Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Your Secret Ingredient Dining-Out Guide: Sake it to me

As some of you may know, I spend a lot of time in Mexico City. The last time I was there, I did something that really surprised me- I ordered sushi at the mall food court- yes, I’m sorry to admit that it’s true! That’s how much I love sushi (and miss it when I can’t find it on each and every city block), but more importantly…

Why Have You Done a Good Thing?

Sushi is the perfect cuisine for so many different occasions. Getting together with the girls, ordering in solo, or a cocktail party! Sushi can be filled with the heart-healthy, triglyceride-lowering, nail/hair growth promoting omega 3’s and monounsaturated fats. It can also be a terrific source of lean protein, whole grains, and fiber. Here’s how to make the best of sushi night.

1. Start with the edamame. Take that “I’m starving” edge off with some fiber and protein-filled soybeans.

2. Appetizer

  • Think salads (ginger dressing on the side and use sparingly), steamed dumplings, tar-tar, ceviche, fish (miso black cod is a favorite of mine), and skewers (meat and/or veggie).
  • Try not to order traditional fried dumplings and anything with the words “tempura” or “crispy”- that means deep-fried.

3. Main Course

  • Think sashimi (raw fish) or a mixture of sashimi and sushi (raw fish over rice), including some fatty fishes like salmon or tuna; brown rice rolls (whole grains) with fillings of fish, avocado, and vegetables, “teriyaki dinners” with chicken or fish- sauce on the side to save on sugar and sodium!
  • Avoid the roll fillings “crunch” or “tempura flakes” (fried) and cream cheese- like in Philadelphia rolls to save on saturated fats. Know that when you see “spicy” it means mayonnaise! But hey, who doesn’t like spicy tuna? I do. So let’s say only order 1 of those rolls.
  • In terms of soy sauce- definitely stick to low-sodium! And even so, you wouldn’t believe
  • the amount of salt it still has- 500-700mg per 1 T serving (up to ~30% of your daily recommended intake). Imagine if you have 2 or even 3 tablespoons? That’s enough sodium for the entire day! SO, look for the bottle with the green top, and pour out 1 T of soy sauce into the little dish and make it last! It can really help to dip the chopsticks into the soy sauce and then putting it on the sushi rather than dipping the whole thing in, which allows it to soak up that salt.

4. Drinks - Think light beer & sake. If you followed the above rules there is no reason why you can’t indulge in a glass of sake or a cold light beer (in moderation, of course- and instead of dessert!) I love unfiltered sake like Nigori- why not give it a try!

Sushi in a Lunchbox?

Did you know that sushi rolls make a great packed lunch. Send your kids to school with a veggie-filled roll, the perfect finger food that will stay fresh in a lunchbox. They are also easy to eat, making it a good for you work-o-holics who don’t stop for a lunch break.

And the best part? It is so simple to make at home! All you need is some seaweed, which can be found at almost every supermarket and specialty food store, and a bamboo sushi roller, which is pretty cheap, and can be found at any kitchen supply store, such as Gourmet Garage, Broadway Panhandler, Chef Central, etc.

Check out this sushi rice recipe from Alton Brown- so simple! Fill your rolls with whatever you have lying around the house, who said sushi is only raw fish? Be creative and enjoy!

Look out for other Your Secret Ingredient Guides to Dining-Out as part of a new series! Want a specific type of restaurant? Let us know about it!

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

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