Ever wonder about cooking with a wok, the “why” and “how” to use one? Here’s what Ella’s dad has to say…
So Ella tells me a blog posting doesn’t have to be new or exotic, because something that’s ordinary to me might be brand new to someone else. “What about using a wok?” she says. Here goes…
Basics, a wok is a large shallow bowl-like pan, originating in China used for stir frying vegetables. The way it’s different from a western-style flat bottomed frying pan is that you just heat up a small area at the bottom and stir the veggies in and out of the hot spot. That way they stay crispy and do not get over-cooked. There are countless versions of stir fried dishes. I’m just going to make up a simple one out of my head, using easy-to-obtain ingredients… how about:
- a leafy green (bok choy or cabbage or even kale)
- bell peppers (green, red, yellow)
- squash (yellow and/or zucchini)
- broccoli or cauliflower
- garlic (fresh or prepared)
- mushrooms (you chose)
- tofu (I like extra firm)
- soy sauce/tamari
- lemon juice or vinegar
- cooking oil (peanut, safflower, sesame)
- something spicy? ginger, cayenne/chili pepper (fresh or ground)
- something crunchy? peanuts, cashews, almonds, sesame
- thickener? corn starch, tahini, peanut butter
OK, I’m stopping here. You don’t have to.
The first and most time consuming step is to chop up the veggies. Make bite size pieces, cubed, slivered, whatever shape you like. Aesthetics counts. Separate them by cooking time. Mix up a sauce with the soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and thickener, if you choose to use it.
Next cover the bottom go the wok with cooking oil and turn the burner up high. When the oil is spitting hot, start adding the slower cooking ingredients, broccoli, squash, tofu. Stir them in and out of the hot oil, letting them rest on the less hot outer edge in between. Then add the leafy vegetables, mushrooms, smaller items. Keep stirring in and out of the hot oil and watch it cook.
When the veggies are still crunchy, but hot clear through, steer them to the edges and finally add the sauce to the center and let it heat up and thicken. Finally, turn down the heat; stir it all together, and cover for minute or two. Then it’s ready. You an even put the wok directly on the table if you choose . Yum.
Love to hear about other techniques and favorite ingredients you use when cooking with a wok. Do check in! I also recommend Ella’s “How to Go Vegan Beginner’s Guide” for tips and recipes for creating your own vegan diet plan!