Sunday 18 March 2018

Eating clean and green

Ditching processed food and turning to fresh produce can transform your health, according to this TV cook

TV chef Ching-he Haung. Photo: PA
TV chef Ching-he Haung. Photo: PA
Eat Clean: Wok Yourself to Health by Ching-He Huang,
Grilled baby courgettes with pineapple salsa verde
Garlic, basil, tomato and aubergine soba noodles
Wok-fried asparagus

Back in 2011, TV presenter and cookery writer Ching-He Huang began to suffer from allergic reactions, weight gain and tiredness.

As a healthy eater with a balanced diet, Taiwanese-born, London-based Huang couldn't work out the cause of her health problems, and embarked on a diet detox to combat them.

After ditching processed grub and eating 'clean' - fresh greens, salads, soups and fruit - the self-taught chef started to notice an improvement in just two weeks.

"Through a process of elimination, I found out that it wasn't the actual food or the ingredients I was allergic to, it was what the ingredients were covered or preserved in," she recalls.

Huang discovered it was sulphites - used as preservatives in the production of some food and drinks - that were giving her the reactions.

"Just like the planet, we have our own little ecosystem," the 36-year-old adds. "I thought, 'Here I am trying to get people to love Chinese cuisine, but what's more important is people's health, and eating for health', so I decided to clean my own recipes up. Because it starts with you, to share and promote this way of eating that's more mindful of one's own health."

Huang, who moved to the UK with her Chinese parents aged 11, has poured her experience and findings into a book of healthy recipes, called Eat Clean: Wok Yourself To Health.

It also contains Huang's advice on eating clean - from a diet made up of 80pc plant-based foods and 20pc organic meat, fish, dairy and eggs, to using seasonal products and reducing sugar intake - and her top 20 clean foods, which include garlic, dark leafy greens, avocado and fresh chilli. Here are three recipes to try at home.

Eat Clean: Wok Yourself To Health by Ching-He Huang (photography by Myles New) is published by Harper Thorsons

Grilled baby  courgettes with  pineapple salsa verde

Serves 1


2 baby courgettes, sliced in half, lengthways

1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 tsp rapeseed oil

1 small handful of coriander, finely chopped, to garnish

For the pineapple salsa verde:

1 shallot, crushed, peeled and finely chopped

50g pineapple, finely chopped

1 tsp freshly grated and peeled root ginger

1/2 green cayenne chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1/2 red cayenne chilli, seeds in, finely chopped

1 spring onion, sliced lengthways and finely chopped

2 tsp rapeseed oil

2 tsp low-sodium light soy sauce or tamari

3 tbsp lime juice


1. Place the courgettes in a large bowl, sprinkle with the five-spice powder and drizzle with the rapeseed oil. Toss the courgettes, making sure they are coated in the oil.

2. Heat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Place the courgette halves on the griddle, cut side down, making sure that the grill lines run across the width of the courgettes. Turn the heat down to medium and leave the courgettes to cook, without moving them, for two minutes. Turn them over and cook on the other side for two minutes.

3. While the courgettes are cooking, prepare the rest of the aromatics for the pineapple salsa verde (if you are a slow chopper, you may want to prepare the aromatics in advance of cooking the courgettes!). Once all the aromatics are prepared, place all the salsa ingredients in a jug and stir to mix.

4. When the courgettes are cooked, take them off the grill and place on a serving plate. Spoon a teaspoon of the salsa verde over each courgette half.

5. Decant the rest of the salsa verde into a small bowl to serve separately. Garnish with the chopped coriander and eat immediately.

Garlic, basil, tomato  and aubergine soba noodles

Serves 1


2 tsp rapeseed oil

1 garlic clove, crushed, peeled and finely chopped

3 large ripe tomatoes, deseeded and chopped

1/4 aubergine, washed and finely chopped

50g soba noodles

250ml water

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp low-sodium light soy sauce or tamari

1 pinch of dried chilli flakes

1 pinch of cracked black pepper

1 small bunch of basil leaves

1tsp pine nuts


1. Heat a wok over a high heat and add the rapeseed oil. Give the oil a swirl, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium, tip in the tomatoes and aubergine and cook on a low heat for 10-12 minutes until softened.

2. Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles. Bring the water to the boil in a pan and add the noodles. Cook for three minutes, then drain, refresh in cold water and drain again. Add the sesame oil to the noodles to stop them from sticking together.

3. Add the noodles to the wok and toss with the vegetables. Season with the soy sauce or tamari, the chilli flakes, black pepper and basil leaves, sprinkle on some pine nuts for a nutty taste and serve.

Wok-fried asparagus, oyster mushrooms and basil with avocado

Serves 1


1 tsp coconut oil

1 garlic clove, crushed, peeled and finely chopped

n 100g tender asparagus spears, washed and sliced in half, on an angle

50g grey oyster mushrooms, rinsed

3 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 tsp low-sodium light soy sauce

1 pinch of cracked black pepper

1 small handful of basil, sliced

1/2 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced


1. Heat a wok (or pan) over a high heat and add the coconut oil. As the oil starts to melt, swirl it around the wok.

2. Add the garlic and stir fry for a few seconds, then add the asparagus and oyster mushrooms, toss and cook for two to three minutes until the vegetables have softened a little.

3. Add the cherry tomatoes and soy sauce and toss together.

4. Season with the black pepper, then add the basil and stir through.

5. Take off the heat and serve with the avocado.

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