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WOK & WHAT ELSE ??

c
cstout May 24, 2011 12:38 PM

Ms Tane over at the Wok Shop picked out a wonderful wok for me & sent it right over. I have got him ready to wok & roll, but I have run out of things to fix in it while waiting for the Chinese cookbooks that you all have suggested I should get as a beginner. I am curious as to what all you can cook in a wok besides Asian food. "One utensil, multi purpose" has been my motto as I try to downsize my kitchen. Please suggest some other dishes to try in that beautiful piece of equipment.

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  1. w
    wattacetti May 24, 2011 12:45 PM

    Tempura.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wattacetti
      c
      cstout May 24, 2011 04:16 PM

      I will look for some tempura recipes, thank you.

    2. beetlebug May 24, 2011 02:24 PM

      Scrambled eggs. Basically, anything you would saute or stir fry in a skillet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: beetlebug
        c
        cstout May 24, 2011 04:17 PM

        Yes, I tried a couple of eggs this morning. Thanks

      2. King of Northern Blvd May 24, 2011 04:27 PM

        Popcorn, if you have a lid...

        1 Reply
        1. re: King of Northern Blvd
          c
          cstout May 24, 2011 09:56 PM

          Popcorn is great in the wok, thank you.

        2. LiveRock May 24, 2011 04:30 PM

          I use my wok often for quick and easy pasta dishes. The wok is perfect for tossing pasta with a finished sauce. Here are a couple of examples...

          http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/penne-with-vodka-sauce-recipe/index.html

          http://recipesrandycooks.com/2011/02/...

          1 Reply
          1. re: LiveRock
            c
            cstout May 24, 2011 09:58 PM

            LiveRock, those are some great ideas, will have pasta tonight, thanks to you.

          2. w
            walker May 24, 2011 06:20 PM

            Wok Shop in what city? What did you buy? A flat bottom?

            I'm in the market for one and have tried 3 times to find parking near Wok Shop in SF, no luck so far.

            8 Replies
            1. re: walker
              Cynsa May 24, 2011 06:29 PM

              http://www.wokshop.com/
              http://www.wokshop.com/store/main.php

              if you don't mind walking, parking is easy at:
              VALLEJO STREET GARAGE
              766 VALLEJO ST
              San Francisco, CA 94133165 total spaces
              or
              Portsmouth Square Garage
              733 Kearny St
              (between Clay St & Merchant St)

              1. re: Cynsa
                w
                walker May 24, 2011 07:24 PM

                I have an aversion to most parking garages AND don't want to walk the hills. (bad knees, pain) I'll get there eventually. Do you have a wok? If so, which did you get?

                1. re: walker
                  Cynsa May 25, 2011 09:11 AM

                  Tane Chan is wonderful and I always rely on her advice. Take a taxi to the Grant Street shop and peruse to your heart's delight. You'll require the patience of the saints to find street parking - but it is possible, if you are persistent.
                  I've pulled my old round-bottomed steel wok from storage, scoured and seasoned - it's now non-stick and ready to go. Yes, I love my wok :^) it's a work horse and all-purpose.

                2. re: Cynsa
                  Cynsa May 25, 2011 09:28 AM

                  this is my ol' friend - I have smaller woks but this is the ONE. not shiny-bright-like-new but it NEVER sticks.

                   
                  1. re: Cynsa
                    c
                    cstout Jun 12, 2011 09:29 AM

                    Does it have handles on each side? I just love well worn kitchen stuff...has a lot of character. What size is this wok? You are lucky to have such a dandy.

                3. re: walker
                  c
                  cstout May 24, 2011 10:25 PM

                  Please forgive me if I have mislead you all. I called Ms Tane on the phone since I live in Tx & wanted her to guide me. She suggested the 14 inch flat bottom carbon steel wok with a small handle on each side. After much thought, I decided to get the one with a small handle on one side & the long wooden handle on the other side. She graciously made a quick change to my order & I am totally pleased. I also got one of the Wiki knives for 4.95, cuts like butter & is just as efficient as the more expensive ones I have had. This was also her suggestion. She says the flat bottom wok works well on gas as well as electric stoves. Be sure & get the stainless spatula that fits your size of wok. I thought the 14 inch wok would be too big, but found it is great for pushing the food around in. Would not get one smaller or bigger. If you have any more questions, please ask, I would love to help you. Great lady to talk with on the phone, wish I could meet her in person someday, I have never been to San Francisco though.

                  1. re: cstout
                    w
                    walker May 25, 2011 02:48 PM

                    Nice report -- I was going to get 12 inch; should I really get the 14 inch? I hope she'll advise me on which spatula. Did you get a lid, too.

                    You MUST visit San Francisco. Spring and Fall, best weather. If you want a reasonable place to stay (and safe location) Grant Plaza Hotel, Grant and Pine in Chinatown. A friend had a double there with private bath, including tax: $65 per night. That's a real steal for SF. (You'd be about 3 (flat!!) blocks to her store!)

                    1. re: walker
                      c
                      cstout May 26, 2011 09:13 AM

                      Ms Tane will know the correct spatula to get for the 14 inch wok...I did not know anything & she pretty much suggested all the utensils that were listed in "Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge". She suggested the round top lid, which I got...she also knew how to pick the correct size for that too. She does not try to push anything, just tries to help you get started. After I got my stuff from her & seasoned my wok & cooked a few simple things, I called to thank her for my order & told her I bonded with my wok & she said yes, she knew I would, said she thought it was a very nice wok for me. I think so too.
                      One thing to be careful about the long handle on the wok, it can spin around & knock something over, I knocked a precious bottle of sesame oil over the first time I used the wok...got too rambuctious with moving the veggies around!!

                4. raytamsgv May 25, 2011 03:04 PM

                  I use my wok for everything: stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, boiling, etc. I've used it to make spaghetti sauce, eggs, soups, steamed seafood, steamed Chinese dumplings, etc. Converting it to a steamer is simple. You can buy a steaming rack for a few bucks or you can use four wooden chopsticks to make a flat surface (the chopsticks arranged together look like an empty tic-tac-toe diagram).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: raytamsgv
                    c
                    cstout May 26, 2011 09:16 AM

                    Sounds like you are woker for all woks of life, or something like that. I just love it when someone mentions how they improvise in the kitchen, but will get a steamer rack, I don't know how hold chopsticks, guess I need to get me a couple & practice. I hope I can learn to cook all those kinds of things in my wok. Thanks again.

                    1. re: cstout
                      raytamsgv May 26, 2011 11:41 AM

                      My parents had a Chinese restaurant, so I learned some of their tricks. The steamer rack is the easiest approach. In a pinch, you can use chopsticks instead. But you don't need to know how to use them. Instead, you arrange them inside the wok. Lay down two going from left to right. Then lay down two going from front to back. This will result the "tic-tac-toe" like arrangement. You can place a metal or ceramic plate/bowl on this for your steaming.
                      http://www.londonwok.com/acatalog/LONDON_WOKS_STEAMING_PRODUCTS_4.html

                      If you steam with a wok, you can get "plate grabbers" (for lack of a better name) that will allow you to pull the plate without getting your hands too close to the side of the wok. You should be able to find these where you purchased your wok.

                      You can also purchase bamboo steamers that you put directly into a wok. These are especially useful for steaming Asian dumplings.

                      If you like boiling veggies or deep frying items, you can obtain long-handled metal mesh spatulas that will allow you to take the items out of the wok and drain the liquid or oil at the same time. I'm sure your wok shop will have it.
                      http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/...

                      Happy cooking!

                      1. re: raytamsgv
                        c
                        cstout May 26, 2011 01:20 PM

                        Thank you so much raytamsgv...will go to londonwok.com right now...had no clue to all these different things to use with a wok.

                        1. re: cstout
                          raytamsgv Jun 6, 2011 10:49 AM

                          I mentioned "plate grabber" previously. This is the closest I can find to it: http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/460...

                          If you use a dish or bowl to steam something in the wok, use this to retrieve it easily. Both legs pivots at the vertex. Your palm is on the vertex. With your fingers and thumbs, you move the legs together to go under the end of your bowl or plate. Then you lift. This prevents you from scalding or burning your hands. Make sure you use an appropriate bowl or plate.

                          You can find much simpler versions of these in many Asian markets, and I'm sure you can find it where you purchased your wok.

                  2. s
                    Sailing77 May 26, 2011 01:45 PM

                    Hi,

                    Outside of stir frys, I have used my wok for making soups (just saute the meat, veggies, tofu, whatever and then add your stock and simmer), fondue and oddly to make a tossed salad (obviously off heat) when my regular salad bowl was being used for something else.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Sailing77
                      c
                      cstout May 26, 2011 03:30 PM

                      Gosh, these are more great things to fix in a wok. He, (yes, it is a he), was just sitting there patiently waiting for me to feed him, or maybe I should say, he was sitting there waiting to feed ME,. Woks are so wonderful that way. Thanks to all your great replies, we (my wok & I), will never be hungry again!! I am keeping a list of all these suggestions & will faithfuly try them out. I just get a warm fuzzy feeling from all you dear chowhounds.

                      1. re: cstout
                        w
                        walker Jun 3, 2011 07:31 PM

                        So, I made it over to the Wok Shop and got a 14" flat bottom, the works, plus a pretty bowl, came to $80.

                        I've seasoned it in the oven (forgot to buy Chinese chives) and just made popcorn in it (it's supposed to help season it).

                        I've twice checked out of library Grace Young's two books: Breath of a Wok and Sitr-frying to the sky's edge -- guess I'll buy the latter since it's the newest. Amazon has it for about $20 -- any suggestions on where to get it for less $$? (I'm going to buy 2, one is for a friend.)

                        1. re: walker
                          c
                          cstout Jun 3, 2011 08:44 PM

                          Hi walker,,,so glad you got a wok, I just love mine...it is staying seasoned very well. Somewhere I read to save the water that you washed the rice in to clean out any debrie that stuck in the wok & I got some some stuck in there & just soaked my wok with that rice water on the warm burner & lo & behold, about 10 minutes later the stuff was unstuck, so I just rinsed it out with water & wiped the wok dry with paper towels...good as new...amazing. I could not find a better price for either book other than Amazon...they are still new books on the market, so they will hold their prices pretty well. I only got the Sky's Edge book...would really like to have the other one, in fact I would like the first one she put out too, but as I said, they are still pricey. There is a book that the other posters on this blog were mentioning, but it was a great deal older....I found it reasonably on Ebay. It is the bible of Chinese cooking from what I can see...just came in the mail today....it is downstairs & I am too sleepy go down there to get it now, but I will let you know later what the title is. To me, Grace Young's 3 books & this large one I just got is going to be about all I think I will need. I am brand new at Chinese cooking & woks, & between Ms Tane, Grace Young & the other book, I think I can accomplish a few things. I have only been making stir fries...pretty easy stuff, kinda figured out the basics....protein (chicken, fish, beef, pork), aromatics(ginger, green onion,regular onion) & veggies. Keep all the same size. Put in protein, take out, put in aromatics, add veggies & then put back in the protein..Keep pan very hot the whole time & keep stirring. Oh yes, I forgot the cold rice...add that with the veggies. I may not be doing it correctly, but I can say my 3 stir fry meals were better than any I have had at the local Chinese restaurant. I need to read exactly how to do things, but I was so eager to make a meal, I just got in there & tried on my own. Will settle down & read all this as I get a few spare minutes. I sincerely wish you have many wonderful meals from your wok...beautiful piece of equipment.

                          1. re: cstout
                            c
                            cstout Jun 4, 2011 06:47 AM

                            The name of the book I mentioned on the previous post is The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo...not a slick page book like Grace's books, but all the info is in there...hope you can find it cheap.

                            1. re: cstout
                              w
                              walker Jun 4, 2011 10:30 AM

                              I really like color photos in cookbooks; Grace Young's last two are good that way.

                              My wok seems to be seasoned -- I used the oven method 2 times in a row. (I wrapped the wood handles as instructed.)

                              Years ago I made won tons and pot stickers (not the wrappers) and they were THE BEST. Try making your own!!

                              1. re: walker
                                c
                                cstout Jun 5, 2011 05:05 AM

                                Stick with the Grace Young books if you like photos..the Key book I just mentioned had pencil drawings that are very understandable, but to each his own. I just found The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen on ebay for 9.90...quite a big difference from Amazon. This one is an older book, so maybe you could search around for a much better deal than Amazon. The Breadth of a Wok on ebay was only a couple dollars cheaper than Amazon. It is a newer book, so it might be harder to flush out a cheap price. Someone mentioned Abebooks...have not been there. Good luck.

                    2. Rich102 Jun 10, 2011 10:48 AM

                      We use our wok for deep frying. You can get a semicircular rack that fits inside the wok (search Amazon for "tempura rack" for a picture) that allows the oil from stuff just fried to drain back into the wok. Ours is a 12-inch, so it doesn't take much oil (but you can't fry much stuff at one time) unless you fill it fairly deep. And deep-frying helps keep a good cure on the wok surface.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Rich102
                        c
                        cstout Jun 12, 2011 09:34 AM

                        Thanks Rich102....I will get me one of those tempura racks for my wok. Have you ever fixed coconut shrimp...I had it several years ago at a coworker's house....he was Chinese & was a wonderful cook...he moved to Alaska before I could get him to teach me his secrets...always wanted to do the coconut shrimp...now I have an excuse to try it. Need to find a recipe first though.

                        1. re: cstout
                          Rich102 Jun 12, 2011 10:44 AM

                          My wife got some prepared coconut shrimp a while back, Trader Joe's I think, and it wasn't terrible, just too sweet a coating. But starting with uncooked shrimp and a good recipe the dish should be a lot better. (We're starting to do shrimp at home again-- for a while it seemed that every time we bought shrimp, even at supposedly reliable places, that either the whole batch would be too old or a few shrimp in the batch would be over the hill. Of course, we're far from where the stuff is caught here in a Chicago suburb, so it's probably always going to be a gamble.) It is the sort of thing to do in a wok set up for deep frying, though. Let us know if you find a good recipe.

                          One of the nice things about using a rack in the wok is that things stay warm, unless you're doing more than a rack full.

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