Quinn’s Kitchen

Photography: Jack Western

If, like me, you’ve been foolish enough to brave the bracing Yorkshire climate without a thermal tent about your person then you’ve probably got sniffles, which will rapidly snowball into a cold and end in that most unforgiving of student illnesses: flu. No matter how many lemsips you chug back in the grim hope of escaping the illness you’re still going to be knocked out for a few days and effectively crippled as you can’t move without sneezing.

There is however a handy alternative solution: Asian food. It’s tasty, easy and, most importantly, it is hot in every sense of the word. I’m not suggesting of course that you go out and try to make something ridiculously complicated that needs four dozen spices, five hours preparation and two minutes cooking. I’m talking about making a simple stir-fry super or knocking up a curry that actually tastes of something.

Stir-fries are now pretty much a student mainstay. You chuck in some oil, vegetables and chicken, wok away for about five minutes, and then dump a load of noodles over it and serve up. Simple but it’s a bit boring. Even a dash of soy sauce isn’t going to lift it. Ginger, pepper and chilli are really easy seasonings to get a hold of pretty much anywhere and make stir-fries both healthier and tastier. It makes your tongue tingle! Ginger, pepper and chilli will also chase away your cold, and though you might be left reaching for the milk if it’s too hot, it’ll set you on your way to getting better much quicker than a mug of lemsip.

Another really easy and simple way to get tasty Asian food that you don’t buy in a ready meal is something like chicken fried rice. Chicken, peppers, onions and peas are the perfect bedrock for this dish and super cheap. Chilli flakes spice it up and then a drizzle of soy sauce makes it perfectly satisfying when you’re ill and need a pick me up. Add it to boiled rice and mix together and a big enough portion will last you for a few days or keep if frozen to be reheated whenever you can’t be bothered going through cooking it all again.

Lastly of course there’s curry. Another takeaway favourite, any you’re likely to get in York will be swimming in oil and is a decidedly grim prospect that will leave you feeling worse than when you started. Although you can get ready-made sauces in jars, a better choice if you can is to get a jar of curry paste and then use a little each time and beef it out with chopped tomatoes and other vegetables. It means that it lasts longer and you aren’t using all that expensive meat you just bought. With some naan bread to dunk and maybe a few cheeky bhajis or samosas you’ll be well on your way to feeling better.