How good is Nasi Goreng and fried rice?! The problem is commercially made ones are usually dripping in unhealthy oils, have added sugars in the sauce and generally don’t contain many good nutrients. Also be aware if you are gluten intolerant like me, as artificial soy sauces can contain gluten (alternatives are naturally brewed & fermented soy which causes breakdown of gluten or gluten free Tamari). So here is a healthy, protein and vegetable packed, nutrient dense (& gluten free) version of a delicious favourite!
When I eat I am quite mindful of ensuring I am fuelling and nourishing my body with essential micronutrients (i.e. vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants). I think too much emphasis is often placed in simply thinking about macros (protein, carbs, fats). Sure this is also important if you are for example trying to lose weight or build muscle but if you think macros are all that matters you are truly missing out! It’s not only vegetables that provide micronutrients but also herbs and spices, which all have health promoting benefits (that’s what using food as medicine is all about). Here’s why:-
Health promoting benefits
- Shiitake mushrooms – considered “medicinal”; when it comes to using food as medicine, shiitake (and reishi and maitake) mushrooms are some of the highest health promoting therapeutic foods. They are rich in B vitamins (pantothenic acid, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, niacin, choline, and folate), a very good source of minerals selenium, copper, iron, zinc, and a good source of manganese. They provide a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin D (in the D2 form – essential for maintaining blood calcium balance and thus bone mineral density), and a wide variety of unique phytonutrients. Shiitake mushrooms support immune function and have anti-cancer properties. They protect against cardiovascular disease by preventing immune cells from binding to blood vessel lining (which can cause atherosclerosis), as well as contain beta-glucans (like oats) contributing to their cholesterol-lowering impact. Mushrooms should be included in vegan and vegetarian diets.
- Ginger – commonly used as a natural way to treat gastrointestinal distress, nausea and vomiting (great news for pregnant women) as it relaxes and soothes the GI tract. Ginger can be used to help colds and flus as it warms the body and promotes healthy sweating to aid detoxification. Ginger also contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Garlic – contain powerful sulfur-compounds that are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Garlic supports cardiovascular health by keeping blood pressure under control. Garlic contains selenium, a powerful antioxidant, as well as compounds that can aid iron absorption and improve iron metabolism (another great reason for vegetarians and vegans to eat them).
RECIPE (serves 4)
- 3c cooked brown or brown basmati rice (about 1.5c uncooked rice)
- 4 free range eggs, soft boiled (or poached or fried – your choice)
- 8 shallots/spring onion
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 x 4cm piece ginger, chopped in matchsticks
- 2 red chillis, sliced
- 1 large bunch Asian greens (Chinese broocoli, Gai Larn, Bok Choy etc.), chopped with leafy part separate
- 150g (1 pack) baby corn, halved
- 150g Shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 100g Swiss Brown mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 c packed fresh coriander, chopped
- 2 tbls coconut oil (or sesame or peanut oil for a more traditional flavour)
- 3-4 tbls Tamari (GF soy sauce)
- 1 tbls organic honey
- 1 lime
- Cook rice in a rice cooker according to instructions. Soft boil/poach eggs and set aside (if frying you can do this step last and add on top).
- Stir fry shallots, garlic, ginger and chilli in 1 tablespoon coconut oil for a few mins until golden and fragrant. Then set aside in a bowl
- Stir fry baby corn and stalk part of Asian greens (leave leafy parts out for now) in 1 tablespoon coconut oil for 5 mins until golden. Add in mushrooms and stir fry for a further few mins until mushrooms are browned.
- Add cooked rice and shallot mixture to the vegetables. Drizzle honey and tamari over it and squeeze half a lime over it. Stir fry until sauce mixes through and rice begins to crisp.
- Serve up in bowls topped with an egg and a little extra fresh chilli and coriander (optional).
Tip: it’s also delish topped with a little Sriracha chilli sauce if you like it hot!