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Low Calorie Substitutions for High Calorie Cravings: Moo Shu Vegetables

Jul 23, 2010

Vegetables done moo-shu style are great low calorie substitutions for high calorie cravings. The way to prepare them is uncomplicated. You don't need to make a special trip to get any ingredient that is not readily available in the markets where you always shop.

Chinese restaurants may feature their higher calorie moo-shu pork, beef and chicken dishes, but you can make moo shu vegetables with far fewer calories and less fat. Your vegetable moo shu dish might not contain meat or poultry, but you can still create a delicious, satisfying side dish or entree.

Moo-Shu Style

What is moo-shu anyway? The term refers to a yummy filling wrapped in something. The wraps are usually fine, delicate, crepe-like pancakes, dipped in sauce.

If you were to see moo-shu food at a Chinese restaurant, you may be inspired to try creating these foods at home based solely on the way they are presented. Some restaurants serve the food with scallions slit in such a way that they look like brushes, which are used to spread on sauce.

Lo-Cal Ingredients

Moo-shu style veggies are finely shredded. The veggies are typically mushrooms, bean sprouts, sweet peppers, snow peas, bamboo shoots, and cabbage. There is no rigid list, though. Be as flexible as you want to be.  

Some moo-shu styles incorporate scrambled eggs tossed in at the end, after you have separately fried the veggies.

Spices and flavorings? Ginger and garlic are the typical add-ins. Soy, hoisin or plum sauces are typical sauce options for dipping the wraps. The cooking method is to lightly stir-fry your shredded veggies in your favorite vegetable oil or low-cal cooking spray. You can lightly drizzle some sesame oil on top of your cooked stir-fry if you want.

Instant Moo Shu

You can have it all, in minutes. Did you notice those bags of rainbow-like shredded vegetables in your supermarket shelves? They're 150-calorie to  200-calorie wonders, in five-serving bags. They're made up of shredded broccoli, red and white cabbage, and they are truly delicious when stir-fried. Another option is to stir-fry a five-serving bag of pre-shredded cole slaw, which is made up of carrot slivers and white cabbage. Still another option is the three-serving bags of red shredded cabbage, at just 80 calories per serving. As for the wrap, feel free to substitute pancakes with low-cal tortillas or other thin types of flat bread of your choice.

Some moo-shu cooks roll up their wraps cigar-style to dip into their hoisin, soy or plaum sauce, appetizer-style. Another style is to lay the pancake out flat and just pile on the filling; still another is to roll it into a wrap but not as tightly as in the cigar-style method.

Paring Down Calories

Pare down calories by just eating the veggies without the dips or pancakes. Or roll up the filling in a lettuce wrap. That way, you are enjoying delicious moo-shu style vegetables at 150-200 calories a plate! For taste, nutrition, and ease of preparation, you're thinking smart, eating smart and looking smartest.

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