- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 13, 2003

This colorful beef dish is full of fresh flavor and contrasting textures. The ginger-honey dressing is oil-free, so although a little oil is used to fry the beef, the dish is still light in fat. No extra salt is needed because of the spicy dressing and the saltiness of the soy sauce.

The recipe is an appealing introduction to Reader’s Digest “Low-Calorie Cookbook” (Reader’s Digest), which offers some 100 others, “low in calories but high in taste,” according to the book’s jacket.

The book is clearly set out, with a brief summary of guidelines for healthy eating, followed by recipes for dishes ranging from breakfast through dinners to desserts. Each recipe includes preparation and cooking times and nutrition information, and the book is illustrated with plenty of full-page color photographs.

Stir-fried beef with mango salad

The preparation time is 30 minutes, and the cooking time about 10 minutes.

14 ounces lean steak such as sirloin, trimmed of all excess fat and cut into thin strips for stir-frying

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoons sunflower oil


2 teaspoons paprika

teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

1 tablespoons honey

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

4 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Fresh juice of 1 lime or lemon


1 ripe but firm mango, peeled and cut into strips

2 ripe but firm plums, sliced

medium head red cabbage, shredded

2 ounces (about 1 cup) watercress leaves

cucumber, cut into matchsticks

red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

3 or 4 scallions, cut into diagonal pieces

1 ounces (about 1 cup) mixed fresh mint and cilantro

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped, roasted, unsalted peanuts

To make the dressing: Put the paprika, cayenne, honey, ginger and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add 1 cup water, stirring, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime or lemon juice; set aside.

Combine all the salad ingredients, except the peanuts, in a large, shallow serving dish and toss gently together until evenly mixed; set aside.

Put the steak strips into a bowl with the garlic, sugar and soy sauce and mix together so the strips are seasoned. Heat a wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the oil and the beef and stir-fry until the strips are evenly brown and cooked to taste, about 3 minutes.

Spoon the stir-fried beef over the top of the salad. Drizzle the dressing over the top and sprinkle with the peanuts. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 265 cal., 27 g pro., 8 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 20 g carbo., 4 g fiber.

More ideas:

Add cubes of fresh or canned pineapple (canned in juice rather than syrup) or kiwi fruit to the salad, to increase the fruit content.

Spice up the salad with very thin strips of fresh red chili — particularly if you have a cold, because scientists have suggested that eating chilies can help alleviate nasal congestion.

Replace the mango with 2 unpeeled and sliced nectarines.

For a vegetarian version, omit the stir-fried beef and increase the quantity of shelled peanuts to 1 cup. Peanuts are an excellent source of protein and contain much less saturated fat than red meat.

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