Monday, July 18, 2011

Time Constraints? Consider Wok Cooking.

Many years ago I discovered the advantages, and ease, of cooking meals in a Wok.  Originating in China, the Wok is a deep pan with a rounded bottom and slanted sides; it is usually made of rolled or stainless steel, aluminum or cast iron.  The shape of this pan allows one to cook food at high heat with very little oil.  Besides the traditional stir fry method, Woks can be used to stew, braise, steam or deep fry.  Depending on the dishes you intend to create, a meal can be prepped and cooked in about 30 minutes if using a Wok. 

As with many plans, they do go astray; I'd planned a day at home, catching up on chores and giving myself plenty of time to plan out and make dinner.  Instead, a simple one hour drive to find the location of a copper mine to explore turned into a three hour drive; we never did find that mine.  Needless to say, as soon as I returned home I jumped into those chores and before you knew it...dinner time had arrived.  I was tired, really tired and then I saw the wok hanging from my kitchen ceiling rack.

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ¼” thin slices
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp canola oil, divided in half
1 lb broccoli, cut up into ½” pieces and blanched in salted water
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
Mix together chicken slices, egg and cornstarch; place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat 2 Tbsp of oil, on high heat, in Wok; sauté broccoli with oyster and soy sauces.  Remove to plate and keep warm.  Add remaining oil to Wok, sauté chicken till just starting to brown; return broccoli to Wok and add in garlic.  Mix together and let cook together for 5 minutes; remove to serving platter.
Makes 6-8 servings.

Fried Rice

2 Tbsp plus 4 Tbsp canola oil
½ cup diced onion
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 cups cooked long grain rice
3 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
Heat 2 Tbsp oil, on high heat, in Wok; sauté onion till just beginning to soften, add in peas and carrots, salt and black pepper; sauté together for 3 minutes; remove to bowl and keep warm.
Add remaining oil to Wok; add in rice, soy sauce and ginger; keep mixing together for 5 minutes, making sure to break up any clumps in the rice.  Add back the vegetables; mix thoroughly and remove to serving bowl.
Makes 6-8 servings.

The copper mine?  Roy went onto Google, found its exact location and we'll be trying that adventure again at a later date.  In the meantime, enjoy your own adventure in discovering the Wok.
Mary Cokenour

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