Posts filed under ‘Wok Wednesdays’
This tasty explosion of color and flavor made me regret all the Wok Wednesdays I’ve been missing in the hurly-burly of the last few months. As always, focusing in on one recipe from Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge by the amazing and brilliant Grace Young gave me knowledge, pleasure, and a superb dinner for my family and me. It was a busy weeknight, but since this dazzling dish reels in protein and vegetables and was served with plenty of rice, it was an all-in-one which fit in just fine on a busy Tuesday in winter-deciding-whether-to-surrender-to-spring NC evening.
Here in the very-well-supplied region known as The Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and environs), I could have obtained every ingredient except for the chili bean paste at my nearest supermarket or at the not-too-distant Whole Foods here in town. But since I decided to head for Li Ming Asian Market in order to purchase this key ingredient, I decided to look for the baby bok choy there as well. I found not only baby, but also itty-bitty-baby bok-choy, and that is what I got. Beautiful, delicious, delightful to handle and see and taste.
For the bean sauce issue, I found the one pictured in @Grace Young’s marvellous book, our text, but decided to go with the blue can, because it’s a brand I used back when I first started cooking Asian food, and because I love the logo and old-school style of the packaging. Both seemed quite similar in ingredients listed, and both are products of Taiwan. I will transfer the remaining sauce to a glass jar and keep it in the fridge, I think. Hmmm—need to ask Grace! Preserved salted soybean products like this were created to be kept at room temperature for long periods of time, so actually, it may be fine to keep out on the counter. I prefer that when it’s safe to do so, because the further away something is, the less likely I am to think of it and use it.
Prep for this dish was a bit different, as I have never stir-fried scallops before; in fact I have very seldom cooked them in any form at all. I love them, but don’t tend to order them or buy them due to both expense and lack of knowledge as to how best to prepare them. Glad to be nudged into Scallop World here. For this recipe, they were rinsed, patted dry, and then halved crosswise. This made them ‘go further’, giving an abundant looking dish. They cooked quite evenly and quickly as well.
Next step for me was preparing the garlic and the fresh ginger (mmmmmm, so aromatic, so beautiful, so tasty — I got a big supply this time, which will live out on the counter in the basket with its friends, garlic, shallots, limes and lemons, onions and fresh hot chilies).
I stirred together the seasonings in a small bowl: chili bean sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce and cornstarch, and measured out all the other ingredients so I was ready for action.
My scallops released a good bit of liquid—I may not have patted them dry enough, or I may have had heat wrong. This caused them to stew more than to develop a bit of a browned crusty texture which I had imagined they would do. But looking at the photograph, I realized that is not the deal with this preparation, and in fact, the finished dish was both gorgeous in colors, texture, and aroma, but completely delicious and satisfying as well. I would move a bit faster next time — the more times I cook a given stir-fry, the better it gets, because the better I get at my timing of that dish’s particular deal. I think this would be excellent with bay scallops as well, which would eliminate the halving of the scallops, and also bring down the cost. This was a glorious splurge, which I could see making with shrimp or chicken or tofu and mushrooms, adjusting the timing to the particular ingredient.
Look for the recipe on page 154 – 155 of Grace’s must-have book, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories.
Join us in cooking from this book on WokWednesdays. Visit the blog, and check out the Facebook page as well. Happy cooking, happy eating!
My third time around on the #WokWednesdays merry-go-round is a generous and colorful dish which we paired with rice for a one-dish meal. Like our last recipe, this dish took some prep time, chopping and measuring out the ingredients; but with that done, the cooking-to-serving-platter time shrinks to under ten minutes, and the results were lucious and pleasing to eyes and palates. Lots of robust red sauce waits beneath the shrimp and peppers pictured here, making this an excellent dish to enjoy Thai-style; that is, over long-grain rice which is cooked to be fluffy and ideal for eating from plates with spoons, rather than from rice bowls with chopsticks. Not that rice bowls and chopsticks would be a problem; just use the serving spoon to scoop some of that divine sauce right onto the rice as you eat.
I left the shells on, for the flavor boost and beautiful color. It’s messy eating, but I’m of the fried-chicken eating, watermelon-seed spitting crew of Southerners who consider messiness a harbinger of tasty fun food experiences. Not wrong to take them off; just don’t mind leaving them on for what I consider rewards for doing so. Shells provide lots of locations for sauce and tidbits to hunker down and be discovered by intrepid eaters….
A beautiful view, always, when I cook in a wok. The ginger and garlic which went in first thing gave lovely flavor notes to the dish, especially in the rust-colored sauce.
I love the stir-fry management techniques dreamed up by two of my fellow bloggers. Big Red Kitchen sets out her mise-en-place (chop/prep/measure-steps) in jars, and Mother Would Know notes steps on sticky notes to keep her on track. She calls them cheat sheets, but I could not put such a pejorative spin on her idea. I think it is resourceful cook-smarts and a worthy example to follow. which my fellow bloggers, Big Red Kitchen and Mother Would know
Here’s a round-up of some of my fellow Wok Wednesday bloggers
The Wok Wednesdays post on this dish:
Grace Young’s website: http://www.graceyoung.com/
Pinterest Page generously created by Robin Sue of Big Red Kitchen: http://pinterest.com/bigredkitchen/wok-wednesdays/
Basic Background for Wok Wednesdays: http://wokwednesdays.wordpress.com/about/
Order Grace Young’s inspiring book HERE , and consider cooking along with us next time!
My second Wok Wednesdays endeavor produced a generous, satisfying dish: hearty, gorgeous, and perfect as a party dish or a one-dish family meal. In contrast to our first recipe, Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach, with its hallmarks of simplicity and focus, this dish, Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken plunged us into the world of contrasts and organization, with multiple ingredients and advance preparation on the menu.
I chopped up the chicken and tossed it with the cornstarch mixture, and set it in the fridge while I took care of business with the peppers, zucchini, ginger, and garlic, and measured out all the ingredients.
Then I put the rice on to cook and took a break for daily life (e-mail! dog-tending! homework-advising! laundry-folding! staring out the window…). Once rice was ready, the table was set, and the family was handy, and my was on the stove, it was showtime!
I love the process of stir-fry cooking, where everything is, well, in your face. I am watching and working, making things happen (swirling the oil, tossing the garlic and ginger, spreading the chicken pieces out over the hot pan, tumbling in the peppers) and also leaving things alone, to sizzle, sear, soften, and scent the kitchen with promising aromas. It’s fast and noisy and things change, from color of the raw chicken to texture of onions and peppers. In this dish, I loved how the chicken took on color once the spices were introduced, and the way the main ingredients stayed substantial while releasing that marvelously tasty rust-colored sauce. Big Red Kitchen has a smart, cool and pretty idea for stir-fry prep: organizing your mis en place in jars.
I took it easy on the chili heat, since the levels of appreciation for fiery food varies at my house, but this is a dish which could shine with the chili-dial turned up. I love the insight on how Chinese culinary traditions were interwoven with local Burmese and South Asian ingredients with this family kitchen.
For Grace Young’s recipe for Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken , visit this week’s host, “My Culinary Mission”, by clicking HERE.
Here are posts on Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken from some of my fellow Wok Wednesday cooks: