panang curryThere’s one thing I like as much as sushi.  I love Panang Curry.  When I get takeout, I want to enjoy that amazing spicy sweet coconut sauce as many times as possible, but I don’t want my body to swell by OD-ing on sodium and fat pervading the sauce or go into a carb coma from a massive serving of rice.  I don’t usually order rice, but brown if I do please.  I’ll order extra meat, or toss in extra cooked meat if I have it at home and extra sauce, since honestly that’s what I’m craving and ordering extra meat means less room in the container for sauce.  (I have yet  to find a Thai kitchen that simply uses a larger container. If you find one in Weho, Beverly or Santa Monica, call me)! 

I fill the majority of my bowl with my mainstays:  broccoli slaw (shredded broccoli and cabbage at most groceries) and some spinach, maybe even some extra basil leaves or red pepper that should rightly be rampant in my Panang.  Then I ladle 1/3  of the dish into my bowl and put the rest in the fridge for tasty repeats another day.  Stir to distribute the sauce throughout then cover for a minute – I know it smells amazing and patience is a lot to ask at this moment of starvation.  The new veggies will soften in a minute or two and taste better. 

You’ll cut about 140 empty calories and 30 carbs per cup using broccoli slaw and spinach in place of rice.  Plus, you just added the following vital nutrients to your plate. Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.  While I could probably drink the sauce straight, dividing the up to 1000 calories, 56 grams fat, and possibly 3200mg sodium in the dish alone (not including rice), makes it a lot easier to enjoy swallowing.

This drastically increases the nutritional value of the meal, and decreases the fat, sodium and excessive carbs consumed in one sitting.  Plus, I feel like I get to eat a helluva lot more volume per serving and experience it multiple days.  This trick can be used on any saucy meat and vegetable dish, but works especially well with Asian cuisines.  My clients mouths drop learning they can still enjoy their favorite Indian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese dishes.

If grabbing Thai in Santa Monica, try Bangkok West. They’ll give you a plate of raw spinach instead of rice at no additional charge!