Comfort Food Asian-Style

Written by Aimee L Frantzen

When I was a kid we would go over to my grandparents house every Sunday night. My mom has a sister and two brothers, all of whom would be there with their families. My cousins, my brother, and I would run around playing all afternoon and then at night we would all sit down to a big family-style dinner. When the weather was nice my grandfather would grill but in the colder months it was often Chinese takeout.To this day, Chinese food is a still high on my list of comfort foods.

Unfortunately, Americanized Chinese food (what you would typically get from a Chinese takeout restaurant) is fried, filled with sodium and often times MSG. MSG or monosodium glutamate is a flavor additive often used in Asian cooking. MSG can be associated with symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, skin rash, tingling, numbness in extremities, etc. Many people find that they cannot tolerate MSG. While not all Chinese food contains this flavor additive, much of it does. In my take on a healthy version of Asian cuisine, I've used Asian inspired flavors while maintaining healthier aspects of the dish.

For this recipe, I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I think they roast better than boneless, skinless white meat. In terms of the nutritional value of white meat versus dark meat, while dark meat (with the skin) is higher in calories, cholesterol and fat it is also much higher in iron. With that said, if you’re not a frequent meat eater (I’m not) than opt for dark meat – it has more nutrients! If you would prefer to use white meat in this recipe such as a boneless skinless breast, simply cook the chicken without the glaze and then drizzle over your cooked chicken breasts at the end.

The sriracha sauce that lends the heat to this recipe is made of red chili peppers which contain capsaicin. If you'll remember in my Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash, capsaicin can reduce "bad" cholesterol as well as inflammation in the body. In early stages of research, it has also been shown that capsaicin may have anti-cancer benefits.

Using local honey instead of refined or some kind of artificial sweetener is one of my favorite ways to cut calories and boost the health benefits of a recipe. Local honey can help combat against seasonal allergies and honey contains antioxidants and flavanoids that can help fight cancer and heart disease.

You'll also find this recipe contains both sesame oil, as well as sesame seeds as a garnish. Sesame seeds and oil have been shown to lower systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure in indidivuals with hypertension. They also contain good plant-based proteins that your body needs as well as significant levels of magnesium.

Click here for my Asian-inspired recipe. Serve it up on your next family gathering. 

 

 

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