Famous 500

Sample four types of international cuisines for under 500 calories then try to recreate them at home with low-calorie recipes!

Issue: Oct 2014

Healthy food can be oh-so-delicious, too, and Inside proves it with under- 500-calorie recipes you can use to create your own low-calorie spread
Healthy food can be oh-so-delicious, too, and Inside proves it with under- 500-calorie recipes you can use to create your own low-calorie spread

Just because you are counting calories and eating healthily does not mean you have to chew through nothing but salads every time you dine out. Several restaurants in CapitaMalls have joined the Health Promotion Board’s Healthier Dining Programme by putting under 500-calorie meals on their menu to help diners eat right.

Why 500 calories? The average recommended calorie-intake in Singapore is about 2000 calories for men, and 1600 calories for women. When you dine out, you consume at least 800 calories a meal. With 500 calories, you can safely put away three square meals, and maybe even sneak a snack, and still not blow your allotted calorie-intake.

The under-500-calorie spread from the restaurants includes an impressive array of international cuisines from spicy Portuguese to lip-smacking Italian, French, American and even Chinese staples like rice dishes so you can enjoy a variety of foods and still hit your calorie quota. As a bonus, Inside has included some recipes so you can recreate your own healthy cuisines at home.

Portuguese Heat

Grilled Peri-Peri Prawns (419 Cal) takes the Portuguese marinade to a whole new level by pairing it with fresh grilled prawns and creamy mashed potatoes
Grilled Peri-Peri Prawns (419 Cal) takes the Portuguese marinade to a whole new level by pairing it with fresh grilled prawns and creamy mashed potatoes
Photo credit: Fish & Co

Calorie Count

Grilled Peri-Peri Prawns (419 Cal)

Grilled White Fish with Peri-Peri Sauce (483 Cal)

What’s So Yummy

Peri-peri or African bird’s eye chilli is a type of chilli pepper that has been making an appearance in restaurants of late. Mixed with a variety of spices and made into a spicy, tangy Portuguese sauce, the heat-packed marinade has been used to flavour any number of foods. Fish & Co offers two peri-peri dishes in its under-500 calorie selection. Grilled Peri-Peri Prawns (S$10.95) has half a dozen good-sized grilled prawns topped with peri-peri sauce and served with a side of creamy mashed potatoes.

For a little over 60 calories more, you can have Grilled White Fish with Peri-Peri Sauce. This best-seller is a hit because of the fragrant paella rice that comes with the flaky fish slathered in peri-peri sauce, making it scrumptiously satisfying.

Try This Version At Home

Peri-peri Chicken
420 calories per serving
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 large onion chopped
45ml Worcestershire sauce
15ml paprika
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 red pepper finely sliced
250ml dry white wine
15g peri-peri sauce
400g tomatoes peeled & chopped
45ml tomato paste
1g bay leaves
250ml light cream
black pepper to taste
2 tbs olive oil
500g chicken breast or boneless chicken thigh

Method:
Fry chicken in olive oil until brown but still a little pink in the centre
Season and set aside
Add onion to pan and fry until soft
Add Worcestershire sauce, paprika, garlic and pepper
Fry for a minute.
Add wine, peri-peri sauce and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes 
Add tomato paste, bay leaves and cream
Add chicken to sauce and heat before serving on whole wheat or multi-grain rolls

Fish or prawns can be used instead of chicken

Ma Ma Mia Italian

Seafood Spaghetti (417 Cal) and Mediterranean Pizza (464 Cal) from Fish & Co lets you go Italian without blowing your 500-calorie-a-meal budget
Seafood Spaghetti (417 Cal) and Mediterranean Pizza (464 Cal) from Fish & Co lets you go Italian without blowing your 500-calorie-a-meal budget
Photo credit: Fish & Co

Calorie Count

Seafood Spaghetti (417 Cal)

Mediterranean Pizza (464 Cal)

What’s So Yummy

You don’t have to give up your pastas and pizzas if you pick them right. Regular pizzas can set you back by up to 400 calories a slice. Fish & Co has managed to slice that down to 464 calories for the whole pizza (Mediterranean Pizza S$7.95). The meat-free slices are chock full of toppings sitting on a rich sauce and there is even a side of salad, too. The Seafood Spaghetti (S$10.95) with tomato pesto sauce has generous portions of shrimp, mussels and squid all for a guilt-free 471 calories (complete with seven out of the 20 grams of fibre you need daily).

Try This Version At Home

Seafood Pasta
485 calories per serving
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound angel hair pasta or linguine
200gm prawns without shells
200gm squid sliced
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 can tomato puree
1 tablespoon chopped basil

Method:
Cook pasta according to package directions
Add olive oil and garlic to a large saucepan over medium heat and cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant but not browned
Add white wine and let come to a boil
Add seafood, cover, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until no longer translucent
Turn off heat and remove seafood from saucepan
Save the liquid from the saucepan and strain it
In another saucepan, heat tomato puree and strain liquid over medium heat
Mix in basil and seafood and cook for 2 minutes
Pour over pasta and serve immediately

Bon Appétit French

Pumpkin Soup for just 35 calories and Apple Delight Crepes for 286 calories -a complete meal at Saybons puts you well under 500 calories
Pumpkin Soup for just 35 calories and Apple Delight Crepes for 286 calories – a complete meal at Saybons puts you well under 500 calories
Photo credit: Saybons

Calorie Count

Pumpkin Soup (35 Cal)

Apple Delight Crepe (286 Cal)

What’s So Yummy

If you fancy something French, you can have your pick of skinny crepes and soup combinations at casual French café and catering service, Saybons, which are under 500 calories. The Pumpkin Soup is just 35 calories for a regular 200ml cup (S$4.40). This is the equivalent of half an apple but so much more satisfying. Saybons is able to keep the calories down because the soup is made without cream or oil.

Have a sweet finish with the meal and order the Apple Delight Crepe (286 calories, S$4.50). Made with Saybons’ own carmelised apples, the amount of sugar is carefully controlled. This allows the natural sweetness of the apples to come through, which goes wonderfully with the cinnamon and slivers of roasted almonds folded in.

Try This Version At Home

Low-cal Crepes
162 calories per serving (crepes alone are 44 calories)
Makes 3 servings

Ingredients for batter:
1/3 cup of soy milk or low-fat milk
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg white
1/4 cup water

Method for batter:
Mix all ingredients together
Heat a medium skillet to medium heat grease with a dollop of margarine
Take 2 tablespoons of batter and create a then paper thin crepe
Let cook for about 40 seconds then flip

Ingredients for topping:
3 chopped up strawberries
10 blueberries
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
Equal packet

Method for topping:
Chop up the strawberries and blueberries and combine with Greek yogurt
Put it in the microwave for 40 seconds.
Add Equal or any other calorie free sugar substitute
Combine them and enjoy

Comfortingly Chinese

Crispy Cherry Valley duck is used in Dian Xiao Er's Herbal Duck Rice that is nearly 100 calories lower than regular duck rice without the skin
Crispy Cherry Valley duck is used in Dian Xiao Er’s Herbal Duck Rice that is nearly 100 calories lower than regular duck rice without the skin
Photo credit: Dian Xiao Er

Calorie Count

Herbal Duck Rice (450 Cal)

What’s So Yummy?

If you are like many Singaporeans and cannot do without your daily serving of rice, don’t despair. You can still have your comfort food and meet your 500-calorie-a-meal target. Dian Xiao Er’s Herbal Duck Rice (S$7.90) uses lean duck which has 25 per cent more protein than any other poultry and is high in Vitamin B and E. At 350 calories compared to regular duck rice, which can go up to 530 calories even without the duck skin, you can have your rice and eat it, too! 

Try This Version At Home

Duck Fried Rice
400 calories per serving
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
4 scallions, greens and whites separated, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kailan, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups bite-size broccoli florets
2 cups mushrooms (preferably shiitake), stems removed, sliced
½ lb boneless, skinless duck thighs, sliced into thin bite-size pieces
4 cups cooked brown rice
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
In a wok or a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is lightly smoking, add the scallion whites, ginger, and garlic and cook for 30 to 45 seconds.
Add the zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, using a spatula to stir the vegetables throughout.
Add the duck and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pieces are no longer pink.
Stir in the rice and soy sauce and cook for another 5 minutes, allowing the rice to get crispy on the bottom.
Create an empty space in the middle of the pan and add the eggs. Use a spoon or the spatula to quickly scramble the eggs until light and fluffy, then stir them into the rest of the ingredients.
Serve garnished with the scallion greens.

With so many yummy options, there is really no reason for not eating right even when you eat out. The next time you dine out, don’t forget to give these famous 500-and- under meals a try.

Dine with us:

Dian Xiao Er
311 New Upper Changi Road
Bedok Mall
#01-73/74
Singapore 467360
Tel: (65) 6844 9266
www.dianxiaoer.com
Dian Xiao Er
9 Bishan Place
Junction 8
#B1-07
Singapore 579837
Tel: (65) 6684 0877
www.dianxiaoer.com
Dian Xiao Er
21 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4
Lot One Shoppers’ Mall
#B1-32/33
Singapore 689812
Tel: (65) 6766 1776
www.dianxiaoer.com
Fish & Co
200 Victoria Street
Bugis Junction
#01-90
Singapore 188021
Tel: (650 6338 2836
www.fish-co.com
Fish & Co
6604A Sembawang Road
Sembawang Shopping Centre
#01-01/02
Singapore 758459
Tel: (65) 6481 9192
www.fish-co.com
Saybons
9 Bishan Place
Junction 8
#02-27A
Singapore 579837
Tel: (65) 6258 3138
www.saybons.com
Saybons
68 Orchard Road
Plaza Singapura
#B2-32
Singapore 238839
Tel: (65) 6884 9018
www.saybons.com

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