1 January 2010

In the GI News Kitchen

American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen. For more information, check out Johanna's website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is photosbysergio.com.


Fortified scrambled eggs
Italians don’t really eat eggs for breakfast but we do, whether we are in Morristown (New Jersey) or in Nimis (Friuli). Adding in some ricotta is a terrific way to fortify eggs with calcium, making this recipe a perfect choice for a simple, wholesome breakfast. In all honesty, these eggs taste so much better when I make them in Italy. I’m sure the freshly made ricotta from the local dairy farm has much to do with it!
Servings: 4

4 large eggs
1 cup egg substitute
¼ cup light ricotta
2 tbsp grated parmigiano cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper, to taste

Creamy Salmon and Dill Pasta

  • Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • Evenly cover a medium-sized frying pan with vegetable spray. Heat over medium flame until surface is hot. Add the egg mixture and begin to stir for about 2 minutes from the outside to the center with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat if necessary to assure uniform cooking. Serve immediately.

Per serving (without toast)
Energy: 613 kJ/ 146 cals; Protein 16 g; Fat 8 g (includes 3 g saturated fat and 248 mg cholesterol); Carbs 2 g; Fibre less than 1 g.

Cut back on the food bills and enjoy fresh-tasting, easily prepared, seasonal, satisfying and delicious low or moderate GI meals that don’t compromise on quality and flavour one little bit with Money Saving Meals author Diane Temple. For more recipes check out Diane's Money Saving Meals website.

Red beef and pumpkin curry
Check out Asian produce stores for a genuine Asian brand curry paste – they tend to be hotter (and cheaper) than supermarket brands – 2 tablespoons was plenty. The brand you have may be milder, so check the ‘serving suggestion’ on the label to see how much paste to add for four people. And there are more savings. I usually make this with light coconut milk, but by using light and creamy coconut flavoured evaporated milk you boost the protein and cut the saturated fat right back.
Serves 4

1 tablespoon peanut oil
350 g (12 oz) rump steak, thinly sliced
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red curry paste (or to taste)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
375 ml (14 oz) can light coconut milk or light and creamy coconut flavoured evaporated milk
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pumpkin, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
120 g (4 oz) green beans, trimmed, sliced in half
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon table sugar
1½ cups basmati or a lower GI rice
chopped peanuts or chopped coriander or both (optional)

Red beef and pumpkin curry

  • Heat the wok or large frying pan over high heat, add the oil and when hot (not before), stir-fry the beef in two batches for 1–2 minutes until brown. Set the beef aside in a heatproof bowl.
  • Stir-fry the onion for 2 minutes then add the curry paste and garlic and stir to combine. Pour in the coconut milk, stirring until the curry paste has dissolved and bring just to the boil. Add the pumpkin chunks, cover (with a lid or foil), reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10–12 minutes until the pumpkin is just tender (but not mushy). Meanwhile, cook the rice following the packet directions.
  • Add the green beans and the cooked beef to the wok, and simmer for 2 minutes until everything is piping hot and the beans are tender-crisp. Add the fish sauce and sugar, a teaspoon of each at a time, to achieve a flavour balance you like.
  • Spoon the rice onto four serving plates and top with the curried beef and a scattering of chopped peanuts or coriander for extra crunch and colour if you wish.

Per serving (with rice and made with light and creamy evaporated coconut milk)
Energy: 1826 kJ/ 436 cals; Protein 33 g; Fat 12 g (includes 4 g saturated fat and 65 mg cholesterol); Carbs 46 g; Fibre 4 g

This recipe yoghurt cheese with a creamy yet slightly sour, sharp tang is from Lyndey Milan: The best collection. Many cuisines have a version of labna (or labne) and it’s delicious at any time of the day. Save calories and use it in place of feta in cooking. Lyndey's book is available from major bookstores or online HERE.
Makes 24 balls of cheese

1 litre low fat plain yoghurt (you can use full fat if you prefer)
1 teaspoon salt
Extra virgin olive oil

To store
Fresh rosemary sprigs
1 teaspoon coriander (cilantro) seeds
2–3 red chillies


  • Mix the yoghurt with salt, stirring well to remove any lumps. Scoop the yoghurt into the centre of a double layer of damp muslin and suspend over a deep bowl for 24 hours to let the whey drip out (you may like to scrape the inside of the muslin a couple of times to facilitate draining).
  • Remove the resulting ‘cheese’ from the muslin and crumble onto a tray lined with paper towel. Refrigerate until firm and dry to touch. Lightly oil the palms of your hands and roll into 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter balls. Serve fresh on crusty bread with freshly cracked black pepper or store in a jar covered with extra virgin olive oil, sprigs of rosemary and red chillies to flavour.

Per labna ball (made with low fat yoghurt)
Energy: 104 kJ/ 25 cals; Protein 2 g; Fat – less than 1 g (includes 2 mg cholesterol); Carbs 3 g

Lyndey Milan

Per serving

Energy: 1350 kJ/ 323 cals; Protein 14 g; Fat 23 g (includes 5 g saturated fat and 118 mg cholesterol); Carbs 13 g; Fibre 3.5 g

In December we reported on Christopher Marinangeli’s study from the University of Manitoba that found that banana bread and biscotti made with whole yellow pea flour produced a lower glycemic response than the same recipes baked using wheat flour. If you enjoyed the biscotti recipe last month (do tell if you tried it), here’s the banana bread to try.

Christopher Marinangeli

Banana bread
Makes 9 slices

280 g (9 oz) pea flour
175 g (6 oz) sugar (Logicane low GI sugar if you can buy it)
3 tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
5 bananas, mashed
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
Dash or two vanilla essence
Extra banana slices for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and place oven rack to middle position. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 in (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan and dust with a little flour.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and nuts.
  • In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, oil and vanilla. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky – don’t overmix. You don’t want a smooth batter. Over mixing will make the bread tough and rubbery. Scrape batter into prepared pan and place the slices of banana on top of the batter for garnish. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55–60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature
Per serving
Energy: 1540 kJ/ 368 cals; Protein 9 g; Fat 15 g (includes 1.6 g saturated fat and 70 mg cholesterol); Carbs 52 g; Fibre 8 g.


Anonymous said...

Dear Chris. Please tell, what is xanthan gum and where might it be available? Is pea flour also known as Besan? I don't use Canola, could I substitute olive oil?
Many thanks.

GI Group said...

Hi Margaret,

Xanthan gum is a powder available from health food stores and the health food section of larger supermarkets. It improves the quality of wheat-free baking by enhancing crumb texture. You can substitute guar gum. You may find it in the gluten-free section in some supermarkets.

Besan is actually chickpea flour -- Chris suggested it as a substitute in the previous issue of GI News with his biscotti recipe.

If you substitute olive for canola, make sure you use a light or regular oil not extra virgin. It should be OK.

Anonymous said...

You may painfully regret, only to realise that it is too late.

i don't get this??? and you don't know how to spell. By the way it's never too late. Only time will tell when it comes to the "perfect girl"
isn't that right christopher?