The “Glee” darling hits all the right healthy notes when dining out. Lea is a big fan of the light dishes at NYC eatery, Koi - as are other celeb foodies, like Ashley Greene, Joe Jonas, and Colin Farrell.
Koi’s skinny menu features entrees under 300 calories. To celebrate National Nutrition Month, Koi executive chef Nick McCoy shares with Healthy Hollywood his secrets to preparing tasty yet diet-friendly food.
“When approaching a dish with the thought of it being healthy, people tend to think flavor takes a back seat. While you may not be able to recreate the same dishes you love into healthier versions, with a few helpful tips you can have flavorful food while not packing on the calories,” reveals Chef McCoy.
McCoy’s Be Healthy Cooking Tips:
A) Seasonal… using seasonal items that are fresh have more flavor than their off season or frozen counterparts. This means that you will not need to do more to the ingredients to get them to burst with flavor and thus will not need to add unwanted calories to your food. Let the ingredients be the star of your dish. Local farmers markets are great sources for such products.
B) Most calories in food tend to come from fat (oil, butter, etc.) and sugars. When cooking a healthier dish try and avoid those ingredients and use flavorful substitutes. Oil and butter add a lot of flavor to food, however, they also add fat and calories. Instead of pan-frying a piece of chicken, roast it in the oven. Steaming a piece of fish is a great way to skip on the added fat without losing flavor. Also steaming it in a dish which collects the juices from the fish and other added ingredients leaves you with a natural flavorful broth that has no extra calories.
C) I recently made a grilled chicken lettuce “hand roll” for our skinny menu and felt it was lacking some sweetness that is normally found in the sauce/dressing through sugar. I added julienne fresh Asian pear as a substitute for the sugar. It added that little bit of sweetness I was looking for to blend nicely with the spice from the peppercorn and sriracha (chili paste).
McCoy’s Stellar Fish Recipe:
Koi’s Steamed Chilean Sea Bass
6-7oz Chilean Sea Bass
4-5 pieces Julienne Ginger (matchstick size)
1/2 cup thinly sliced Shiitake Mushrooms
5 Cilantro Leaves
1/2 Scallion thinly cut on the bias
2 Cherry Tomatoes cut in half
1-2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Chili Oil (if can’t be found, Sesame Oil will work)
Garnish with Coriander Sprouts or 2-3 Cilantro Leaves
1. Place Sea Bass, in casserole dish small enough to fit inside steamer basket, and top with ginger and shiitake mushrooms. Place inside steamer basket over simmering water and cover. Let steam for 15-20 minutes or until fish is cooked.
2. Meanwhile heat sesame oil until it begins to smoke. Turn off heat and place to the side (to be used at end).
3. Remove casserole dish from steamer and place Sea Bass and mushrooms, saving the cooking juices that developed, in serving bowl.
4. Pour the cooking liquid on top.
5. Place the cherry tomatoes around the sea bass and add soy sauce. Top sea bass with cilantro, scallions and drizzle hot sesame oil on top of the greens releasing their aromatics and oils.
6. Garnish with coriander sprouts.