ONE FOR THE TABLE: Home-cooked takeout: A recipe for shrimp fried rice

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Home-cooked takeout. It's an oxymoron, but you know what it means.

There are loads of articles in cooking and health magazines touting the benefits of making your own takeout favorites. It's no surprise. At-home takeout is more affordable, healthier and often tastes better.

Without a doubt, my favorite takeout food is Chinese and Thai, which unfortunately is usually loaded with sodium and excess fat from oil. So I often make my own.

With a few tweaks, fried rice can easily become a healthier takeout dish. In this recipe for Shrimp Brown Fried Rice, brown rice and added vegetables boost fiber and complex carbohydrates while reduced-sodium soy sauce and unsalted cashews keep sodium levels in check. Boldly flavored toasted sesame oil is more flavorful than regular sesame oil, so less is needed without sacrificing flavor.

Shrimp Brown Fried Rice

Makes 6-8 side servings.

3 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 2 whole eggs and two egg whites)

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 1/2-2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided

24 medium shrimp, deveined, cleaned, and tails removed (about 2/3-3/4 pound)

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 small red or green chili, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 cups cold cooked brown rice

3/4 cup frozen peas

3 tablespoons unsalted cashews

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

Sliced green onions, for garnish

1. Place a small frying pan coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Add eggs; cook until nearly set. Flip once, and cook until set and no longer runny. Set aside. Cool and cut into small strips.

2. In a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger; set aside.

3. In a wok or large, wide, deep pan, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil over high heat. Cook shrimp until bright red, but not browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

4. In same wok or pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Sauté shallots and chili for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add red bell pepper for 1 minute. Add brown rice, and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Add soy sauce mixture and stir. Return shrimp to pan. Add eggs and peas and stir until well combined and heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cashews and cilantro. Garnish with sliced green onions, and serve immediately.

(Susan Russo is a freelance food writer in San Diego. She publishes stories, recipes and photos on her cooking blog, Food Blogga. One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics, and love.

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