Okay, so everybody has heard some sort of play on words with “Wok”. I call them puns. Martin Yan, everyone’s favorite Chinese chef started it all with his “Everybody’s wokkin”. Queen sang their famous song, “We Will Wok You” and the Disney movie with the Seven Dwarfs whistled while they wokked. I love Doc, Sneezy, Dancer, Blitzen, Rocco, Grumpy and Shemp in that movie.
But the truth is the wok is an ancient Chinese instrument in a symphony of Asian cooking. Originating in Guangdong Province, the wok is the most versatile and common cooking utensil in all of Asia. Use this simple tool to stir-fry, deep-fry, poaching or even smoking.
Woks are hammered works of art made from carbon steel or cast-iron. The classic wok has a rounded bottom making a natural pit that radiates high heat in the bottom yet still carries enough heat on the sides to move food around to cook evenly. Every kitchen should have one, it’s not just for stir-fry and you can use it on the stove or your gas grill.
As with cast-iron cookware, never put you wok in the dishwasher or use soap to wash it. Simply rinse it with hot water, dry it the grab a paper towel coated with olive oil and rub it down to prevent rust or tarnish. Quick, simple and easy.
The key to cooking with wok is to prep everything beforehand. Wokking means cooking with high heat so make sure all of your veggies, meat or fish are cut up in advance and all of your sauces and seasonings are near at hand.
When wok cooking always use fresh ingredients, don’t buy the canned stir-fry veggies or frozen crap. Fresh is best. The only canned stuff I use is bamboo shoots or water chestnuts, and in a pinch, canned pineapple chunks.
Here a few recipes for you and your wok. If there is anything you don’t understand you can contact me via the internet and I’ll get back to you. I call those “E-woks”.
May the force be with you.
Ewok Green Beans
1 ½ Lbs. Fresh Green Beans, Washed and Trimmed
3 Tbs. Fresh Garlic, Smashed and Chopped
1 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
3 Tbs. Soy
1 Tsp. Rice Vinegar
1 Tbs. Brown Sugar
Sea Salt/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Black Sesame Seeds
Blanch the beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in your wok on high heat and sauté the garlic and pepper flakes for 1 minute. Add the green bean and cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook another 2 minutes.
Wok Chicken w/Orange Sauce
½ Cup Freshly Squeezed OJ
¼ Cup Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbs. Soy Sauce
1 Tbs. Ginger, Grated
1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
½ Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
Juice of 1 Lime
Whisk together all ingredients and set aside.
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Broccoli
2 Cups Mushrooms, Sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
½ Cup Peas
½ Cup Scallion, Sliced
Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
Heat the oil in your wok and brown the breasts on both sides. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook for 6 minutes.
Add peas and scallions and cook for another minute. Add sauce and cook for 1 minute. Remove and top with cilantro. Serve over rice.