Ching-He Huang is a fresh and youthful face which might be new to those of you who have missed her cooking demonstrations on UKTV Food. She now enjoys a bit more well-earned exposure on BBC2 with a series called Chinese Food Made Easy. If you love the programmes (and who wouldn’t?) then you’ll want this sumptuous book. But who is this young lady?
Ching was born in Taiwan but moved first to South Africa and finally to the UK. Her parents ran a business and her mum was often overseas, so Ching took the responsibility for feeding the family. She was soon preparing all kinds of Chinese foods incorporating Yin and Yang – the Chinese philosophy of balance and harmony.
As a teenager, Ching’s creativity encouraged her to have a stab at acting. But after three years of living on the breadline and successfully completing a degree in Economics, she began thinking about earning some money.
What better idea than to start her own food company and that was the birth of Fuge (pronounced ‘fugee’, and means “well-being” in Mandarin). Ching’s products can now be found at retailers such as the Whistlestop chain and in foodservice outlets. She has also provided the salads at the Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon, as well as supplying a number of blue-chip companies in the City.
Fuge was followed by the launch of Tzu ( pronounced “ta-zu”), a healthy soft drinks range, which is now stocked in prestigious outlets such as Harrods, Selfridges, Fresh and Wild, as well as luxury hotels and health spas.
Ching-He Huang was given a cookery series on the UKTV Food Channel at the beginning of 2005 called Ching’s Kitchen. Gareth Williams, Channel Executive, UKTV Food, said “She’s refreshing, entertaining, beautiful and above all makes fantastic food!” In autumn 2006, Ching launched her first cookbook, “China Modern”, which features over 100 recipes.
OK so that’s Ching, but how about the book? Chinese Food Made Easy is divided into eight chapters with scrumptious titles such as Dumplings, Dim Sum and Street Food. Yumm! The photographs are by the celebrated Kate Whitaker and they are a delight. The recipes are clear and simple and Ching gives some extra handy tips and serving suggestions.
The food is mouth-watering and I’ll be happy to eat my way through this book. Spiced Beef Stir-fry from the Muslim part of western China is a bit different from the typical Chinese dishes, as it uses cumin. You’ll probably already have all the other ingredients. Such an easy recipe but delicious.
Ching has included a selection of side dishes and these will enable you to compose a whole Chinese meal, and with that in mind there’s a menu planner with ideas for a New Year Party, Romantic Dinner (ahh), a menu for kids, and other suggestions.
There is no need to feel anxious if you are a Chinese-cooking virgin. There is everything here that you’ll need to help you cook lovely meals. Ching talks you through the cooking techniques, tools of the trade and store cupboard ingredients.
Chinese Food made Easy is inspired by a tradition and culture that has always valued the thoughtful preparation of food. These are healthy dishes that are truly easy. Get the wok out this weekend!
Chinese Food Made Easy
Author: Ching-He Huang (www.chinghehuang.com)
Published by: HarperCollins
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018