Monday, 30 November -0001

Wok yourself to health

You don’t have to eat more stodge at Easter – combine east and west in your cuisine and discover a whole new repertoire of deliciously healthy recipes, says Ching-He Huang

Written by Ching-He Huang
As a cook promoting food on television, I felt inclined to make nutritious dishes for taste, health and wellbeing, but I admit that health was not always the priority. However, seeing widespread health issues, and having had my own bout of ill health, I felt I could no longer justify creating recipes to entice people simply to fall in love with Chinese cuisine and culture. I have never used a lot of butter or sugar in my cooking, but it could be cleaner and healthier. We could all eat better and my recipes are the first step to reminding myself and sharing with others the importance of eating well.

Today people are suffering from more diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and from allergies, than ever before. I wanted to create recipes that would be useful and practical every day, in every season, knowing that the quantities have been measured for salt, sugar, fat and calories. Traditional Chinese dietary advice follows the principle of yin and yang. Thousands of years of Chinese medical research points to eating and living in harmony with nature – a healthy diet relies on a balance of fresh, seasonal ingredients, raw and cooked, hot and cold.

Raw foods are deemed ‘cleansing’; cooked foods are considered ‘nourishing’, with some ingredients being more ‘healing’ than others. By eating a diet made up of 80 per cent plant-based foods and 20 per cent organic meat, fish, dairy and eggs, you will be well on your way to good health.

I wish you clean eating and happy, healthy wokking!

Eat Clean: Wok Yourself To Health, by Ching-He Huang, with photography by Myles New, is published by Harper Thorsons Trade, priced £16.99.

Steamed Chinese sesame chicken with supergreen salad(pictured above)

This dish is low in fat. Chicken is lovely and succulent when steamed, and extremely healthy. It provides lean, low-fat protein, which is ideal for muscle growth and regeneration. The salad is fresh and zingy with both the kale and pak choy being low in fat and excellent sources of vitamins A, C and K, which neutralise free radicals and help to build strong bones. Red cabbage adds a nice crunch and is rich in vitamin A (good for eyesight, skin and immune function). It’s packed with vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, has lots of fibre and keeps you fuller for longer, helping to maintain a healthy weight.

Per serving: Cals, 329; Protein (g), 35.7; Carbs (g), 15.5; Sugars (g), 13.6; Fat (g), 14.6; Sat Fat (g), 2.2; Fibre (g), 10; Sodium (mg), 547

Serves 1
  • 1 free-range or organic skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1cm strips 
  • ½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 spring onion, topped and tailed, white and green parts separated and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp black and white toasted sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)

For the salad

  • 100g kale, washed and shredded
  • 50g pak choy, washed and shredded
  • ½ medium carrot, peeled and cut into julienne strips
  • 50g red cabbage, washed and shredded
  • ½ orange, peeled and segmented

For the dressing

  • 1 tsp freshly grated peeled root ginger
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp low-sodium light soy sauce or tamari 
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper

Place the chicken strips, sesame oil, five-spice powder and whites of the spring onion in a bowl and mix. Place on a heatproof plate that fits inside a bamboo steamer and steam for 10 minutes until cooked through.

While the chicken is steaming, steam the kale for 30 seconds, then rinse under cold running water for 30 seconds. Drain and dry. Add to the rest of the salad ingredients, toss together and chill in the fridge.

Just before serving, whisk all the dressing ingredients together with the green parts of the spring onion and pour over the salad ingredients (reserving a teaspoon for the chicken).

Remove the chicken from the steamer, transfer to a serving plate and pour the reserved dressing over. Garnish with the sesame seeds, if you like, and eat with the salad.

Nourishing mixed seafood miso broth


Prawns and mussels are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Prawns also contain calcium, for strong bones, and selenium, which helps to prevent the growth of cancer cells. Mussels contain high amounts of vitamins B (particularly B12) and folate, as well as iron, phosphorus, manganese, selenium and zinc. Squid is also full of high-quality protein and contains 80% of your daily copper requirement, which is needed for the formation of red blood cells. It is also a good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B12.

Per serving: Cals, 343; Protein (g), 29.4; Carbs (g), 49.4; Sugars (g), 0.8; Fat (g), 3; Sat Fat (g), 0.5; Fibre (g), 0.9; Sodium (mg), 867

Serves 1

  • 500ml cold water
  • ½ tbsp yellow miso paste 
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated peeled root ginger 
  • 50g vermicelli mung bean noodles 
  • 1 large handful of baby pak choy (white stem variety), washed and leaves separated
  • 75g fresh, medium-sized tiger prawns, shelled with head off, tail on, cleaned and deveined
  • 50g baby squid, tentacles separated, body sliced into thirds to give squid rings
  • 50g Greenland or live mussels, cleaned and debearded (discard any shells that are broken, or open and do not close when tapped sharply on the work surface)
  • 1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp low-sodium light soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 pinch of ground white pepper 
  • 1 small handful of coriander, roughly chopped, to garnish

Pour the water into a medium wok and bring to the boil. Add the miso paste and ginger and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the mung bean noodles and pak choy, then all the seafood, and cook for 1 minute (2-3 minutes if using live mussels) until the shells have opened. Discard any mussels that remain closed. Season with the rice wine, soy sauce or tamari, salt and white pepper. Transfer to a warmed, deep bowl, garnish with the coriander and eat immediately.

Raw broccoli, crushed pine nuts, dates and ginger soy honey lettuce wraps

Broccoli and cauliflower make up the base for the dish and are overflowing with fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Dates add pops of sweetness and are rich in protein, iron, potassium and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, A1 and C. Pine nuts provide a nice contrast to the dates and are an excellent source of protein, which we need for growth and repair. This dish can also be turned into the perfect light supper.

Per serving: Cals, 355; Protein (g), 11.3; Carbs (g), 23.9; Sugars (g), 22.7; Fat (g), 24.4; Sat Fat (g), 1.9; Fibre (g), 7.8; Sodium (mg), 113

Serves 2

  • 2 small heads Little Gem lettuce (use the larger leaves, reserve the small inner leaves for another salad)
  • 100g cauliflower florets, washed, roughly chopped and shredded
  • 200g broccoli florets, washed, roughly chopped and shredded
  • 1 small handful of shredded red cabbage, washed and drained 
  • 50g pine nuts, crushed
  • 50g dates, stoned and finely chopped
  • 1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

For the dressing

  • 2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp manuka honey 
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

Separate and wash the lettuce leaves, then drain them and place on a platter.

Combine all the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl.

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a separate small bowl, then add to the salad ingredients and toss to mix well.

Spoon the mixture onto the lettuce leaves and serve immediately.

Cooks Note: You can prepare the vegetables in a food processor, if you like.


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