Friday, November 21, 2014

Japanese Spaghetti Napolitan

Revisiting my favourite Japanese food category of Yōshoku yet again :)

It is a fascinating Japan-ised form of Western and European cooking.

I have previously traversed the Yōshoku road and made Doria (yummy baked rice gratin - French) and Nikujaga (a glorified mince n tatties rendition - Scottish/UK). And they were both as scrummy as can be.

In today's case, its an Italian inspired dish called Naporitan (actually Napolitan but localised with "r" instead of "l"... Just love that !). 

Here's a little Wikipedia tidbit on the history of Spaghetti Napolitan :

It was created by Shigetada Irie (入江茂忠), the general chef of the New Grand Hotel (Hotel New Grand) in Yokohama, when he was inspired by one of the military rations of GHQ, which was spaghetti mixed with tomato ketchup.

I had never tasted this style of pasta before but my goodness... It's so delicious.

Onions, bell peppers, fresh sausages and fresh mushrooms are flash-fried with pasta and flavoured with the umami combo of ketchup, Tonkatsu sauce (or just use HP sauce - tastes the same) and a splash of cream.

Quite, quite moreish. Mmmm :)

 There is a hoard of Naporitan/Napolitan pasta recipes out there but I chose this especially delectable one. As I have never tasted this dish prior to cooking it, for my first try I followed the recipe to a tee.

Delicious !

But, for good eating and good health's sake I have adjusted it a teeny bit.

This is an easy pasta dish to cook at home. And it tickles me to no end that it's a Yōshoku creation - adding that extra little spice and oomph to every fork-twirling bite.

Spaghetti Napolitan
Reproduced without permission from Just Hungry
Serves 2-3

150g / about 5 oz. dry spaghetti (please choose wholewheat)
4 fresh sausages (I used chicken)
1 large sweet pepper (use a trio of pepper colours for a more festive looking dish)
5-6 fresh button mushrooms
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
1/3 cup low sodium ketchup
3 tbsp Tonkatsu sauce or HP sauce
3 tbsp low fat sour cream
Black pepper

1. Boil the spaghetti while you’re cooking the other ingredients in plenty of salted water. Stop at the al dente stage as this helps ensure that you minimise the GI from going higher. Strain and rinse under tap water to halt the cooking process. Set aside.
2. Slice the onion, pepper and mushrooms thinly.
3. Steam, bake or roast the fresh sausages and let cool. Slice the sausages in thin, diagonal slices.
4. Heat up a wok or large frying pan with the oil. Sauté the onion only briefly then add the peppers and mushrooms. Sauté for 15 seconds or so. Add the sausage slices and mix til incorporated. Add a dash of black pepper.
5. Combine the ketchup, Tonkatsu sauce and sour cream in a small bowl.
6. Add the spaghetti to the pan. Add the sauce mixture and toss well to combine. Sauté for a few minutes till thoroughly heated through.
7. Plate and serve immediately, topped with a little grated parmesan.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Foods that cause belly fat

The info below is compiled from here, here and here.

Made this blog post up as a reminder for me as well as for anyone out there who wants to  know :) 

1. Refined sugar - Carbonated drinks, table sugar, sweetened fruit juices, bottled iced teas and coffees, coffee sweeteners, sugar-coated cereals, energy or sports drinks, candy.

2.   Trans fat - Fast foods. Commercially prepared baked items such as crackers, cakes, pies, cookies, energy bars, cupcakes, croissants, doughnuts, pastries and breads. Snack pies and cakes, potato chips, butter-flavored pre--popped corn, cheese corn, tortilla chips, prepackaged foods. Gravy mixes, boxed cereals, boxed foods, canned pasta, pasta mixes, canned foods, packaged sauces, pizzas, frozen entrees, frozen bread dough and deli foods.

3. Salt - Too much sodium can cause your body to retain excess water weight, making it hard to achieve a flat midsection. Aim to keep sodium intake to less than 2,000 mg per day.

4. Full fat dairy - Milk (I love milk and would never do without. So thank the Lord for low fat and skim), cream, butter, hard and soft cheeses, yogurt and frozen dairy products. Cream based sauces, soups and gravies made with whole milk.

5.  Saturated fat - Beef, lamb, chicken (except for breasts I guess), poultry, veal and pork. Sausage, jerky, bacon, luncheon meats, kidneys, liver, heart, gizzards, spleen.

And, practise the three below :

1. Get sufficient sleep on a daily basis - 8 hours minimum

2. Sweat it up a few times a week - Join a programme that has any kind of high intensity interval training (HIIT)

3. Bulk up on magnesium - Reduces fluid retention aka tummy flattener. 320mg supplements for women over 30. Alternatively go at it naturally and eat more nuts, green leafy veg and beans.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A helpful note on healthy carbohydrates (for weight loss and weight maintenance)

I don't remember how I managed to find this, but if you type in similar keywords no doubt hundreds of the same guide will pop up in Google Image. 

I have stuck to this one, though, and it's well proven - I'm now on my desired weight, I'm very happy with my physique, I feel light and strong. 

So please print this out and stick it on your fridge, at your work station, wherever - as a great reminder that one can still incorporate heavenly carbo into daily diet - just keep 'em healthy types.