Low fodmap Chinese takeaway style crispy chilli beef

I do love a Chinese takeaway. A tasty Friday night treat after a long week.

But, as always, it’s pretty hard to find any food on the menu that doesn’t have those pesky fodmaps hidden somewhere. The main culprits in Chinese food are gluten and garlic, although there are options you can go for that are safe after a few easy alterations.

It’s still a risk though, so I’ve been busy experimenting, trying to work out low fodmap Chinese takeaway style recipes that hit the spot.

The spring rolls are my current nemesis, but after playing with some different flour mixes, I think I’ve almost cracked it (once I’ve figured out how to make it stop sticking to the table!!).

In the meantime, here’s one of my more successful recipes: crispy chilli beef. Completely devoid of nearly all nutritional goodness, but delicious and a yummy treat all the same! Enjoy!

Ingredients

4 servings

  • 300 g steak
  • 100 g cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon chinese 5 spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 litre oil, for frying
  • 2 red chillis (you can use 1 tsp chilli paste if you prefer)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 spring onion (green parts only), thinly sliced
  • 25 g ginger, thinly sliced (you can use 1 tsp ginger paste if you prefer)
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic infused oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce (some brands have garlic in them, but Lingham’s is low fodmap)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup (here’s a link to some low fodmap ketchup)
  • spring onion (green parts only), to garnish
  • red chilli, to garnish

Method

  1. Slice the steak into really thin strips and pop into a bowl along with the cornflour, five spice, salt and pepper. Give it all a good mix until the steak is well coated.
  2. Carefully heat the oil in a deep saucepan or deep fat fryer until it reaches 190°C. If you’re using a saucepan, please make sure you keep an eye on it constantly and keep all pan handles pointed in a direction that they can’t be knocked. If the oil starts to smoke, immediately take it off the heat.
  3. Very gently, place the coated beef strips into the oil, making sure to keep your fingers far away from the hot oil. Fry for about 5 minutes, or until they’re crispy and golden brown.
  4. Use a metal spoon or spatula to remove the beef strips from the oil and lie them,on some kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil.
  5. In the meantime, pour the garlic infused oil into a frying pan. Fry the carrots, chilies/chilli paste, spring onion, peppers and ginger/ginger paste over a medium heat until they start to soften, but not fully cooked.
  6. In a mug mix together the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, red wine vinegar, and tomato ketchup and then tip into the saucepan along with the beef strips and stir until it starts to thicken.

Garnish with spring onion and red chilies and enjoy!

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My sibo journey update with a chicken soup recipe chucked in!


This week I started the long journey to heal my SIBO. I had an appointment with my consultant and he’s started me on Rifaximin, a specialised antibiotic that works solely in the gut. He’s also chucked in some potent vitamins and a very strict version of the low fodmap diet. After just a few days I’m already feeling much better. Here’s to hoping that it’s not a placebo effect!

I’m nervous that this dose is only for two weeks and that it might not fully heal me, in fact I’m expecting it not to. I know how long this journey can be, I’ve been on it for years already.

He also thinks I have delayed gastric emptying otherwise known as gastroparesis. This is where my diabetes has damaged and paralysed the nerves in my stomach to the extent that doing its job is becoming difficult. This would explain a lot of my symptoms but is just another diagnosis I don’t want…

Having answers is always helpful though, so I’ll willingly go through the cameras and x-rays if it means I can get my life back.

After the week I’d had, this weekend I just tucked myself away in bed and let myself rest. I really needed it. I also made some nourishing chicken soup using the leftovers from a roast chicken. It was easy on the tummy, tasted good and soothed me, so I thought I’d share it with you too!

 

Ingredients

  • Chicken, either left over from your roast, or fresh will do, diced or shredded
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • ½ swede, diced
  • 1 courgette, diced
  • 3 parsnips, diced
  • ½ celeriac, diced
  • The green tops of 6 spring onions
  • ½ tbsp. Garlic infused oil
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp yeast extract
  • Low fodmap stock cubes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Method

Throw all of the veg and chicken into a deep pan and drizzle over the garlic infused oil. Let is simmer gently whilst you boil the kettle.

Pour enough hot water over the veg until it’s completely covered and mix in the rest of the ingredients, except for the fresh herbs.

Let is simmer gently for up to 1 hour. Once the veg is soft, season and throw in all of the fresh herbs.

Enjoy!

Low fodmap minestrone soup


I’ve always loved a good chunky vegetable broth. It’s so comforting and packed full of goodness . My Baba (Ukrainian grandmother) makes the BEST vegetable and noodle soup! It’s like medicine for the soul.

Minestrone soup makes me feel the same way. So much love, attention and honest, simple ingredients go into making it. There are so many different ways of making it and hundreds of different family recipes but this recipe is my way. 

Ingredients

  • 500g Passata
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp Garlic infused oil
  • Half a swede
  • 3 carrots
  • 150g gluten free pasta
  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil 
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 100ml white wine
  • Low fodmap stock – enough to cover
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp cornflour 
  • 3 leaves of spring greens
  • Fresh basil (optional)

Method

  1. Dice all of the veg and throw them into a deep casserole dish or saucepan.
  2. Tip in all of the other ingredients except for the pasta and the cornflour. Pour over enough stock to cover everything.
  3. Simmer until the veg is soft then tip in the pasta.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, mix the cornflour with a splash of water then slowly pour into the soup whilst stirring continuously.
  5. Check the seasoning and mix in some salt and pepper if you fancy it! 

Enjoy! It’s great to take as a packed lunch to reheat at work and will last up to 5 days in the fridge! 

Low fodmap butternut squash and sweet potato soup


Since starting my low fodmap diet I’ve felt amazing. In only two weeks I’ve gone from looking 9 months pregnant to maybe around 4 months (I’m not actually pregnant in case you hadn’t already guessed). For the first time in years I’m not going out covered in a massive cardigan and scarf to hide my tummy. My body is looking so much more in proportion and the blinding pain is disappearing rapidly.

I feel the best I’ve felt in a very VERY long time.

I’ve also learnt to trust carbs again. They’ve always been a bit of a fear food for me as everyone tells you not to eat them. But since going low fodmap, potatoes have become a big part of my life again. They don’t hurt me, they don’t make me ill and they take away all those horrible cravings I would have on low carb diets. The way I see it everything in moderation. And before you ask, upping my carbs hasn’t made me put on weight, the opposite in fact!

I’m a big fan of low fodmap. Yes, it is very restrictive but after years of trying different diets out in a vain attempt to fix myself, the fodmap diet hasn’t been too intimidating.

Once you figure out what you can have and stop focussing on what you can’t it becomes much easier to manage.

The main downside however, to the fodmap diet is that it’s impossible to buy readymade food. The onion and garlic restriction is a huge bummer. Grabbing a pot of soup from the supermarket for a quick lunch is now a thing of the past. So I decided to come up with a recipe of my own and, as my husband always says as he steals a few chips from my plate, sharing is caring! So here you go:

Ingredients

1 Butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped

The green tops of 6 spring onions (only the green bit is low fodmap)

A big bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped

1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

250g passata

1-2 tbsp garlic infused oil (the only garlic thing allowed on fodmap)

2 tbsp lime juice, more if you like it sharp!

1 tin of coconut milk

Fodmap friendly stock or if you can’t get any/make any just use water and make sure to season with salt and pepper

Method

Gently fry the veg in the garlic infused oil until slightly softened. Pour over in the coconut milk and passata and then top up with enough stock/water to cover the veg. Chuck in the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer gently until the veg has softened.

Blend and it’s ready to serve. This can be kept in the fridge for a few days and is great for lunches or a quick dinner.

So you’ve got SIBO…

I’ve had a stomach ache for 24 years.

What started as colic, then ‘just growing pains’, then a particularly nasty case of appendicitis, then a wheat intolerance, then type 2 diabetes quickly re-diagnosed as type 1 diabetes, then anorexia, then diabulimia, then post viral fatigue, then every food intolerance under the sun has finally been diagnosed as SIBO. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth. And I’m so relieved.

After a life time of pain, tiredness, discomfort and hiding behind baggy jumpers and a big scarf I finally know why.

My lovely parents tried all sorts when I was growing up, eliminating then testing certain foods from my diet, taking me to specialists and consultants all over the place, ferrying me back and forth from hospital and appointments. They were and still are incredible and amazingly supportive.

My pain has never really made sense, always ticking most but not all of the boxes of various things. We’ve been circling the idea of a leaky gut, autoimmune reactions, bad bacteria but never hit the nail on the head for years. Eventually I went and cried at a poor GP and he sent me off to the gastro clinic. For the first time in my life the consultant listened properly and then very confidently told me he was going to get me better.

He then sent me for every gastro test necessary, trust me you don’t need the details..

Finding the time to go to these appointments with a full time job in London and a husband who often works away overseas wasn’t easy. My friends were amazing at helping out and if I didn’t have an inappropriate amount of love for them already, I do now!

And now I have my answer. Sibo. And it’s treatable.

I’m now booked in to see my consultant and we’re going to get busy treating this beast. I feel so positive. I can finally get my life back.

For so many years I’ve felt trapped in a body that was shutting down and would never get better.

I lived my life having to go from work straight to bed and either leave social events early or not go at all. I removed all the mirrors in our house because I couldn’t face looking at my painful, bloated stomach. I wore a scarf to hide my stomach every day, even in the 34 degree heat. All food made me sick and I’d be melting into my desk at work even after the smallest of lunches from brainfog. I would be suffocated by the bloating of my own stomach pushing and restricting my lungs. Walking upstairs made my heart feel like it was going to collapse and don’t get me started on the guilt, depression and anxiety. I felt like such a burden on my lovely, supportive husband.

And now I can fix it all. No more hiding.

I’ve already started the recommended fodmap diet and after only 3 days my bloating has halved and I have energy. I feel like me again. It’s not an easy diet to follow but if it can do that much in 3 days then it’s worth it!

I’m so excited for what’s to come.