I've found that on fast days of only 500 calories, it's important to make friends with the best flavour-giving ingredients, such as citrus fruits, garlic, ginger, chilli, spices and fresh herbs, spices, oils and vinegars. They help to keep food tasting interesting and vibrant and avoid you getting bored of 'rabbit food'.
This stir fry of prawns is absolutely delicious even when I've stripped off some of the quantities I would usually use to lower the calorie count.
The frying of garlic, ginger and chilli in a tiny bit of sesame oil in a wok before adding the rest, gives the oil an amazing base flavour with a fiery heat running through and then the addition of honey towards the end gives a natural sweetness. The final flourishes of lime juice and some scattered coriander leaves just gives it a wonderful freshness and there's no way you could find this boring - fast day or otherwise.
The below makes a dinner for two and each portion contains 297 calories which I've calculated using MyFitnessPal. (On the 5:2 diet, on two non-consecutive days per week your calorie intake cannot exceed 500).
- 140g raw prawns
- 1 red chilli
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 small green pepper
- 1 small yellow pepper
- 100g beansprouts
- 50g carrot
- 50g lettuce leaves
- 50g mushrooms
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 lime
- 2 tsp runny honey
- Few coriander leaves
Firstly crush the garlic and finely slice the ginger and chilli.
Add the sesame oil to a wok and place on a low heat, adding the garlic, ginger and chilli to slowly soften and give the oil plenty of flavour whilst you get everything else chopped.
Slice the peppers. Peel and slice or grate the carrot and add these to the wok.
Slice the mushrooms and lettuce leaves and leave to one side.
Roll the lime around a bit pressing down with the palm of your hand to release as much juice as possible and cut in half ready for squeezing over at the end.
Once the peppers and carrot have softened a bit add the mushrooms and prawns. Prawns literally take a few minutes to cook and please don't overdo it or you'll be left with horrible rubbery things as they are useless once overdone. They are easy to gauge anyway as they turn pink on each side once cooked through.
Use a wooden spoon or spatula to turn the prawns over once cooked and keep everything moving in the wok.
Once almost cooked add the honey and mix through, then add the beansprouts and lettuce and cook for a further minute and then remove the wok from the heat.
Squeeze over the lime juice and scatter over some coriander leaves and you're ready to dish up.
If you're making this just for yourself, simply half the quantities and if for two, and your dining companion isn't on the 5:2, serve with some rice or noodles.