How Many Calories in Oriental Beef?
Beef is beef, and whether you cook oriental beef or whether you prepare it any other way, the calorie count varies according to what cut of beef it is, and what the content is.
If you prepare your own recipe from the many available on the internet, it is easy to figure out the calories. Many are given for you. This one from McCormick, Oriental Beef Stir-Fry has 263 calories, but that doesn’t include the rice that most people like to eat with Chinese food.
There are various low calories frozen meals that offer oriental beef dishes for 200 - 300 calories.
For example, Lean Cuisine has 200 calories in its Oriental Beef Stir-Fry, Stouffers Café Classics Oriental Beef has 210 calories and Healthy Choice Oriental Style Beef has 300 calories.
Let’s break down the calories that we are really talking about if we eat this dish in a Chinese Restaurant where it is harder to count calories. For the argument’s sake we can ignore vegetables and mushrooms, because those are generally low in calories and they vary by chef and by restaurant. Here is a chart that shows how many calories are in some common cuts of beef. You can see that the amount of calories in beef, as well as the amount of fat, varies by cut. If you are not sure what beef is used you should err on the conservative and assume the highest calorie count.
Chinese chefs often use peanut oil rather than the healthier olive oil. Also, bear in mind that oriental cooking is high in soy sauce. Soy sauce has 15 calories in 1 tablespoon, but those 15 calories are cram-packed with salt. 1 tablespoon of soy sauce will provide 25% of required sodium in 15 tiny calories, so keep that in mind when you are pouring on that great Chinese flavor! Chinese sauces are often thickened with cornstarch, and finally they are usually served with rice. So adding all this up we get:
Beef, 3.5 oz 330 calories
2 tablespoons soy sauce 30 calories
2 teaspoons of peanut oil 80 calories
1 tablespoon of cornstarch 30 calories
1 cup plain boiled or steamed rice 240 calories
TOTAL 710 calories (plus vegetables + mushrooms)
That’s quite a bit more than you will find in the frozen oriental beef entrees. If you throw in a glass of wine and an egg roll or some hot and sour soup you will quickly be over the 1000 mark. The best way to satisfy your appetite for oriental beef, get a meal that has a reasonably sized portion and still keep the calorie count low, is probably to make your own. You will get to control the ingredients from the cut of meat to the oil used, pile on the vegetables, and regulate the soy sauce.
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