A Must Have…The Chinese Wok!

The Chinese Wok
Thousands of years ago, Chinese cooks figured out how to prepare healthy food quickly using a simple, versatile piece of equipment – the Chinese wok. You can use any large skillet for stir-frying, but inexpensive woks are readily available and ideally suited to the job. And with a wok, you can boil and steam, too.

How The Wok Works
One of the secrets to Asian cooking is heat. The wok’s round-bottomed shape is designed to heat up quickly.

Tips & Techniques to Using a Wok

Stir-fry Cooking Tips

  • Prepare ahead by cutting, measuring and marinating before you start the wok.
  • Cut ingredients into uniform, bite-size pieces to cook quickly and evenly.
  • When stir-frying, always heat any wok for one or two minutes before you add any ingredients, including oil.
  • Swirl the oil around to coat the entire cooking surface.
  • Work in order adding the aromatic seasonings first, then the protein, then the denser vegetables and finally the softer, leafier vegetables.
  • Keep it moving with long chop sticks or spatula to prevent burning.
  • Too much food will cool off the heat and prevent foods from browning or cooking evenly; avoid this by cooking meat first, removing it from the wok, cooking the vegetables and then returning the meat to the wok.
  • If your recipe calls for a cornstarch and water thickener, dissolve 1 teaspoon of cornstarch in 2 teaspoons of cold water before adding it to the wok; then stir constantly until the liquid boils and thickens.

Steaming Cooking Tips

  • Place a steam rack in the wok one inch above the water and bring to a boil.
  • Line the steamer with clean damp cloth (a dish towel works well), parchment paper or fresh greens such as napa cabbage or lettuce to prevent foods from sticking.
  • Cover the steamer and put the lid on your wok.
  • Check water level periodically and add boiling water as needed.
  • Steam can burn; be careful to lift the lid away from you to let steam escape before adding water or removing food.
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