My Wok

My Wok

Howdy kids, we have another guest post today! Jonathan chimes in with a story about his shiny new wok! In case you missed it, last time Jonathan talked about cupcakes! Read on to find out more about his stir fry!

The sun had started to set as I walked into the kitchen and hardware store just off Wentworth. The store was cramped and kitchen tools were piled and packed into the small space. Metal shelving divided the space into narrow claustrophobic aisles. Along the right wall, heaped from floor to ceiling, were the woks. Staring at the multitude of woks I thought, “this is why I am here; to find my wok.”

To the left of the aisle, more prominently displayed were the more expensive woks for the home cooks. These were well equipped with comfortable wooden or plastic handles. They were clean, shiny and often Teflon coated. But that is not what I wanted. Along the floor were woks of every imaginable size. They were industrial, covered in a trade grease and absolutely perfect.

As I sorted through the grim, I went through my mental checklist. 1) Look at the size. 2) Feel for the weight. 3) No wood or plastic, just pure carbon steel. It wasn’t long before I saw it.

When I arrived home, I immediately got to work seasoning the wok. I placed the concave pan into the sink to begin. The dark industrial grease that covered the wok came off with just a little soap and water. After drying it thoroughly I placed the wok on the stove. Once heated, I brushed on my first coat of canola oil to the inside of the wok. I placed the wok on the stove and waited for the smoke. With the stove set on high it only took a few minutes before the wok began to smoke. I watched as the wok’s fundus blackened first; the dark patina slowly grew up the sides of the wok. To help the heat reach the top, I tilted the pan exposing the sides to more heat. After a few minutes on the heat, I let it rest. Thus began the first of many coats of oil and trips to the stove alternating with periods of rest. After a few, the wok had already achieved a shiny protective coat.

However, it was only as I started to use it, that I understood the value of a well- seasoned carbon steel wok. Simple stir-fry started to taste different; there was a new depth in even the simplest dishes. The wok was adding a smokiness that wasn’t there before. The food was tasting better. And so now, late at night when I find myself sleepless, I go to the wok. Even though it no longer needs the seasoning, I will brush it with oil and place it on the stove to watch it smoke.

Spicy Chicken and King Mushrooms

1 large chicken breast sliced 1 large king mushroom sliced Scallion sliced Corn Starch Garlic chopped fine Ginger Canola/Peanut/Vegetable Oil Oyster Sauce Strawberry Jam Dark Soy Sauce

Hot Sauce (Lan Chi Chili Paste with Garlic)

Lightly coat chicken with corn starch and pepper (to taste). Heat wok till hot. Pour in oil to hot wok, followed shortly by chicken. Brown chicken, but do not cook through. Remove chicken from wok and set aside.

Add oil as needed. Add ginger followed quickly by king mushrooms and garlic. Brown mushrooms, and as they are just about cooked through add back chicken and scallion. Add soy for color. Then in no particular order add sauces. [I generally add oyster sauce next, followed by the sweet sauce finishing with the spicy. Like my mother before me, I never actually measure the sauces and just add as I cook].

Posted by kiditamae on May 14, 2008 at 9:25 pm

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