Want a low-fat, low-salt dish? Get yourself into a stew
Produced in Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy since the Middle Ages, traditional balsamic vinegar is made from reduced grape juice that has been aged (in some cases for more than 12 years) in wooden casks.
The dark brown syrupy vinegar is both slightly tart and sweet, making it a versatile pantry staple.
When it comes to balsamic vinegar a little goes a long way. It can be combined with olive oil for a light salad dressing or bread dip. It is also drizzled on seafood and used in a few desserts.
As a quick and simple marinade, it adds a wholesome savoury flavour to meat in an instant, like in this stewed chicken recipe from the English-speaking Dining Society of the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute.
A tablespoon of balsamic vinegar has just 14 calories and 4mg of sodium, compared with the Chinese cooking staple, soy sauce, which has fewer calories (10) but a whopping 920mg of sodium per tablespoon. That's why this recipe has been labelled '3 Less' by the Health Department: it has reduced salt, sugar, and fat or oil.
Stewed chicken with balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 onions
6 pieces white mushrooms
1 1/2 tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
400 grams of skinless chicken meat
1/2 tsp fine salt
Ground white pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
100ml balsamic vinegar
100ml chicken stock
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Cut zucchini, onion and white mushrooms into thick slices. Cut tomato into wedges. Chop garlic and parsley. Set everything aside.
Cut chicken into eight pieces and season with salt and ground white pepper.
Heat olive oil in a cooking pan. Saut?onions, white mushrooms, zucchini and garlic.
Add balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, tomatoes and fresh thyme.
Add chicken and simmer for 12 minutes. Add parsley. Serve.
This column features recipes provided by the Health Department as part of the department's EatSmart@restaurant.hk campaign. For more information, visit restaurant.eatsmart.gov.hk