To stir with love

By Ching-He Huang

Mission: healthy stir-fries. All you need is a wok, a knife, a chopping board. TV chef and author Ching-He Huang presents a preview of her new book.

Spicy saucy mushroom chow mein

 

A quick, simple midweek supper that’s delicious and packs a punch. I love using oyster mushrooms, but you can use your favourite variety or a mixture.

SERVES 2

 

404 CALS PER SERVING

 

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 small garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped

2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 large red cayenne chilli, deseeded and sliced

200g oyster mushrooms

120g baby pak choy, leaves separated

1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

300g cooked egg noodles (150g uncooked)

 

FOR THE SPICY SAUCE

 

100ml cold water

1 tbsp chilli bean paste or chilli bean sauce

2 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce

1 tsp soft brown sugar

1 tbsp cornflour

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

 

● Whisk together all the ingredients for the Sichuan spicy sauce in a small jug or bowl, then set aside.

 

● Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking, then add the rapeseed oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute, then add the pak choy leaves and Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry and toss for 1 minute.

 

● Add the spicy sauce and bring to the boil. Add the cooked egg noodles and toss together until the sauce coats all the noodles and the noodles are warmed through. Serve immediately.

 

Aubergines in spicy peanut sauce

 

Hot, salty-savoury and nutty, for me, this is the perfect comfort dish. Serve the aubergines with wheat noodles or steamed jasmine rice.

 

SERVES 2

 

192 CALS PER SERVING

 

1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus 1 tsp

300g purple aubergine, sliced into 1cm x 3cm strips

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

 

FOR THE SAUCE

 

1 tsp smooth peanut butter

1 tbsp chilli bean paste (sometimes called chilli bean sauce)

1 tsp sesame paste, such as tahini

2 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce

1 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp cornflour

50ml cold water

 

TO SERVE

 

1 spring onion, finely sliced

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

 

● Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a jug, then set aside. Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking and add the tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Add the aubergine strips and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes while adding small drops of water to soften the aubergine – about 100ml in total. As the water evaporates, keep adding more. Once softened, push the aubergines to one side of the wok and add the remaining teaspoon of rapeseed oil. Fry the sliced chilli for a few seconds, then season with the Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry.

 

● Give the sauce a stir, then add to the wok and cook gently, stirring and tossing all the ingredients together until the sauce is heated through and has coated the aubergines – about 2 minutes.

 

● Garnish with the spring onion and toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

 

My posh fried rice

 

My personal favourite version of the classic dish. You can dress it up or down and even use leftovers, if you like.

SERVES 2

 

576 CALS PER SERVING

 

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten

4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely diced

50g cooked fresh small shrimps

50g cooked smoked or honey roast ham or Chinese roast pork, diced

300g cooked jasmine rice (150g uncooked)

100g fresh white crabmeat

1 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

pinch of sea salt flakes

pinch of ground white pepper

1 spring onion, finely sliced, to garnish

chilli sauce, to serve (optional)

 

● Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking, then add 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil. Pour in the beaten eggs and leave to settle for 1-2 minutes, then, using a wooden spoon, stir to lightly scramble it. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

 

● Return the wok to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Add the mushrooms, small shrimps and ham or Chinese roast pork and toss for 30 seconds. Add the rice and mix well until the rice has broken down.

 

● Return the scrambled eggs to the wok, add the crabmeat and season with the light soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and white pepper to taste. Toss well to ensure the seasoning has coated all the rice grains evenly.

 

● Garnish with sliced spring onion and serve immediately with some chilli sauce on the side, if you like.

 

Hot sweet and sour chicken

 

All my favourite flavours in one dish. You can serve the spiralised courgettes raw or toss them in at the end to heat through if you prefer. Alternatively, serve the chicken with steamed greens and jasmine rice. Whichever way you go, enjoy!

SERVES 2

 

432 CALS PER SERVING

 

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2.5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks

2 medium red chillies, deseeded and sliced

250g boneless chicken thighs, sliced into 1cm x 2.5cm strips

1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

250g spiralised courgettes

sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

 

FOR THE SAUCE

 

50ml mirin

1 tsp chilli bean paste or chilli bean sauce

2 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp runny honey

 

● Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, then set aside.

 

● Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking and add the rapeseed oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and toss for a few seconds to release their aroma. Add the chicken and let it settle for 15 seconds to sear and brown, then flip it over and cook for 1 minute. As it starts to brown, add the Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

 

● Pour in the sauce and stir-fry until it has reduced and is thick and glossy.

 

● Divide the spiralised courgettes between two plates, arrange the chicken on top, sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds for a nutty garnish and serve immediately.

 

Chilli peanut lamb

 

An addictive, spicy dish that will leave you wanting more. Perfect served with steamed greens and steamed jasmine rice.

SERVES 2

 

412 CALS PER SERVING

 

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 whole dried chillies

½ tsp ground dry-toasted Sichuan peppercorns

250g lamb fillet, sliced into thin strips

1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

drizzle of toasted sesame oil

dash of chilli oil

handful of dry roasted peanuts

small handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped (optional)

 

FOR THE SAUCE

 

1 tsp chilli bean paste

1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

1 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce

1 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar

50ml cold water

1 tsp cornflour

 

● Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small jug, then set aside.

 

● Heat a wok over a high heat and add the rapeseed oil. When the wok is smoking, add the dried chillies and ground Sichuan peppercorns and toss for a few seconds. Add the lamb strips and leave to sear on one side for 3 seconds, then flip them over. As the meat starts to turn brown, add the Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry.

 

● Stir the sauce, then pour into the wok and mix well for 5 seconds. Once the sauce thickens and gives a shine to the lamb, drizzle with some toasted sesame oil and chilli oil and toss through some dry roasted peanuts and finely chopped coriander, if using.

 

● Take off the heat and transfer to a serving plate.

 

Thai-style orange beef

 

I love the sweet, pungent flavours of Thai cuisine combined with Chinese spicing – they work perfectly together. Add cooked wide rice noodles at the end, if you like, and toss through some cashews for a protein-rich crunch.

SERVES 2

 

476 CALS PER SERVING

 

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 large red onion, finely sliced into wedges

1 stalk of lemongrass, finely grated

1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced

pinch of ground black pepper

 

FOR THE BEEF

 

2 x 200g sirloin steaks, fat trimmed off, sliced into 1cm thick strips

½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder

pinch of sea salt flakes

pinch of ground black pepper

1 tbsp cornflour

 

FOR THE SAUCE

 

1 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp caster sugar

juice of 1 large orange

juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp cornflour

 

TO SERVE

 

2 spring onions, finely sliced

small handful of fresh mint leaves

small handful of fresh coriander leaves

watercress leaves, to serve

sriracha chilli sauce (or your favourite, optional)

 

● Place all the ingredients for the beef in a bowl and toss together, then set aside.

 

● Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a jug and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

 

● Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking and add the rapeseed oil. Add the red onion and stir-fry for 10 seconds until it starts to soften. Add the grated lemongrass and red chilli and toss for a few seconds, then add the beef and sear and brown for 10 seconds. Flip the beef over and toss for 20 seconds until the beef is coloured and seared on the outside but is still medium on the inside (cook for another minute if you want it well done).

 

● Pour in the sauce and toss for 30 seconds until the beef is well-coated and has absorbed the flavours in the pan. Season with ground black pepper.

 

● Take off the heat immediately and transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with the spring onions, fresh herbs and watercress and toss at the table before eating. If you like a little extra spice, serve with a side of your favourite chilli sauce.

 

Sichuan chicken & aubergine

 

You can also use tofu, minced pork or shiitake mushrooms for this recipe instead of chicken, and serve it with steamed jasmine rice. It’s delish!

 

SERVES 2

 

365 CALS PER SERVING

 

200g boneless chicken thighs, sliced into 1cm strips

pinch of sea salt flakes

pinch of ground white pepper

1 tsp cornflour

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

200g aubergine, sliced into batons

2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 tbsp chilli bean paste or chilli bean sauce

1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

1 spring onion, finely sliced, to garnish

 

FOR THE SAUCE

 

100ml cold vegetable stock

1 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce

1 tbsp Chinkiang black rice or balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp cornflour

 

● Place the chicken in a bowl and season with the salt, white pepper and cornflour and stir to combine.

 

● Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a jug, then set aside.

 

● Heat a wok over a high heat and, as the wok starts to smoke, add 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil. Add the aubergine and stir-fry for 5 minutes until softened and brown. During this process, keep adding 50ml of water in small drops around the edge of the wok to create some steam to help cook and soften the aubergine. When soft and cooked, transfer to a plate and set aside.

 

● Return the wok to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and chilli bean sauce and cook together for a few seconds. Add the chicken strips and cook for 1 minute until they start to turn brown and opaque, then season with the rice wine or dry sherry and stir-fry for 3 minutes until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

 

● Return the aubergines to the wok, pour in the sauce and simmer on a medium heat for 3 minutes. Sprinkle the spring onion over and serve immediately.

 

 

Sichuan French beans with chilled tofu

 

I love the contrast between the hot, spicy beans and the chilled silken tofu. Serve with steamed rice or enjoy simply on its own. If you like, you can present the cubed tofu as a single block for sharing.

SERVES 2

 

276 CALS PER SERVING

 

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

1 tsp ground dry-toasted Sichuan peppercorns

1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

200g French beans, sliced into 5mm rounds

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp clear rice vinegar or cider vinegar

1 tbsp low-sodium light soy sauce

1 tbsp chilli oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

400g ready-to-eat, firm silken tofu, drained and sliced into 1cm cubes, chilled for 20 minutes

small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped, to garnish

 

● Heat a wok over a high heat and, as the wok starts to smoke, add the rapeseed oil. Add the ginger, Sichuan pepper and red chilli and toss for a few seconds.

 

● Add the French beans and toss well, then add a small splash of cold water to create some steam to help cook the beans. Toss for 2-3 minutes until the beans are tender, then season with the lemon juice, vinegar, light soy sauce and the chilli and toasted sesame oils and take off the heat.

 

● Place the chilled silken tofu in a bowl or on a platter. Pour the beans over, garnish with the chopped coriander and serve immediately