Cooking delicious and healthy Asian dishes at the White House kitchen

Cris Comerford and Ming Tsai

Cris Comerford and Ming Tsai

To promote healthy eating among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and Chef Ming Tsai have teamed up to film a cooking demonstration in the White House kitchen featuring healthy and traditional Asian recipes that follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPlate food icon.

The cooking demonstration video is a collaborative effort between the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative and the USDA to ensure that Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are aware of, can culturally relate to, and can easily adapt the dietary guidelines emulated by MyPlate.

MyPlate serves as a powerful visual cue to remind all of us to choose healthier foods among the five food groups and build healthier plates at mealtimes. It points consumers to the website where consumers can put the Dietary Guidelines into action.

“Cultural and taste preferences are important, and this MyPlate video reminds us that we can enjoy our traditional foods prepared in healthier ways. USDA is committed to empowering Americans to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and advice, through tools such as MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford, who led the cooking demonstration, was born and raised in the Philippines and has a background in AAPI cuisine. Chef Comerford has emphasized that it is possible to prepare and eat healthy and nutritious meals without losing ties to our culture.

“There’s no reason to have to sacrifice the foods we love in order to eat a healthy diet,” Comerford said.

Chef Ming Tsai agreed, “The key here is that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor, sacrifice culture, to make food that is still actually good for you.”

White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Executive Director Kiran Ahuja stated, “It is critical that AAPI communities are able to access federal resources in a culturally meaningful way. AAPIs suffer disproportionately from diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and healthier eating can be part of the way to address this issue.”

Additionally, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander children have the highest rates of any minority group for being overweight or obese and hold an elevated risk for developing cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

The video can be viewed here:

Here are some recipes from the White House kitchen

Shrimp, Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

Ingredients (serves 4):

·3 tbsp Canola Oil

·6 oz chicken breast, julienned

·1/2 lb peeled and deveined shrimp, medium, halved length wise

·1 small onion, sliced

·1 bunch scallions, sliced, 2 tbs green part saved for garnish

·6 cloves garlic, minced

·6 oz shiitake mushroom, sliced

·2 carrots, julienned

·1 cup julienned napa cabbage

·2 small bokchoy, washed and julienned

·4 cups house rice (50/50 brown/white rice combo)

·3 tbsp light tamari, wheat free soy sauce

·1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce

·1 tsp sesame oil

·Salt and pepper to taste (Note: Rice vinegar can be used in place of salt)


Pre heat a large skillet or wok on a medium heat. Turn the heat up on high and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the chicken and brown for a 1 minute, add the shrimp, cook another minute, season and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil. Then add the onion, garlic and shiitake mushroom. Stir fry quickly being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the remainder of the vegetables and toss for a couple times. Then add the rice, chicken and shrimp back, the tamari and veggie oyster sauce.

Heat through and serve family style. Garnish with scallion greens and drizzle with sesame oil.

Halo-Halo (from Tagalog word halo, “mix”) (serves 4):


·2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced

·1 ripe bananas, peeled and diced

·1 cup young coconut, fresh or canned

·1 cup ripe jackfruit, poached in light syrup, (available canned)

·1 cup, cooked beans in syrup, (available canned)

·1 cup, cooked tapioca pearls

·4 cups shaved ice

·2 cups, low fat milk

·1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·4 scoops frozen yogurt,(flavor of your choice)(Note:
non-frozen yogurt can be used as well)

·2 tbsp toasted “pinipig” (rice crispies)


In four tall glasses, place a quarter each first six ingredients. Top with a cup of shaved ice. Combine milk with vanilla extract. Pour 1/2 cup of milk on each and top with a scoop of frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with the rice crispies.

Note: Fruits could be substituted with any good seasonal or tropical fruits, such as steamed edamame or fresh pineapple.

The young Cris growing up in an extended Filipino family

The young Cris growing up in an extended Filipino family

One Comment

  1. [...] Note: Fruits could be substituted with any good seasonal or tropical fruits, such as steamed edamame or fresh pineapple.- The FilAm Metro DC [...]

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