Chinese Food in Minutes on Five

Tuesday 4 May, 7:30pm on Five

The last episode in the series that explores the joys of Chinese cuisine sees a pair of rugby players experiment with dishes centred around tofu. Ching cooks saucy beef tofu, oriental mushroom tofu in black bean sauce and lobster in garlic and spinach sauce. It is then the turn of her two proteges to recreate her recipes. Before she starts cooking, Ching-He Huang takes her latest students, semi-professional ruby players and best friends Simon and Phil, to London’s Chinatown for a spot of ingredients shopping. Today she is focusing on the varieties of fresh tofu that can now be easily purchased. Although Simon and Phil both love good food, their training means they have little time to cook for themselves. Neither has ever tried to cook Chinese food from scratch. As they are sportsmen, healthy food that provides plenty of energy is a must. Ching aims to teach them some speedy meals that will give them a boost without piling on the pounds. Ching takes the pair to her outdoor kitchen to prepare the first recipe, saucy beef tofu. She cuts a ginger stem into thin sticks, and fries it in a little groundnut oil. She then chops up some beef into small pieces with a cleaver, and adds it to the ginger in the wok. She adds cubed tofu pieces, a slug of rice wine and a cup of stock, then seasons with light soy sauce, chilli flakes and sliced spring onion. The ingredients are then bound together with cornflower and water, and spinach is added to give the dish flavour and texture. The lads enjoy the recipe, but seem apprehensive about using the sharp knives. “How are you both with a cleaver?” Ching asks Simon. “Well, we’ll see later!” he nervously replies. The second dish on the menu is oriental mushroom tofu in garlic and black bean sauce. Ching takes a handful of fermented black beans and several cloves of garlic, along with a roughly chopped chilli, and bruises them all with a pestle and mortar. She then fries pieces of tofu in the mixture, and adds shitake and oyster mushrooms for texture, along with some stock. She allows the tofu to soak up the various flavours of the dish, then serves immediately. Now it is the boys’ turn to attempt Ching’s recipes. Phil tackles the mushroom tofu dish, while Simon has a stab at recreating the saucy beef recipe. Since both men are very competitive, the banter soon starts flying. “There’s definitely a bit of gamesmanship going on here,” Phil says. As the pair get cooking, Ching makes her third dish. She takes a medium pre-cooked lobster, declaws it and chops the tail into three pieces. For her sauce, she roughly chops up garlic and a chilli, blends with spinach, coriander and poaching liquid, then heats the sauce in a large wok, coating the lobster pieces until the mixture is heated through. She then seasons with light soy sauce and serves. Back in the kitchen, Simon has finished his dish first. “Do you want a little sniff of the winning dish?” he asks Phil. Both have strayed slightly from Ching’s original recipes. As the three sit down to eat the fruits of their labours, who will Ching crown as this week’s winner?

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