Baking is faking but when it comes to the crunch it's better for you

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 12:00am


It's often the case that the baked version of dishes that are meant to be fried isn't quite the same.

Baked chips just don't have the same satisfying crunch as those deep-fried; even baked fish lacks that crispy layer that forms only in a sizzling frying pan.

Still, baking is a far healthier alternative to frying, for those who can't live without a bit of crisp or crunch.

In this recipe by New Star Seafood Restaurant, the fat content of the rice paste net is reduced by 80 per cent by baking it, rather than cooking it in oil, according to the Department of Health. (Of course, you could do without the net altogether; it's hard to find, anyway.)

This dish has approximately 51 calories, one gram of fat, seven grams of carbohydrates, four grams of protein and 796mg of sodium per serving.

Assorted vegetables with tiny octopus balls in rice net

Serves four

For the octopus paste

80 grams octopus (or shrimp)

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar

1 tsp starch

2 tbsp chilled water 1 piece rice paste net

1/2 tomato

3 pieces Chinese kale

2 stalks celery

1/2 bowl corn kernels

1/2 tsp soya bean oil

5 slices ginger

5 strips spring onion

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 tsp sugar

Some corn starch and water

Bake the rice paste net until crispy and set aside.

Mince the octopus, add salt and stir in a single direction.

Add sugar, starch and chilled water.

Mix well.

Drop half teaspoonfuls of the paste into boiling water and cook until done.

Set aside.

Peel the tomato. Discard the leaves of the kale.

Dice celery, tomato and kale stalks.

Blanch all vegetables (including corn) and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok.

Stir-fry ginger and spring onion. Add the octopus balls, vegetables, salt and sugar.

Combine well and thicken with corn starch mixture.

Transfer mixture to the baked net and serve.

This column features recipes provided by the Health Department as part of its campaign. For more information, visit