I am a huge fan of Nigella Lawson and her rather indulgently decadent recipes. Unfortunately, devouring her creations and fitting into your jeans don’t really go hand-in-hand. That’s why I’ve challenged myself to create lighter versions of the recipes I think look most appealing.
Of course the baked recipes are probably best left as is and saved for a treat while exercising a little of your willpower to stick to one little slice.
My first ‘lighten up Nigella’ recipe was a little un-adventurous as it’s not a hugely calorie-laden meal to begin with but I managed to lighten it to 360 calories per serve while maintaining the flavours of the original.
I don’t include the fat content of my meals as most main meals I make are very low in fat anyway. I usually use spray olive oil, trim meat of all fat and use the lighter versions of things like sour cream and yoghurt.
Place the lean beef strips in a bowl and coat with lime juice, fish sauce, paprika and soy sauce. Don’t let this sit for more than 15 minutes.
Cook the noodles according to the packet directions. I assume they are all the same so cook them in boiling water for 4 minutes.
Drain the noodles then refresh them under cold water. Divide the noodles into 3 serving bowls.
In a large saucepan or a wok, heat a little olive oil (ok sometimes I don’t use the spray!) and cook the garlic, ginger and shallots for one minute.
Add the beef strips and their juices to the pan and cook until all the pieces are sealed.
Make up the chicken stock with boiling water and add it and the extra water, also boiling, to the pot. Bring it to the boil.
Now throw in the bean sprouts and pak choi and cook until the veges are tender.
Spoon the meat and veges on top of the noodles then ladle the hot soup over the top. Serve sprinkled with chopped chili. Enjoy!
Vietnamese beef noodle soup – adapted from Vietnamese pork noodle soup by Nigella Lawson in her most recent cookbook ‘Kitchen’
serves 3, 360 calories per serve
- 300g lean beef fillet cut into strips
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 120g japanese soba noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 6 thin spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 300g beansprouts
- 175g baby pack choi torn into pieces (you can use any asian green)
- 2 tsp chopped red chilli
Put the beef strips in a bowl and add the lime juice, soy sauce, paprika and fish sauce but don’t let it sit for more than 15 minutes.
Cook the noodles according to the packet directions and then refresh in cold water.
Heat a wok or a deep, heavy-based frying pan then add the oil and fry the garlic, spring onions and ginger for a minute or so. Add the beef and its liquid to the wok, stirring as you go.
Cook the meat in the pan for another 2 minutes then make up the chicken stock with boiling water. Add the hot stock and the remaining water (hot) to the pan and bring to the boil.
Check that the meat is cooked to your liking then add the beansprouts and baby pak choi. Add some more hot water if the soupy base has evaporated too much.
Arrange the drained noodles in three bowls. Ladle the meat, vegetables and soupy stock over the noodles.
Scatter the chopped chilli on top and serve.