Saturday, September 23, 2006

Something New.

I deliberately set out to cook a meal that was not reduced sodium, but low sodium. Easy you say? Yeah you'd think, but it also has to taste good, be fairly cheap, and also easy to cook.
Why? Well, a friend of mine, Gryphon, has high blood pressure and is on a low sodium diet. Most low sodium recipes are outside of her price range, since she and her boyfriend are college students. Hence the easy and cheap part of the equation.

Besides, I like a new challenge. Low fat luscious cooking I can do. Now, to try something a little harder. :)

I started to make a pork and veg stir fry for dinner, and then I realised that most of the sauces I would normally use are high in sodium.. yes even the reduced sodium ones are too high.

Then I thought of changing it to the simmered soy pork that another friend makes... just reducing the soy sauce waaaaay down. But then.. I thought, what if she doesn't want any extra sodium at all, perhaps she's on a day where as low as possible is good? So, I nixed the soy sauce, and decided to try to make it tasty without salt, but also still fairly low in fat.

One red bell pepper I sliced into fine strips, same with one quarter of an onion.
Sauteed them in a hot skillet with a little oil whilst I cut the pork loin into fairly thin, short strips.
Added the pork and stirfried it on high for at least 5 minutes, until brown and tasty.
Added some finely chopped fresh garlic and ginger (not paste or dried, fresh chopped!) cooked that for another couple of minutes until fragrant.
I poured water in until it was twice as high as the ingredients.
Added a couple handfuls of dried, sliced shiitake mushrooms.
Realising there still wasn't quite enough water I put in about another cup or so.
Once it came to the boil, I covered it, then turned it down to a simmer and left it for 30 minutes.
Came back and tasted it, and it was a little bland.
So, I went hunting through the pantry.
Cumin I didn't want to add as that would have been better at the start. Curry paste was out since that has a lot of salt in it. We were out of curry powder too, so couldn't use that. Besides another friend complained (jokingly) that all i do is post curry recipes. So I'm trying to even it out a little.
I grabbed the honey, and some garam masala (chinese 5 spice would do just as well.) Squirted in about a tbs of honey, and two generous pinches of the garam masala.. and then simmered it again for a good half an hour, until most of the liquid was gone and the pork was tender.

Turned out rather tasty if I do say so myself. Subtle, yet tasty, and NOT salty in the least.
I served it in a bowl like a stew, and had a baked potato on a side plate. YUM!

I'll definitely be making this one again. (Will post the recipe a little neater tomorrow, and with a nutrition break down!)

I think I'll also try a version where I add wine and fresh herbs instead of the asian spices.

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