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Bit Late but let’s still celebrate Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year is here and Chinese food is not only full of delicious flavours, it can also be a healthy option too and a perfect way to add some colour to the dull winter months. This newsletter is dedicated to the colourful and delicious Chinese food and below are some of the Chinese traditions I believe we should all embrace more in our kitchen and life style to celebrate the Year of the Dragon.

Dim Sum: Literally meaning ‘to touch your heart’ dim sum, the ‘small eats’ are originally a Cantonese custom and are inextricably linked to the Chinese tradition of “yum cha” or drinking tea (and that’s not PG tips I’m talking but plenty of healthy antioxidant rich green tea). Teahouses sprung up to accommodate weary travellers journeying along the famous Silk Road. Rural farmers, exhausted after long hours working in the fields, would also head to the local teahouse for an afternoon of tea and relaxing conversation. And if you go for the steamed and not the deep fried version you can enjoy some tantalizing healthy ‘small eats’ and you should know by now that I always encourage eating ‘small’ and if you do it while sipping a cup of green tea to relax instead of coffee you might dream of being in China instead of stuck in front of your computer.

Ginger and Garlic: These two ingredients are integral to Asian cooking. The unique tang of fresh ginger is used in everything from stews to stir-fried dishes, while the pungent flavour of garlic is featured in meals throughout China. If you are not using these two ingredients in your kitchen yet, it is time to start experimenting and some more flavour to your foods and dish up a nice ginger chicken or Chinese stir fry. Adding these to your diet will also mean you are adding some health promoting properties, as both of these two foods are thought to have medicinal properties and garlic provides you with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Tea: Brits are tea drinkers but unfortunately that’s mostly stimulating black tea and not relaxing herbal tea. I think it’s time to swap the black tea for some of the health promoting tea and tea drinking customs derived from the Chinese culture e.g. consuming tea as a sign of respect, to apologise or to connect large families on wedding days (I wonder how this would go down with the in-laws).

Kate Cook helps people deal with their diet, digestion and stress
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