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Eat Well, Live Well: 6 Healthy Dishes for Spring

Join us as we explore some of the best, and healthiest recipes to make sure you look and feel your best as we celebrate the emergence of spring.


As the weather starts to warm up and we welcome more sunlight into our days, our appetites tend to start shifting. Whereas during winter we hunkered down craving hot broths and hearty foods to warm us from the inside out, we now look towards spring and its abundance of fresh produce for increased energy and vitality.

Also, as the days get longer, so too does the list of fresh ingredients on offer. These easy to make, healthy recipes use of the new season’s fresh flavors and vegetables to help you make the most of the warmer weather and put a spring into your step.

 

Marinated Shrimp With Chinese Greens

Chinese greens, or bok choi, are some of the most popular vegetables in Chinese cooking. This dish is a great way to combine the nutritional benefits of shrimp in a rich and aromatic sauce that the whole family will enjoy.

Ingredients

1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp

3 teaspoons Chinese rice wine

¾ teaspoon salt

2¼ tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 thin slices of ginger

¼ teaspoon chili paste

1 pound Chinese greens (bok choi) trimmed w/ stalks cut

Directions

  • Add Chinese rice wine, salt and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and allow the shrimp to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

  • Combine red wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of water and set aside. Make a mixture of the the remaining cornstarch and water.

  • Heat a wok with oil and add one slice of ginger, allow it to brown for a few seconds and add the shrimp. Stir fry until the shrimp is pink. Remove from pan.

  • Cook rest of ginger in the wok for 20 seconds and add bok choi stalks, sprinkling with salt. Add leaves and cook for around 1½ more minutes until leaves are wilted. Push to side of pan.

  • Whisk sauce and combine in middle of the pan along with cornstarch mixture. Stir to thicken.

  • Add shrimp to the pan and mix everything together. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil. Serve immediately.

 

Cold Asparagus Salad

This Chinese favourite is so simple even a 10-year-old could make it. Light and refreshing, it makes a great accompaniment to any meal. The salad can be made well in advance and refrigerated, so it’s perfect for entertaining. For added visual effect you can use green, white or purple asparagus along with black and white sesame seeds which make for beautiful presentation.

Ingredients

1 pound of asparagus

2 tablespoons sesame seed oil

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

¼  teaspoon of sugar

1 finely chopped garlic clove.

Directions

  • Remove the tough ends of the asparagus and boil the tender stalks for one minute.

  • Whilst the asparagus is boiling mix the other ingredients in a bowl.

  • Drain and rinse the asparagus with cold water and drizzle the sauce over the asparagus.

 

Cucumber Salad

The trick to making the perfect cucumber salad is to make it neither too sweet, too salty nor too sour. By tasting the marinating mix as you go along you can adjust it to your individual tastes rather than following a specific recipe. Here’s a good starting point:

Ingredients

4 cucumbers

1 ½  tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

½  clove garlic, smashed (optional)

Directions

  • Wash cucumbers thoroughly and cut off the tips on edge side.

  • Holding by one end, hit the cucumber with the flat of a cleaver until the cucumber is slightly mashed. Chop diagonally into small pieces

  • Mix together the cucumber pieces and dressing, adjust to taste if necessary.

  • Allow to marinate for at least half an hour in the refrigerator and serve.

 

Chinese Broccoli With Oyster Sauce

One of the most common vegetables used in Chinese cuisine, Chinese broccoli (or gai lan) is abundant during the spring months and the perfect green to ease you out of the heavy, dense  vegetables typically consumed during winter. The sweetness of oyster sauce acts as the perfect counterbalance to the bitter taste of the broccoli, which makes for a delicious, level flavour.

Ingredients

2½  lb gai lan (washed, trimmed and dried)

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons cooking oil

2.5 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine

Directions

  • Wash the broccoli and trim the ends. Cut into bite sized pieces around 2 inches long.

  • Prepare the other ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

  • Bring a pot to boil and add the Chinese broccoli to boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes until tender but crisp.

  • Rinse under cold water, pour sauce over broccoli and serve immediately.

 

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

There are few foods that typify East Asian cuisine like spring rolls, and probably no other food as universally recognized. They are a symbolic food, resembling a gold bar in both colour and shape and date back as far as the 4th century. Spring rolls are an important part of Chinese tradition, and are commonly consumed during the Spring Festival to commemorate the changing of the seasons: what better way to welcome in the spring?

Ingredients

100g vermicelli noodles

3 green onions (sliced)

1 large carrot  (grated)

1½ cups Chinese cabbage  (shredded)

1 can water chestnuts (roughly

chopped)

1 tablespoon of peanut oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

¼ teaspoon white pepper

2 teaspoons of cornflour

20 spring roll wrappers

Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

  • Cook noodles in large heatproof bowl by covering with boiling water for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain and cut into 3 cm lengths.

  • Splash some peanut oil into a preheated wok and add onion, carrot, garlic and cabbage and cook until soft (around 2 to 3 minutes). Add noodles, chestnuts, pepper and soy sauce. Place in a bowl and allow to chill.

  • Combine cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water and brush edges of spring roll wrappers with cornflour mixture. Deposit a tablespoon of the vegetable mixture into the corner of each wrapper and roll from corner to corner, folding the edges to enclose filling.

  • Cook spring rolls in vegetable oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden.

  • Serve with sweet chilli.

 

Honey Soy Broiled Salmon

The soy sauce, rice vinegar and honey in this dish meld together to make a deliciously sweet, salty and tangy marinade. The addition of toasted sesame seeds adds a splash of texture and a nutty accent. Enjoy this dish with brown rice rather than white for a more nutritious take on this favourite.

Ingredients

1 pound salmon fillet

1 finely sliced scallion

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon sesame seeds (toasted)



Directions

  • Whisk together scallion, vinegar, honey, soy sauce and ginger until honey is dissolved.

  • Coat salmon in a sealable bag with 4 tablespoons of sauce and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

  • Preheat broiler and line a baking pan with foil and a splash of oil.

  • Transfer salmon to the pan with the skinned side down and cook for approximately 7 to 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the cut).

  • Drizzle with remaining sauce, top with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.