients into your CNY diet.
This flavourful hot and sour soup recipe features white tofu and many nutritious ingredients like pork tenderloin and black fungus — definitely a soup worth trying. Best paired with a warm bowl of brown rice for an even healthier edge.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes. Serves 6.
3. Make Vegetarian Dishes Shine
It’s no secret that vegetables are good for you, but on a special occasion like CNY, simple veggie dishes can feel out of place on the dinner table that’s piled with luxurious meats. To keep your family (and yourself) reaching for the veggies, why not have a show stopping all-veggie dish?
For a versatile vegetable dish that will please everyone, try our Luo Han Zhai recipe. You can add everyone’s favourite ingredients into the dish like chinese cabbage, carrots and even tofu puff for the extra crunch. This recipe tastes and looks beautiful, and will have people coming for seconds.
Preparation Time: 45 minutes. Serves 4.
4. Find Alternative Cooking Styles
Some CNY staple dishes we can’t do without, but there are ways to make them healthier. One way to beat that is to try new, healthier ways of cooking with the same ingredients.
For example, for a healthier alternative to the classic roasted duck, this flavourful, umami packed soup might just be the right choice for you. The duck flavours are still the star, but this time it’s a healthier option. It’s very yummy too — think tender and succulent duck meat combined with intense flavours from the preserved mustard greens.
Preparation Time: 1hour 30 mins. Serves 4.
5. Pile on Nutrient-Rich Foods
An easy way to make your meals healthier is to choose recipes that feature nutrient-packed food. The vitamins and nutrients are true “goodies”!
One simple dish that you can try, for example, is this chilled tofu with century egg recipe. Century egg is packed with nutrients like protein, iron and Vitamin D, making it an excellent choice for a healthy appetiser when compared to the usual spring rolls or chicken wings. It’s also a fast dish to make. Simply prepare 1 block of tofu, century eggs and some garnishes and you’ll have a delicious and refreshing dish ready in less than 20 minutes.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes. Serves 2.
6. Stick with the Steamed Fish
If you’re all out of ideas, we’ve got a hack — stick with the steamed fish! It’s one of the healthiest CNY dishes that is not just healthy, but also beloved by many around the table. In fact, ask your parents or grandparents, and they might share how it actually symbolises prosperity in Chinese culture.
What’s more, like cod fish as featured in this recipe, fish is a healthier source of fats. Simply top it off with garlic, ginger and a soy-based sauce of your choice and it will be ready to serve.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Serves 4.
Healthy CNY Dishes
The saying goes “health is wealth”, and we couldn’t agree more. You can make CNY dishes a little healthier this year by trying out these tips. If you have tried these tips or have your own creations, do share with us on the Meatmen FB Cooking Community or leave a comment down below. Stay healthy and safe this Chinese New Year!
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