Wok like a Pro

By Chef Pawnsak
You will hardly find a cooking tool as versatile as a wok. You can stir fry, saut�', and deep fry most all your favorite dishes. Cooking with a wok is a developed skill. Anyone with the right equipment, a little patience and the right guidance can learn to cook like a pro.


First, the right equipment. A gas or electric wok really does not matter. If you get an electric one, don't be cheap. You really need these babies to get hot if you want to cook great dishes.

Get a good quality wok. It should be made of a heavy gauge metal so that it maintains the heat. The size is not as important as long as you have enough heat to keep the wok hot.

Second, a spoon or spatula to stir fry with and a small basket if you plan to do any deep frying.

Lastly, good quality oil. I personally use Virgin olive oil. It adds a little extra flavor, but it is a flavor I like.

When getting ready to cook your favorite dish, make sure all that you will need is ready to go. This includes all spices, sauces, vegetables, and meats. Once you start cooking, you do not want to stop until the dish is finished.

The secret to great oriental dishes is ... the heat.

Lets get cooking. Set your heat on med. - high to high. With a little oil in your wok, season and pre heat it. You'll know your ready to add your first ingredients when you just start to see the oil smoke. Do not wait until the local fire department shows up, start cooking as soon as you see the oil starting to smoke. Typically you will add meats first. You want the wok good and hot because it should sear the meats like a nice hot grill. This is what seals in the juices and keeps things tasty.

A wok that is not hot enough will just "Boil" the meats causing tough tasteless food.

Let the meats sit for 20 to 30 seconds, then begin to stir. Again you want a good sear on the meats. Within 1-2 minutes the meats should be cooked about half way through. Do not wait until your meats are cooked completely through. Add your vegetables and keep stirring. The wok should still be hot enough to get a good sizzle from the vegi's. Within the next minute the vegetables will change color slightly. You want them slightly seared on the outside, yet crisp on the inside.

Add your sauces and spices, mix together well. If you add these to soon, you'll boil out their liquid contents and change the flavors dramatically. Plus, if you cook some super spicy foods, cooking the chili to soon will cause your kitchen to fill with the burning chili oils. This will empty out your house as you and your guest run for fresh air. De glaze you wok with some of you favorite stock. Usually 1/4 of a cup will do unless you like your foods real saucy. Serve it up!

Notice how the whole process should not take more than 3 - 4 minutes. This is due to having everything ready and keeping the wok good and hot.

Review:

Chef Pawnsak

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