Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wok and Roll

The first piece of specialty cookware I remember getting was a wok. It was a gift for my college graduation from a couple of high school pals. The gift even came with a cookbook, Better Homes and Garden “More From Your Wok” (1982). I never did try the recipe for Apple Bread Pudding made in the wok, but I do recall that for some time I harbored an intense wok obsession.

Eventually, I burned the shiny finish off the base ring, and for years the wok sat in my basement because my electric stove (with coil burners) wasn’t much suited to heat a wok to the temperature needed for a super-hot stir-fry.

With the recent upgrade to a gas stove, I took the plunge and purchased two updated woks from Calphalon – one smaller size for weeknights, and a larger one for a crowd (and no shiny base rings required).

Now, I’m reliving my former passion, relishing the Zen simplicity of the stir-fry. This easy recipe for Chicken, Red Pepper and Green Bean Stir-Fry from Epicurious uses a short list of ingredients, most already on hand.

The stove sure gets splattered, but that’s part of the theatrical fun of stir-frying. Remember those old Benihana TV commercials?

And, the taste is 100 percent authentic takeout - Wok-a-doo!
©2010 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Julia said...

Woks were definitely the thing to have when I was in college too! But for my graduation, I got a 12" calphalon pan. I still have it and generally do all my stir frying in there.

I'd be curious to know the difference you feel from cooking in a wok vs. the skillet.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

We still have our first wok, a very old Joyce Chen carbon steel one (minus the ring which was never used). It looks like it's been hard a work at Benihana for a long time, but my husband (the wok king) loves it. I do all of the prep and he does all of the woking. A good deal for him if I say so myself.

I bought him a flat bottom wok when we had an electric range, but he didn't like it. Couldn't flip the food right he said. Sometimes I think he bought our latest duel fuel range just so he could show off with his wok.

If it were just me, I would prefer the Calphalon ones you bought, but I don't have a say here. Have a great Memorial day T.W and enjoy your (count 'em two) woks.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

My favorite wok is a hand-hammered carbon steel wok a friend brought me from China. But what I use most often is a restaurant-supply, one-handled stir-fry pan.

Isn't it fun to have gas?

Kalyn said...

I'm not surprised to hear you're loving wok cooking on the new gas stove. The stir fry looks great. Such a good cooking method for quick dinners!

Mary said...

I would be embarrassed for the world to see my wok. It's made of carbon steel and as old as the first of my daughters. A kindly description of its appearance would be to say well-loved :-). I also use it for deep frying. Your stir fry really does look wonderful. Have a wonderful holiday T.J. Blessings...MAry

Lori Lynn said...

Congrats on your new stove. Look at that beautiful shiny new pan! That sir-fry looks awesome.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Speaking of wok pan and college, the mentioning of the two reminds me of my college graduation when I walked across the stage and a group of my friends stood up to cheer. One of my good buddies whipped out a wok and large metal spoon and started banging it like a gong. I can still hear the clanging ringing in my ears. It was such good fun.

Nice wok, and stove! This dish looks terrific!

veron said...

the breath of a wok! What can't it do? Congrats on buying the one piece of cookware that I feel one can feel in Zen with. :)

~~louise~~ said...

College and Woks, now if that doesn't bring back memories.

Okay, so, I've been meaning to tell you. I have a very long list of gas stove dishes that I've been yearning to cook. The first, ironically enough, was a Wok dish. (I would also like bread pudding made on a gas stove, My-T-Fine Chocolate Pudding Stirred over a gas flame and...need I go on?

Personally, I'm hoping you are naming your dish Wok and Roll. It's rocking my world for sure. You see T.W. I haven't been able to find a restaurant here and I miss Wok Cooking. Forget Benihana's! (Benihana's was the first place I ever went on a "real" date:)

Your dish looks simply amazing. I may just have to drive down to New York for a taste!

Thanks for sharing, T.W. Have a memorable and safe weekend:)

P.S. No Woks in this house...

tasteofbeirut said...

That wok looks super easy to clean too; it is the stove I would worry about! Oh well! Nice recipe and I am with you on the simplicity factor! Love simplicity! So are you going to cook with the wok every day from now on? I am curious about this apple thing you mentioned at the beginning.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I finally broke down and bought a carbon steel Wok. I seasoned it...and it is still sitting, waiting for me to try it out. You just gave me the kick in my you-know-what to make it happen. Wok on!

Velva said...

I can remember really well when woks were all the craze-A great way to cook healthy and delicious food. Love your new wok pans and your stove.

Cheers to the wok!!!

Nessa said...

woks are too much in fashion now, whether you want to make chinese, thai or even indian, woks are perfect esp the non-stick ones, as they need very less oil and prevent the food from burning or loosing all its calories!! i like cook in woks as they are easy to handle too