Takeaway taste at home

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

Hello and welcome to all about food. This week is all about full flavours without full fat. Enjoy!

Hello and welcome to all about food. This week is all about full flavours without full fat. Enjoy!

Ask Gingergirl

Hello gingergirl,

Help! I try to cook healthy meals for my boyfriend but at the very hint of a low fat dinner he’s reaching for the takeaway menu! Do you have any suggestions on how I can combine low fat and full flavour?

Thank you,

Joan, Castletroy.

Hello Joan,

Ah the age-old problem of cooking for the opposite sex raises its confused head again! This is actually quite a common dilemma in many households (including my own!). The secret is to cook something so tasty that the calorific content isn’t even questioned.

If your boyfriend is a fan of takeaway I suggest you opt for ‘takeaway style’ food; think stir-fries, curries…even kebabs but with a (sneaky) healthy twist. This Japanese Chilli Beef is a good example and can be made in minutes.

Mirin is a sweetened rice wine with a light syrupy texture, used in Japanese cooking. It gives a mild sweetness to a variety of dishes and is a good condiment to have in your store cupboard. If you can’t find mirin, use sherry as an alternative.

I couldn’t resist including orange zest in this recipe, I think orange and beef in this style of cooking is perfect but if zest is not your thing skip it by all means.

Japanese Chilli Beef

(serves 4)

300g of rump steak, trimmed of all fat

200ml vegetable stock

4 tablespoons of soy sauce

5 tablespoons of mirin

1 tablespoon of caster sugar

1 onion, halved and finely sliced

1 tablespoon of chopped pickled ginger

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 red chilli, thinly sliced (with seeds or deseeded, depending on your taste)

The zest of one orange (optional)

Rice, to serve

Mix the stock, soy, mirin and sugar in a medium size wok, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer. Add the sliced onion and cook for a further five minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the meat as thinly as you can. Add the beef and orange zest to the pan and cook for a few more minutes, stirring continuously.

Sprinkle with pickled ginger, spring onion and chilli, and serve with rice and some of the cooking liquid spooned over.

A side of bok choy

Bok choy is a delicious side dish with the chilli beef: Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan and add 2cm of fresh, sliced ginger and a clove of garlic (sliced) and cook for 1 minute.

Add one, roughly chopped, bok choy and cook for another minute, add a splash of sesame oil and soy sauce. Serve immediately.

Contact Gingergirl


email: helen@gingergirl.ie

Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

Letters to ‘gingergirl’ c/o The Limerick Leader, 54 O’Connell St. Limerick.