Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Join Me for Lunch!

As part of The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature, I’ll be demonstrating some delicious recipes from my new book, Ching’s Fast Food, at a lunchtime event on Friday May 13th, 12.30pm – 2pm, at Asia House.

There’ll be plenty of chatter and sampling too, plus a goody bag for everyone who attends. It would be great if you could join me.

Tickets cost £20, concessions and Asia House Friends, £15. To book call T:020 7307 5454 or email enquiries@asiahouse.co.uk and visit Asia House for the full address and more information.


Ching x

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Easter Foodie Thoughts

As Easter approaches, many chefs turn to traditional lamb dishes, but I can’t help getting excited about chicken and eggs, not the chocolate ones – although those are good too!

Chicken has always been a favourite of mine as it’s so versatile. Chicken breast tends to be so popular, but for me there’s something very special about the juicy thigh meat, especially when making Salty Crispy Chicken served with a side of rice or chunky chips and a beer, perfect for an Easter picnic – yum.

But for something a little more suitable to enjoy with family and friends around a table, below is some chicken and egg inspiration from my new book, Ching’s Fast Food. These are light, healthy and quick recipes offering a little oriental balance if you have overdone it with the Easter eggs!


Ching x

Ps. To make sure these recipes are extra tasty and better for you – please use chickens who have had a happy life and eggs from a happy hen – and that means at least free range or organic if possible. Thank you

Oyster-sauce chicken with ginger and shiitake mushrooms

This is one of my own flavour combinations, inspired by southern Chinese dishes from regions such as Canton and Fujian, where the combination of meat and seafood is very common. I hope you like it!

Prep time: 10 minutes l Cook in: 9 minutes l Serves: 2–4 to share

Chicken & Duck

2 chicken thighs and

3 drumsticks (500g/1lb 2ozin total), skinned and the meatier parts sliced off but keeping some of the flesh on the bone (or use skinless,boneless chicken thighs)

Salt and ground white pepper

1 tbsp of potato flour or cornflour

1 tbsp of groundnut oil

2.5cm (1in) piece of root ginger, peeled and sliced

1 tbsp of Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 large spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

For the sauce

1 tbsp of light soy sauce

1 tbsp of oyster sauce

1 tbsp of chilli sauce

100ml (3½fl oz) cold vegetable stock

1. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and season with salt and

pepper. Add the potato flour or cornflour and mix well to

coat the chicken. Pour all the ingredients for the sauce into

another bowl and stir together to combine.

2. Heat a wok over a high heat until it starts to smoke and add

the groundnut oil. Add the ginger and fry for a few seconds,

then add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 4 minutes,

stirring constantly.

3. As the chicken starts to turn opaque, add the rice wine or

dry sherry and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the

sauce and bring to the boil. Tip in the shiitake mushrooms

and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the spring onions. Remove

from the heat and serve immediately.

Pak choy with carrot and garlic

Pak choy (or ‘bok choy’) is a leafy vegetable much used in Chinese cooking, especially

soups and stir-fries. I love both the green- and white-stemmed varieties.

Prep time: 5 minutes l Cook in: 4 minutes l Serves: 2–4 to share

1 tbsp of groundnut oil

1 clove of garlic, crushed and

finely chopped

1 small carrot, thinly sliced on

the diagonal

200g (7oz) baby pak choy,

leaves separated (see the

tip below)

2 pinches of coarse sea salt

1. Heat a wok over a high heat until it starts to smoke, then add

the groundnut oil and the garlic and cook for a few seconds.

Add the carrot slices and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Tip in the pak

choy leaves and toss. Add a small dash of water and cook for

1 minute. Sprinkle over the sea salt and serve immediately.

Ching’s tip

If you are using the larger, green-stemmed pak choy, then

separate the leaves from the stalks, slice the stalks and

stir-fry with the carrot for 2 minutes before adding the

leaves and stir-frying for 1 further minute.

Egg and asparagus fried rice

The first time I tried to make egg-fried rice, I made the mistake of frying rice that was freshly cooked and really moist. The result was a thick congealed porridge of egg and spring onions – disaster! I was only 11 and so my father ate it anyway. To master fried rice, check that the wok is hot enough and use leftover cooked rice if possible. If using freshly cooked rice, make sure it’s al dente rather than too soft. Make sure there is enough oil in the wok too, and try not to stab at the rice but toss it in the wok as it fries.

This is my classic egg-fried rice recipe, to which I like to add blanched sliced baby asparagus when in season, although frozen peas would work just as well.

Prep time: 5 minutes l Cook in: 8 minutes l Serves: 4 to share

100g (3½oz) baby asparagus

spears, woody ends snapped


Salt and ground white pepper

1 tbsp of groundnut oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

350g (12oz) cold leftover

cooked jasmine rice or

freshly cooked long-grain

rice (see the tips below)

2 tbsps of light soy sauce

1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil

1 large spring onion, finely


1. Blanch the asparagus spears in a saucepan of boiling salted

water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water.

Slice the cooked asparagus crossways into 5mm (¼in) pieces

and set aside.

2. Heat a wok over a high heat until it starts to smoke and then

add the groundnut oil. Add the eggs and stir for 2 minutes

to scramble, then tip in the rice and stir well in the wok to

break it up. Add the blanched asparagus pieces and toss

together well.

3. Season with the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and salt and

pepper to taste. Add the spring onion and mix well, then

remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Ching’s tips

If cooking rice to use later, make sure the cooked rice is cooled for no longer than 30 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to a bowl or plastic box, cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Only reheat/cook rice once after it has been cooked already.

If using freshly cooked rice for a fried dish, try a longgrain variety such as basmati. For this dish, use 175g (6oz) of uncooked long-grain rice (well rinsed) and boil in 350ml (12fl oz) of water until all the water is absorbed.

This will increase the cooking time by 20 minutes.