Look to Asia for healthy, tasty vegan dishes

Healthy eating: TV chef Ching-He Huang’s life-changing new way of cooking

Taiwan-born TV chef and food writer Ching-He Huang.

Taiwan-born TV chef and food writer Ching-He Huang.

 

As a British Chinese TV chef and food writer, I’ve penned nine cookbooks, appeared on TV shows that have aired around the globe, even received an MBE last year for services to the culinary arts. But to date, I have to say I’m most proud of my latest achievement, Asian Green.

January is Health Month in The Irish Times. Throughout the month, in print and online, we will be offering encouragement and inspiration to help us all improve our physical and mental health in 2021. See irishtimes.com/health
January is Health Month in The Irish Times. Throughout the month, in print and online, we will be offering encouragement and inspiration to help us all improve our physical and mental health in 2021. See irishtimes.com/health

This book is inspired by the vegan diet that healed my husband’s asthma (which he has suffered from since birth). Since adopting a plant based diet he no longer needs his inhaler and preventative, and he is healthy and stronger than ever. We really do not know enough about the power of plants and their ability to heal us through healthy eating.

I was born in Taiwan, and am best known for Chinese family-style home-cooking using wholesome ingredients (a diet that is rich in predominantly animal products). So you can imagine, my husband’s health transformation has been a revelation to myself and my family.

This book is a compilation of our family favourite plant based recipes. Whether you are new to plant based eating or you are fully plant based, or a flexitarian, I hope you it will inspire you to pick up the wok.

Asian Green is published by Kyle Books on February 11th.

The inspiration for these recipes hails from all across Asia (and beyond), from my Korean-style veggie ram-don, to French bean mapo tofu, to Hawaiian waikiki bowl, Japanese inari pockets to today’s red-cooked smoked tofu, aubergine and potato stew.

This is a frugal stew of baby aubergines and potato, cooked down in a soy liquid flavoured with star anise. I have also included Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon, plenty of ginger, chilli and rock sugar. ‘Red-cooked’ is a Chinese term for this type of braised cooking technique, where the soy and sugar give a deep dark red shine to the cooking liquid as well as the ingredients.

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Thank you for allowing me to share some of these with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them. So from my family table to yours, wishing you happy healthy wokking and eating always.

chinghehuang.com, @chinghehuang

Red-cooked Smoked Tofu, Aubergine and Potato Stew

Serves 4
kcal - 570; carbs - 112.0g; protein - 18.2g; fat - 8.8g

Ingredients
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
1 whole dried chilli
300g baby aubergines, trimmed and sliced into 1.5cm rounds
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
3 star anise
2 large cinnamon sticks
5 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
50g rock sugar or 2-3 tbsp light brown sugar
500g potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2cm chunks
200g smoked tofu, drained, rinsed in cold water and sliced into 1cm chunks
Cooked jasmine rice, to serve
2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced into 1cm rounds, to garnish
Small handful of coriander, chopped

Method

1 Place a wok over a high heat until smoking, then add the rapeseed oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds to release its aroma. Next add the dried chilli, followed by the aubergine slices. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

2 Add 800ml (1½ pints) water, along with the Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon, both soy sauces and the rock sugar or light brown sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes until the aubergine is tender.

3 Meanwhile, fill a separate pan with boiling water and add the potatoes. Boil them over a medium heat for 15 minutes until softened. Drain and add the potatoes to the aubergine mixture. Finally, add the tofu and cook for 10 minutes.

4 Garnish with the spring onions and coriander and serve with jasmine rice.

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