I don’t know about you but I remember watching the 2012 Olympics and being completely overwhelmed by the sheer athleticism of the Chinese athletes – and to make it even WORSE the vast majority of these athletes were younger than me!
So china smashes it at the Olympics – they also have it pretty sussed when it comes to food. I’m talking about the “so hot you can practically melt your wooden spoon” wok stir frying and the insanely clever use of basic ingredients to create not only delicious but also LEAN meals and who doesn’t want lean food? You do! And I know you over there do too!
Chuck out your packet sauces and your preconceived ideas about this regions cooking guys because I am going to show you how to smash the vegetables and look FORWARD to your daily dose of 5 (that’s 5 fruit and veg – for goodness sake will you keep up?!).
BEHOLD – your new lean mean frying machine – George Foreman what now? Pah, spare me…
I would put money on the fact you guys have one of these at home. You do don’t you? Well get it out the cupboard and get it on the cooker.You know, I’m sure I once heard on Saturday Kitchen that Ken Hom doesn’t ever wash his wok? He just wipes it clean and re-oils it. What a hero. Anyway, wok stir drying. This is great. Why? Because it is ridiculously quick and you can adapt any recipe to fit whatever you have in the house.
Take my dinner last night for example:
Now I realise it is fairly unusual to have leftover STEAK in the fridge but before you start giving me grief for being a la di da snob – the steak was from Lidl and I thought there was two in the packet and there was only one so I couldn’t make it for an actual MEAL for my friend. Anyway, shoosh, leftover steak! Also some really really sad looking chestnut mushrooms. I have recently adopted a terrible habit of eating the same thing for lunch AND dinner. How bloody boring is that? DEAD boring that’s how boring. So I decided to free myself from the shackles of grilled chicken and sweet potato and launch myself headlong into the uncharted territories of a RECIPE. (I talk some right rubbish don’t I, I think I am just over excited, sorry).
I tend to freestyle my cooking. A lot. i.e. I just completely make it up and hope for the best. 99% of the time it turns out golden. 1% of the time I make inedible Thai green chicken curry but we won’t talk about that. Fortunately last night fell within the 99th percentile and I NAILED it. Lovely thin strips of steak, perfectly stir fried veg and perfectly cooked noodles. Ok ok I hold my hands up and admit I overcooked the noodles. Deduct one gold star. (Like I care – I’ve got loads anyway – ner ner)
The best part about the recipe though? See that lovely sticky shiny sauce coating the lovely healthy veg? It is made up of 6 ingredients:
- Coriander seeds
- Soy Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Fresh Red chilli
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh Ginger Root
Now look guys, if you can’t smush a garlic clove through a crusher and slice a chilli then we’ve got serious problems okay?
And check this out!
Those there ingredients? They ain’t making NOBODY fat or slow. All they’re doing is making everything taste AWESOME. Oh and MORE good news – don’t have steak? Use chicken. Don’t have chicken? Use prawns. Don’t want to eat meat because you’re crazy and vegetarian? Use tofu. (Jokes – animals are our friends – calm down vegan warrior).
So – Chinese cooking, my top tips to stop you feeling scared (pansies you lot)
- Heat your wok – I mean REALLY heat it, I want smoke coming off it before you’ve even put an ingredient in there
- Pre-mix your sauce/seasoning. i.e. chop your ginger, garlic and mix with your soy and your sesame oil and dip your finger in and taste it before you chuck it all over your Bok choy (amazing veg FYI). This way you can make sure it’s not going to blow your head off with spice or put Buffy out of a job with the amount of garlic
- Further advice linked to the above, don’t be scared of big flavour, it may taste super salty or super garlicky but once it’s dispersed across that wok it will simmer down (simmer down? Get it? DAMN I’m good)
- Do not overcook your veg. I like to go with the advice that the veg should just look super bright and shiny
- You don’t need rice and noodles. Step awaaaaaaay from the carbs folks. Unless you’ve been working up a sweat in the gym or been out running then that stir fry will be just fine on it’s own – obviously if you HAVE been training then get your rice (brown – come on guys) or noodles in the bowl too
So there we have it! No excuses for “but I don’t liiiike veeeeg – it’s boooooring” – CRY ME A RIVER COMPADRES. Veg is awesome. It makes me you look and feel awesome too. Do you want to be awesome? Eat the flamin’ veg…
Oooh and one more thing… just going back to the Chinese athletes. Have you seen these guys lift weights? You know how much I love to lift some weights (they make you sexy girls – not butch – SEXY – oh and they make you sexy too boys but you cottoned onto that a long time ago)
Still scared of lifting the weights? Dunno what you’re doing? *sing song voice* guuuess who I knooow that trained to go to Chinaaaaa – ta da – Urban Energie founder Jack Braniff! Yeah the guy that taught me how to lift weights and eat for the body I wanted is also planning a trip to China in the future to train with these machines! Until then though he can be found HERE: http://www.urbanenergie.com and he can make you lift like these boys and eat like…. ME! Ha! And who wouldn’t want that?!
…..you obviously know I’m joking about the wanting to eat like me? As I have said before I am no expert, but I am here to share the wisdommyness (definitely a word) and I want you all the be fit, lean, strong, healthy and happy
….oh and if we can win some gold medals that would be awesome too. Thank you please.
For my friend Wil – thank you for the inspiration
2 thoughts on “Why the Chinese are winning…”
Looks great! What to do if you don’t have a wok? Use a frying pan?
Yeah that’ll work – or if you live anywhere near an Asian supermarket they sell amazing woks for about £10 – oh and pick up a steamer basket too, you’ll see why soon 😉