So as you will probably know by now, I’ve been half-doing WeightWatchers for a while and lost half a stone. But since my trips away to Spain, New York and Scotland, I got firmly out of the habit of point counting. And now I can’t be bothered with it. Meanwhile Paul has been on the 5:2 (or Intermittent Fasting) diet for about 3-4 months and has lost over a stone. So I decided to convert. And I think I must be the only person who seems to have put weight on doing this. It’s only my third week though, so hopefully my body will catch up soon!
There’s so much media attention on the 5:2 at the moment, with magazines, newspapers and websites dedicating space to appropriate ‘5:2’ meals. But really it’s just a super low calorie diet – women reduce their calorie intake to 500 calories a day for 2 days out of 7, and men have 600 calories. There’s some dishes already in this blog that would work really well on the diet – notably the Thai-Style Steamed Fish recipe here and I thought it’d be pretty easy to find recipes through the normal channels. But then I found myself in Waterstones, and one thing led to another, and I left the shop somehow with The Fast Diet Recipe Book which is the official 5:2 diet recipe book. And it’s absolutely brilliant – I thought it’d be a bit of a compromise somehow, but I found myself flicking through in the shop and actually wanting to try recipes on my non-starve days! Buy the book here
One of the first recipes I tried was Lime Chicken Salad, Szechuan Style and it was excellent. It actually ends up being quite a plateful, so psychologically I felt like I was getting a good deal. Lots of flavour, and only 195 calories. Definitely a dish I’ll do again, on both my fast days AND my feast days!
Finally this recipe requires Szechuan pepper, and it’s a pretty key component. But Waitrose let me down and were out of stock. Instead I bought Wayanad pepper which sounded interesting – “intensely spicy with a slight citrus flavour” – and I thought it’d work well. It did, but I would like to try this again with Szechuan peppercorns should I find them.
KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10.
Calorie Count: 195 per person
Lime Chicken Salad, Szechuan Style (serves 1)
- 1 small chicken breast, skin on (approx 110g)
- A little olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Half a cucumber, sliced lengthways, deseeded and cut on the diagonal into crescents
- Handful of coriander, including finely chopped stalks
- Handful of mint leaves
- Half a teaspoon of ground Szechuan peppercorns, crushed (see comment above)
- 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced diagonally
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- Shredded iceberg lettuce (80g)
- Lime wedges to serve
Preheat oven to 190C/375F.
Oil the chicken breast lightly before seasoning with salt and pepper (skin to be removed after cooking). Bake, covered, in oven until cooked through and juices run clear – about 20 mins. Allow to cool.
Tear chicken into shreds and place into a bowl with cucumber, most of the coriander and mint.
Make the dressing from the Szechuan pepper, fish sauce, sesame oil, spring onion, lime juice and seasoning. Combine with chicken mixture and serve on shredded iceberg lettuce.
Garnish with lime wedges and remaining coriander leaves.