Top 10 tips for healthy Chinese cooking
Celebrity chef, Ching-He Huang, was taught the basic philosophies of Chinese cuisine at a young age, and champions the importance of using fresh ingredients and healthy cooking techniques. Here, Ching-He shares her passion for nutritious Chinese cooking and passes on her tips for making your own healthy and authentic dishes at home...
This popular cooking technique retains the nutrients of the ingredients due to the quick cooking method. You only need a small amount of oil, lean meat or fish and lots of seasonal veggies for a delicious supper. By eating within the seasons we are eating what is optimally nutritious. Food that has travelled miles will not be as fresh and therefore, may have lost some of its nutrition. Like it hot? Throw in spices too.
2. Use plenty of garlic, ginger and chilli
There are massive health benefits to using this tasty trio - garlic is good for the heart, ginger aids digestion and chillies are full of vitamins. Stir-fry for a few seconds with your favourite ingredients and give your immune system a boost.
3. Dim Sum
These bite-sized portions of deliciousness are not only simple to make using bought wonton skins or by making a simple dumpling dough, but they're healthy and look so elegant served in their bamboo baskets. Opt for the steamed variety.
4. Healthy soups
Healthy broth soups are easy to make and are delicious. All you'll need for a light but filling supper is boiling water, organic vegetable bouillon, dried Chinese mushrooms, spring onions, chicken thighs, and your favourite seasonal veg.
5. Make sauces from scratch
Learn how to make your own black bean sauce from fermented salted black beans, light soy and stock. It's healthier than shop bought and you can control the amount of sodium (salt) and sugar that you put into it.
6. Tasty tofu dishes
You don't have to be vegetarian to embrace tofu as an ingredient. Made from soya beans, it's not only high in protein and calcium, but it has an exceptional ability to absorb flavours through spices and marinades, making a truly tasty addition to a stir-fry.
7. Flavour enhancers - dried ingredients
To deepen flavours and enrich stews and stocks, Chinese tradition champions dried ingredients, such as mushrooms, shrimps, clams, herbs and spices. These are great natural flavour enhancers, avoiding the need for MSG, which some Chinese foods have been known to contain.
8. Basic and natural food sources
When you buy food, keep it natural. Food should never come out of a box - even your sauces. For example, black bean sauce is made from fermented black beans, soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans and salt, chilli bean paste is made from fermented chillies, soy or broad beans and salt. Knowing what is going into your food, and therefore your body, is very important.
9. Ying and Yang
Be aware of what you're eating, and keep it balanced. Sugar, salt and fats are OK in small, balanced amounts - but don't overdo it. Get your sugar hit from fresh fruit, buy lean poultry and sustainable fish and shellfish. Watch the amount of red meat you consume and always buy organic meats if possible. These options are good for you, and will make your meals taste great too.
10. Noodles and rice
Choose rice noodles or mung bean noodles if you want to watch the amount of carbohydrates you consume and opt for fibre-rich brown rice over white refined rice.
Find out more about Ching-He Huang on her website
Try out Ching-He's tips in our favourite Chinese recipes