Chinese Food in Minutes on Five

Tuesday 27 April, 7:30pm on Five

The series exploring the joys of Chinese cuisine continues. This instalment sees a pair of professional figure skaters experiment with dishes centred around Sichuan peppercorns and other hot spices. Ching cooks peppercorn chicken, prawn fried rice and wok-fried crispy scallops. It is then the turn of her two proteges to recreate her recipes for their friends. Before she starts cooking, Ching-He Huang takes her latest students, professional ice skaters Fred and Maria, to London’s Chinatown for a spot of ingredients shopping. Today she is focusing on some hot varieties of store cupboard spices, including the Sichuan and pink varieties of peppercorns, and sun-dried chillies. Although Fred and Maria both love good food, their long hours of training mean they have little time to cook for themselves. As they are professional athletes, healthy food is a must. Ching aims to teach them some delicious and speedy suppers that will give them energy without piling on the pounds. Ching takes the pair to her outdoor kitchen to prepare the first recipe, her fast and fiery hot pink peppercorn chicken. She first skins some chicken drumsticks and chops them with a sharp cleaver. She then wok-fries the chicken pieces in groundnut oil, chopped ginger, crushed pink peppercorns and sliced sun-dried chillies. After adding a splash of rice wine for smokiness, she seasons with light soy sauce, chunkily chopped spring onions and chilli oil. Maria then reveals that she does not like hot food. “I’m worried for you, Maria – I’m really sorry!” Ching says as she serves the food. However, both love the bold flavours of the dish. Fred thinks that it will be just the thing to warm them up after a long day at the ice rink. The second dish on the menu is spicy Sichuan pepper prawn fried rice. This recipe combines elements of traditional Chinese cooking with western culinary methods. Ching roughly crushes cloves of garlic and peppercorns, then de-seeds and dices two bird’s-eye chillies to remove some of their spiciness. She then wok-fries the mixture in groundnut oil, and adds pre-cooked tiger prawns, soybeans and chopped cherry tomatoes. She then spoons in some cooked rice, before seasoning with ground white pepper, coriander, light soy sauce and the juice of one lime to give the dish a tangy edge. Now it is the skaters’ turn to attempt Ching’s recipes. Maria tackles the hot pink pepper chicken, while Fred takes on the prawn fried rice dish. While they are both nervous, they are also very competitive. “I’ve got a really sharp knife, so watch out!” Maria warns. As the pair get cooking, Ching makes her third dish. She shreds some Chinese cabbage leaves and a leek, then deep fries them and tosses sugar and salt on the mixture to create crispy ‘seaweed’. She then sears fresh scallops in crushed peppercorns and sliced chillies and adds a drop of rice wine and lemon juice. She then puts both elements back in the half-shells of the scallops to serve. It is then the moment of truth, as the pals plate up their food to serve to their friends and family. Fred finishes before Maria, so occupies himself by playfully flicking her with a rolled-up tea towel. Which dish will their party prefer, and who will Ching crown as this week’s winner?

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