5 Ways to Make Any Recipe Healthier – Case Study: Nasi Lemak (Fatty Rice)

Today’s fare (case study) comes to you all the way from my country, Malaysia. It is a really fragrant dish because the rice is cooked in coconut milk served with a spicy anchovies sambal, a chili based condiment.

Healthier Nasi Lemak

A quick language course here. Nasi means rice and lemak means fat. So if it was a direct translation it would be Fatty Rice. Now most of you would think; No good can come out of this and you would be right. Nasi Lemak or Fatty Rice gets a really bad rap. The heart disease rate is on the rise in Malaysia and most of the time it’s attributed to this dish right here.

So why am I, The Iron Cheftress who prides herself in cooking and eating healthy, featuring a dish like that? Because this recipe is perfect for me to test out my ability to put a healthy spin on it.

I do not expect most of my readers to actually want to cook this dish because it does ask for a lot of ethnic ingredients but I am trying to show how you can take one of your favourite unhealthy dish and make it healthier. This way you would not be forbidding yourself from your favourite food and feel like you’re “missing out” in life

Here are 5 ways to make any recipe healthier:

1) Substitute and reduce

For this dish I used Low Fat Coconut Milk and halved the measurement. I brought it down from 15g fat to 4g (99calories). Pictured to the right

2) Use cooking spray instead of oil

Cuts more fat & calories

3) Cut out the salt and sugar

A lot of recipes that calls for “salt & pepper to taste” or “sugar” is like an insurance policy for the recipe writer. I usually don’t use neither because I believe your taste buds will get used to it and will not miss it.

Example of a well rounded meal

Example of a well rounded meal

4) Portion control

The age old rule never fails. If you eat in moderation, it really isn’t that bad for you.

5) Make your meals well rounded

Make sure you are getting all your fibre, protein and healthy fats from your meals. For eg Nasi Lemak is usually low in fibre and protein so I added a chicken curry and some green beans.

I will leave you with one of my most clicked on post for healthy baking/cooking substitutions and let me hear from you on how you make your favourite unhealthy dish healthier.

Happy healthy substituting!

10 thoughts on “5 Ways to Make Any Recipe Healthier – Case Study: Nasi Lemak (Fatty Rice)

  1. Does the light coconut milk taste as good as freshly pressed coconut milk? That is the one I always use to make nasi lemak. I rarely use “packed” coconut milk. It somehow seems too “inorganic” for me. :D

    • Well Hari that’s just like asking me if low fat milk taste the same as whole milk haha. But I would say low fat coconut milk is more like 2% compared to whole. So it’s not too bad. Still think it’s something one gets used to.

      • Well I can imagine it to be less in fat when it’s powdered. Can’t say I’ve tried it though. One thing I’ve tried in the attempt to make lighter coconut milk is coconut flour. And also been doing some but milk mix with full cream coconut milk to lighten it. It’s real good actually. Made it today, it’s light enough to just drink. So yummy. Ok I’m rambling now.

      • Many Indonesian cuisines require coconut milk. I think there should be some attempt to find an alternative for pure high-fat coconut milk. I think I will try to mix skim milk with powdered coconut milk next time and post about how it goes! :D

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