Like many people, I often feel a little run down and under the weather at this time of year and the drop in temperature has me craving warming and nutritious meals to help stave off the dreaded winter lurgy.For this reason, I try to increase my intake of fresh fruit and vegetables and pack them into nourishing soups, stews and smoothies whenever I can. Another favourite cold weather ingredient of mine is ginger and I’ll add it to anything given half the chance – I can’t get enough of the stuff! For centuries, ginger has been praised as both a culinary and medicinal spice among many different cultures and I’m a firm believer in its beneficial properties (such as aiding digestion problems).It also tastes great and brings warmth and spice to many dishes whether used as fresh, powdered, dried or crystallised. The fiery root has both a peppery and sweetly perfumed flavour meaning it can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It is particularly popular in Asian and Indian cuisine but also makes an appearance in many well-loved British favourites such as ginger beer, gingerbread and steamed puddings. And I’m sure many of us find it hard to resist a seasonal gingerbread latte when passing that famous chain of coffee shops!
If you’re after a really quick and nutritious meal or side dish that’s packed full of flavour then you can’t go wrong with my stir-fried greens with ginger.You can use a variety of different vegetables in this dish but it’s better to choose those that only require minimal cooking. It’s important not to over-cook the vegetables so that they maintain their crunch, flavour and nutritional content – the more you cook them, the more goodness they lose.The ginger, garlic and chilli give the veggies a real zingy kick, which is perfect for awakening the senses if you’re feeling cold and lethargic.
Enjoy this on its own as a nourishing snack or serve alongside some grilled fish or chicken for a more substantial meal.
Ingredients (serves 2)
6 spring onions 1 red pepper 1 courgette 2 pak choi 100g spinach 100g broccoli or tenderstem broccoli 150g mixed vegetables e.g. mange tout, fine green beans, babycorn etc. 200g Chinese leaf lettuce or sweetheart cabbage 1 clove garlic Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger 1 red chilli Oil for stir frying
Slice the pak choi into quarters.Blanch along with the babycorn and broccoli by briefly boiling for 2 minutes then plunging into cold water. Set aside.
Shred the Chinese leaf or cabbage and thinly slice the courgette and red pepper.Peel the ginger and finely chop along with the garlic.If the spring onions are quite large, slice in half, otherwise leave them whole.
Heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of oil.Once hot, add the courgette, spring onions, red pepper and Chinese leaf and fry for 3-4 minutes with the garlic and ginger. Next, add the remaining vegetables and toss everything together until they are well mixed. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the vegetables have softened slightly but still retain a crisp texture and bite.
Finish with some finely chopped red chilli and serve immediately.