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The Chinese believe that steam is life giving, and steamed foods do look plumper--and somehow healthier-- than their baked or sautéed counterparts. Sometimes, however, surprising amounts of fat are hidden in the marinade and the sauce of traditional Cantonese steamed dishes. But not here. For the fragrant whole fish with scallions, much of the peanut oil has been replaced by a little nutty sesame oil. Even the fried rice in this menu is relatively low in fat. By getting the wok really hot before adding the oil, you can significantly cut down on the amount of oil needed. The fried rice and the first course, a zesty hot-and-sour soup, use egg whites in place of some of the whole eggs, for less fat and just as much flavor.

EILEEN YIN-FEI LO teaches cooking at the China Institute in America in New York City. Her most recent book is The Dim Sum Dumpling Book (Macmillan). 

KEEPING COUNT
One serving of hot-and-sour soup, steamed fish with ginger and fried rice contains less than 17 grams of fat (26 percent of the recommended daily intake).

Published April 1996
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