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Ken Hom cooks Chinese food for Chinese New Year

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Chinese food need never be a once-a-week-restaurant treat again once you get hold of Ken Hom's easy recipes.

Why is it Relevant Today?
It's Chinese New Year on February 14th. The Chinese New Year is celebrated as the symbol of spring's celebration. In fact in China the Chinese New Year is still called the Spring festival. It is celebrated after the fall harvest and before the spring planting season. The date of the Chinese New Year is always changing and is dependant on the Chinese calendar. Emperor Huangdi in the year 2637 B.C.E invented the Chinese calendar.

Ken Hom

Ken learnt to cook from the age of eleven when he started working in his uncle's Chinese restaurant in Chicago after school and at weekends. In those days he earned around the equivalent of 30p per hour!

In order to help pay his University fees he gave cooking lessons which proved so popular that he was recommended to the Culinary Academy. Ken has taught many great chefs such as Charlie Trotter from Chicago, whose famous Trotters restaurant are always booked months in advance. When the BBC was looking for a Chinese chef to produce a new series he was recommended by Madhur Jaffrey who had seen him giving lessons in California.

This was the start of his UK TV career with his first series Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery in 1984. This series was then transmitted throughout the world and he has remained highly acclaimed worldwide since then.

Ken is now regarded as the world's leading authority in Chinese cookery and has cooked for many heads of state.

TV Work(all BBC):
. Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery (1984)
. Hot Chefs (1992)
. Ken Hom's Hot Wok (1996)
. Ken Hom's Travels with a Wok (1998)
. Foolproof Chinese Cookery (2000)

Travel, wine, cycling, British TV, avid reader, football (Manchester United).

He is a world renowned chef and is recognised by food writers all over the world, but particularly in the UK, lreland, Germany, the Baltics (Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic) Australia, USA and the Far East . He has collaborated with the world's greatest chefs in hotels and restaurants.
Ken will create 'exclusive' recipes for their cooking pages if required. This is another opportunity to mention the healthy aspect of wok cooking and delicious way that Chinese eat vegetables. They do not boil their vegetables to death, but rather add sauces to enhance them - such as black bean, curry etc

Lifestyle and Health:
He is very health conscious and swims almost daily. He does not drive and prefers to ride his bike. Chinese cooking has been proven by the Health Education Authority in the UK to be the healthiest way to eat. Ken was actually a spokesperson for them two years ago and collaborated on some recipes for them, demonstrating them in the UK. The reason it is so healthy is because wok cooking uses little oil and because the food is cooked at a high temperature throughout it means that all the proteins, nutrients and vitamins are kept 'sealed'. This also means that none of the flavour is lost. There is a lot of information in the pack towards the back of the literature about wok cooking and wok selling points.

About the Chinese Lunar:

The celebration of the Chinese Lunar year goes back centuries. There are 12 different creatures represented in the Chinese calendar. A different animal is commemorated each year. After 12 years the animals are repeated.
This year is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar:

Tiger people are sensitive, given to deep thinking, capable of great sympathy. They can be extremely short-tempered, however. Other people have great respect for them, but sometimes tiger people come into conflict with older people or those in authority. Sometimes Tiger people cannot make up their minds, which can result in a poor, hasty decision or a sound decision arrived at too late. They are suspicious of others, but they are courageous and powerful. Tigers are most compatible with Horses, Dragons, and Dogs

Some celebrities that are born in this year are: Tom Cruise and Jodie Foster and Marilyn Monroe

Ken Hom is the year of the Ox which was last year which means:

People born in the Year of the Ox are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others. They tend, however, to be eccentric, and bigoted, and they anger easily. They have fierce tempers and although they speak little, when they do they are quite eloquent. Ox people are mentally and physically alert. Generally easy-going, they can be remarkably stubborn, and they hate to fail or be opposed. They are most compatible with Snake, Rooster, and Rat people.

Sheana Keane is the year of the Pig which means:

People born in the Year of the Pig are chivalrous and gallant. Whatever they do, they do with all their strength. For Boar Year people, there is no left or right and there is no retreat. They have tremendous fortitude and great honesty. They don't make many friends but they make them for life, and anyone having a Boar Year friend is fortunate for they are extremely loyal. They don't talk much but have a great thirst for knowledge. They study a great deal and are generally well informed. Boar people are quick tempered, yet they hate arguments and quarreling. They are kind to their loved ones. No matter how bad problems seem to be, Boar people try to work them out, honestly if sometimes impulsively. They are most compatible with Rabbits and Sheep.

Maura is the year of the Dog which means:

People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people's confidence because they know how to keep secrets. But Dog People are somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric. They care little for wealth, yet somehow always seem to have money. They can be cold emotionally and sometimes distant at parties. They can find fault with many things and are noted for their sharp tongues. Dog people make good leaders. They are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.

Beef & Black Bean Stir Fry

Serves 2

. 25 ml rapeseed oil
. 2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
. Grated zest of one orange
. 1 teaspoon of birds eye chillies, chopped
. 25g blackbeans
. 75g spring onions, 1inch shanks
. 50g diced onion
. 75g diced red peppers
. 75 diced green peppers
. 45ml oyster sauce
. 40g Chee Hou sauce
. 2 teaspoons sugar
. 200ml water
. 20ml sesame oil
. I teaspoon Cornflour

Use approx 100g meat per portion

Cooking Method

1. Finely chop and quickly fry the fillet steak. Set aside
2. Heat the vegetable oil in the wok, add ginger and garlic and fry over a high heat until starts to become golden and toasted.
3. Add the orange peel & fry until it releases citrus notes.
4. Then fry chilli, black beans and chopped onions, for 20 seconds
5. Add the spring onions and peppers & fry lightly to retain bite
6. Add the 2 pastes - Chee Hou Sauce, Oyster Sauce along with the water and sugar. Then return the meat to the wok.
7. Finish with the sesame oil and thicken with the cornflour

Chicken & Mushroom Recipe

Serves 2

Sauce Ingredients
. 100g Shiitake Mushrooms- cut in half
. 70g Button Mushrooms-cut in half
. 50g Onions- roughly diced
. 40g Oyster Sauce
. 40g Vegetable Oil
. 28g Chee Hou Sauce/Yellow Bean Sauce
. 6g Cornflour
. 10g Rice Wine Vinegar
. 20g Ginger- coarsely cut
. 18g Garlic- coarsely cut
. 8g Chilli Sauce
. 4g Sugar
. 200ml Diluted Chicken Stock
. 2g Salt (or to taste)
. Two chicken breasts- cut into slices
. Marinated in a large tablespoon of soy, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar & a level teaspoon of cornflour

Cooking Method

1. Add all liquid ingredients to chicken with a level teaspoon of cornflour. Leave to marinade for 20 minutes.
2. Add half the vegetable oil to a hot wok or frying pan and heat until smoking, add marinated chicken and fry until golden brown on each side. Take out of pan and leave to sit on a plate.
3. Wipe wok/frying pan clean and add remaining oil and heat until smoking.
4. Add garlic & ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds or until golden brown
5. Add diced onions and continue to fry for 1 minute or until transparent
6. Add Mushrooms and continue frying for 2-3 minutes until cooked and lightly coloured
7. Add Oyster sauce, Chee Hou sauce, sugar, chilli sauce, rice wine vinegar and half diluted chicken stock and bring to simmer
8. Dilute cornflour with a little water and mix into a smooth paste and add to sauce slowly
9. Add cooked chicken & simmer until sauce coats chicken & mushrooms
10. Add remaining chicken stock if sauce is too thick and add salt if required
11. Serve immediately with rice or noodles.

Chinese food need never be a once-a-week-restaurant treat again once you get hold of Ken Hom's easy recipes.

Additional / Misc' Info:

Ken Hom Brands
. Range of Woks & Accessories, including:
. non-stick and carbon steel woks of all sizes,
. healthy eating grill pan set,
. Ken Hom steamer,
. cleaver and vegetable knife.
. Exciting new top of the range Sensai in September 2002
. Classic Range of carbon steel woks and grill pan
. TAO was launched in 2004: a high quality range of carbon steel and stainless steel woks, as well as accessories including steamer, cleaver etc.