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It's a Wrap

By Margaret Furtado, MS RD LDN CYT

 

This recipe is sure to be a hit any time of the year! It’s party friendly, since your guests can eat it with their hands.  It’s sure to be a hit with both adults and children-even those who never want to eat their vegetables!

 

Mung beans, which are also known as mung dal, moong dal, mash bean, munggo, green gram, golden gram, and green soy, help give this dish its Asian flair, although this bean is a native to India. These beans are commonly used in cuisine from China, as well as in Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia. Mung beans are usually eaten either whole (with or without skins) or as bean sprouts, or used to make the dessert "green bean soup". The starch of mung beans is also separated from the ground beans to make jellies and noodles. Mung beans are very nutritious, and are especially high in potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and folic acid, as well as being a good source of fiber.

 

Fresh mint is used in this recipe to add a refreshing taste and has many nutritional benefits. Mint contains Vitamins A and C. A cup of fresh mint tea has been known as an herbal remedy to many cultures for generations. Spearmints or green mints are the most commonly used in cooking.

 

Peanut oil is used sparingly in our recipe as part of a heart healthy diet. It is an oil derived from peanuts, and has the slight aroma and taste of its parent legume. In England, peanut oil is marketed as "Groundnut Oil". It is often used in Southeast Asian cuisine much as olive oil is used in the Mediterranean.

 

Commercial peanut oil will not cause an allergic reaction because the allergen is a protein, not a fat. However, organic and cold-pressed oils will. So, it’s important to be aware of this, especially these days when peanut allergies seem more and more common.

When mixed with fresh lemon juice and applied on skin, peanut oil is believed to help in reducing acne and blackheads. Peanut oil is also appreciated for its high smoke point relative to many other cooking oils.  Nutritionally speaking, peanut oil is largely made up of monounsaturated fat, which is considered heart healthy.

 

Sesame oil, also known as gingelly oil and til oil, is an oil derived from sesames, noted to have the distinctive aroma and taste of its parent seed. It is often used in Southeast Asian cuisine as a flavor enhancer.  It is commonly used in Chinese and Korean cuisine, usually added at the end of cooking as a flavor highlight and not used as a cooking medium. Asian sesame oil derives its dark color and flavor from toasted hulled sesame seeds. Cold-pressed sesame oil is less flavorful than the Chinese, since it’s produced directly from raw vs. toasted seeds.

 

Sesame seeds were one of the first crops processed for oil, as well as one of the earliest condiments. Prior to 600 B.C., the Assyrians used sesame oil as a food, salve, and medication, primarily by the rich, as the difficulty of obtaining it made it expensive. Hindus use this oil in votive lamps and consider it sacred.

 

The popularity of sesame oil in Asia can be likened to olive oil in the Mediterranean. In cooking, sesame oil is least prone, among cooking oils, to turn rancid. This is due to its very high smoke point. In effect, sesame oil retains its natural structure and doesn’t break down even when heated to a very high temperature.

 

In terms of its nutritional composition, sesame oil has a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, is a good source of Vitamin E, and an important antioxidant. Sesame oil also contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron and Vitamin B6. As with everything else, moderation is the key, even with healthy fats.

  

Asian Chicken Wrap

This is a delicious wrap that could be served in your favorite Asian restaurant. All you need to do after you make our quick and easy Asian chicken wraps is sit back and enjoy this tasty yet healthy meal. Bon Apetit!

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon chili sauce

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon orange zest (grated orange peel)

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

4 four ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, stems removed

1/2 cup cilantro sprigs

1/2 cup mung bean sprouts

8 whole Boston lettuce leaves (about 1 head)

1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

1 tablespoon chopped peanuts (optional)

 

In a small bowl, combine the peanut oil, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, ginger, orange zest, and garlic and stir vigorously with a wire whisk. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture and place the rest in a zipper type plastic bag along with the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning once or twice. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade.

 

Coat a medium skillet with nonstick spray and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and let stand while preparing the filling.

 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mint, spinach, cilantro, and bean sprouts. Add the reserved oil mixture and gently toss, just enough to expose all the surface area to the dressing, being careful not to break down the leafy structure.

 

Slice the chicken into thin strips. Place one sliced chicken breast atop one (or two stacked) lettuce leaves, then top the chicken with the spinach mixture. Garnish equally with chopped peanuts (optional).

 

Nutritional analysis: Serves 4

Calories: 196.8 Protein: 29 g Carbohydrates: 5.8 g Total Fat: 6.3 g Sat Fat: 0.8 g Cholesterol: 65.8 mg Sodium: 194.3 mg Sugars: 2.2 g Fiber: 2.7 g