The nutritional credentials of a Chinese takeaway may be chop suey, but homemade dim sum can steamroll that reputation. It’s time to awaken the healthy dragon in your kitchen
How to turn unctuous, Chinese dumplings into wholesome parcels of training fuel
1 THE FEAST FROM THE EAST
There may be little chance of redemption for your sweet’n’sour something, but dim sum deserves fresh consideration. Its potential for health- enhancement is anything but bitesize, as Luca Malacarne of London’s Pan-asian Novikov explains: “Dim sum is light, nutritious and, when steamed, very low in fat. It’s also delicious.” Time, then, to ditch your Deliveroo menu and fuse takeaway taste with more wholesome dining.
A staple of every gym-goer’s diet, chicken packs a 23g proteinous punch per 100g – the equivalent of a protein shake, minus the lumps. Mainlining this muscle-recovery hero will soften the impact of tough training. Call it DOMS sum, if you like.
This Peking favourite is billed as fatty, but despite a tasty 9.6g per serving, the breast is also an excellent source of metabolismfiring selenium. Plus the mineral will bolster your immune system against seasonal man flu.
Rich in energy-boosting B vitamins, opt for loin chops, a comparatively lean piggy cut. Pork also contains creatine which, when eaten pre-gym, enhances your performance and muscle growth. The perfect bite before your lunch-hour workout.
Testosterone starts dropping at 30, making you feel, well, not so manly. Thankfully, prawns are swimming in zinc, a mineral linked to increased production of the male hormone, halting the effects of ageing on your body while revving up your libido.
2 BRING HOME THE DOUGH
For that light, pale casing you find only in the best dim sum, mix 250g dumpling flour (£ 4 sous-chef.co.uk) with 125ml water, knead and leave to rise for 30 minutes. Cut into 1.5cm balls and roll out until 8cm each in diameter. Want fast food? Save time and reach for ready-made wonton pastry wrappers (£ 3 melburyandappleton.co.uk). Add a heaped teaspoon of filling before folding and crimping the edges. Invest in your heart health with a traditional bamboo steamer (£ 14.50 andrewjamesworldwide.com): line it with greaseproof paper and hover over a simmering wok of water to gently cook the dumplings. Use chopsticks (£ 3 thejapaneseshop.co.uk); they’ll slow you down and encourage the mindful eating proven to aid weightloss. Plus, could you really handle the shame of resorting to a knife and fork?
3 FULL STEAM AHEAD
Steaming uses no fat and helps preserve vitamins and minerals. It’s also a far more gentle process than boiling, thereby retaining food’s shape and texture – good news for your delicate creations. Serve up Malacarne’s morsels, each recipe filling 10 dumplings, and start working on your chopsticks skills. The food is supposed to go in your mouth, not on your lap, after all.