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WOKS, REASONS TO HAVE ONE AND SOME COOKING TIPS, "WOK & WOLL" RAMBLINGS
1 These thoughts have come from a few "Q" forums and fellow EGGheads and I thank all the contributors.
REASONS I LIKE TO COOK IN A WOK:
1 You get to cook at a higher heat on BGE with the wok thus keeping the flavors sealed in the various items you are wokking.
2 You keep the heat out of the kitchen, and IMHO here in Florida that is a great thing.
3 Many of the dishes that I cook have meat in them that have been previously cooked on BGE and the smoke flavor is from that cook.
4 Spatchcocked chicken is great as an ingredient for chicken fried rice. Pulled pork works in pork fried rice.
5 Think of it as a different method to cook, like many of us use Dutch Ovens as a different vessel to cook in.
6 Wok cooking opens up a whole new world of recipes, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and the list goes on throughtout the Pacific.
7 You can cook many side dishes faster and better flavor than a regular pan.
1 Assuming that you have your wok seasoned and ready to cook, let's wok & woll!
Mis En Place:
1 Is to have all of your ingredients chopped up, and put in separate bowls (meat/poultry, veggies, sauce or ingredients for same). In order of how they go in the wok. The cook is so fast, you don't have time to look for something.
2 Make sure all the food is cut according to directions before you start. Never try to prepare food while stir-frying.
3 If not following a recipe, cut all the ingredients into bite-sized pieces. For even cooking, cut all the ingredients the same size.
COOKING WITH A WOK:
1 Put wok on hot BGE 450F-600F, heat and let sit 30-60 seconds. Some like to use a spider up or down position depending on what is cooking. With EGGsperience you will get comfortable doing it your way. There is not a good or bad method.
2 Heat the wok on medium-high to high heat for at least a minute before adding oil. (You may want to skip this step if you have a nonstick pan - it can damage the coating.)
3 You know when the wok is ready when a drop of water dances.
4 Add the oil (up to 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on the dish, drizzling it so that it coats both the sides and the bottom of the wok. The oil heats faster this way. I use peanut oil (for the higher burning point), but some like grape seed, canola or other vegetable oils.
5 Don't pour your oil into a cold wok or your food will stick. Let the oil get hot, a minutes or so, test by adding a piece of meat/poultry. When it sizzles I add the rest of the meat, a cup at a time and never higher than 1/3-1/2 up the side. Too much to cook drops the heat. Swirling the oil around the wok to get the oil on the sides, at least high enough to where the food is going to be.
6 Before adding other ingredients, season the oil by cooking a few pieces of garlic and ginger. (Note: you may want to reduce the heat at this point to keep them from burning).
1 If the recipe calls for meat and vegetables, cook the meat first and then set it aside. Add the meat back when the vegetables are almost cooked. This ensures that the meat is not overcooked, and that the meat and vegetables retain their individual flavors.
2 Depending on how much you are cooking you may do this in batches. I add just enough food to cover the metal surface one-third but no more than halfway up the sides. IMHO this allows maximum surface contact for rapid searing of the meats. When done remove to a separate bowl.
3 Meat is normally stir-fried on high heat to seal in the juices (individual recipes can differ). Never add more than a cup or so of meat at a time to the wok.
4 Unless you are trying to sear meat, keep the ingredients moving with a spatula at all times. This will allow even cooking and sealing of nutrients.
5 Remove the meat from the wok when it changes color - for example the redness in the beef is gone. At this point the meat is approximately 80 percent cooked.
6 When stir-frying meat, wait a few seconds before tossing so that it has a chance to brown; when stir-frying vegetables, begin moving them immediately.
1 If possible, wash the vegetables ahead of time to ensure that they have drained and are not too wet.
2 Alternately, if the vegetables are too dry, try adding a few drops of water while stir-frying.
3 Cut your veggies on the diagonal so there is more surface area. Depending on what is being cooked.
4 I may do the veggies separately or a few at a time. If steaming, you just need a lid for the wok. Again the goal is to cook, but not OVERCOOK. Remove them to the bowl with the first batch.
5 Stir-fry vegetables according to density, with the densest vegetables being stir-fried first and for the longest time. Denser vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and eggplant require more cooking time than green leafy vegetables such as bok choy.
6 If you're uncertain about the order in which to stir-fry vegetables, the simplest solution is to stir-fry them separately, one at a time.
7 At this point some will add everything back into the wok and add the pre-made sauce. I prefer to make or add the sauce in the wok and then add everything else back into the wok and stir to coat. This also keeps the meal from getting over cooked.
8 When adding sauce to vegetables and/or meat, form a "well" in the middle by pushing the ingredients up the sides of the wok. Add the sauce in the middle and stir to thicken before combining with the other ingredients.
9 Once the dish is completed, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
10 Serve the stir-fried dish immediately.
1 If you do not have a surface that will take hot woks without doing damage, buy a wok ring and keep it right next to your egg. It will keep your hot wok from burning the table surface after removing the wok from the egg.
2 I would also suggest getting a metal wok spatula, as opposed to trying to use a wooden spoon, a wooden spatula or some other form of metal spatula. The wok spatula with its curved bottom, curved front edge and turned up sides is ideal for stir-frying. The curved shape and thin material make it easy to pick up food for turning and the curved front edge makes it easy to push food around without any slipping under the blade. Be sure to get one with a long handle so you can keep your hands away from the heat. And some of this heat includes the heat coming up around the edges of the wok itself. The one I have has a 19 inch handle which works out great. Unless you are using a wok with a wooden handle, a proper set of high heat gloves is highly recommended.
1 For regular cooking, I like to use a 14" with wood handle and flat bottom on my large. Usually the wood handled ones have a small piece of wood on the back side, I just cut it off.The flat bottom allows it to sit directly on the grate and the wood handle gives greater control over the cooking. Others prefer either a 14"/16" and sit on a spider in the lower position. This gets the wok closer to the fire and hotter CAREFUL of flashbacks as this may happen around the edges of the wok. When wooking with a bamboo steamer basket, I use a 14" or 16" with "D" metal handles, They are placed in a spider either up or down depending on number of layers in the bamboo steamer. Many eggers with a large use the 14"/16" w/metal handles with a spider, but you need some heavy duty gloves much of the time to get to the wok. Those with mini BGEs use a 10" wok with a wood handle from the Wok Shop and it is a perfect fit.
2 Regarding smoke the BGE produces the regular start the fire smoke and then no more than usual. The only smoke you will eggsperience is if you leave the wok alone and it burns the food, but you can do that without a wok. Unless I am steaming fish I never add wood chips. Living here in Florida I prefer to cook outside as often as possible just to keep the heat out of the kitchen and the AC bill down.
1 I use a flat bottom with a ring on a ceramic top stove and it does just fine for heat, on the gas stove I use a flat wok without a ring and it works great.. Also a round bottom will work on a flat stove with a wok ring. On BGE I use a flat or round bottom sometimes with a spider legs up or down depending what I am doing.
1 Finally, a few words about cooking temperatures. Some recipes give instructions on whether to cook a dish at high, medium-high, or medium heat, but others don't. In Chinese Home Cooking, Helen Chen suggests starting to cook at medium-high heat and then adjusting the temperature up or down as needed on your model of stove. Another option is to have a second burner set on medium heat that you can quickly move the wok to if you feel the food is cooking too fast.
WOK SIZES--SOME OPINIONS:
1 The 20" should be perfect for the XLRG with metal "D" handles.
2 I use both a 14" or 16" round bottom "D" handles with spider on my large and also as VI pointed out I use a wood handle 14" on the grate of the large and my cooktop stove with a wok ring.
3 My preference is the wood handle as it gives me more control over the wok and I also have been cooking most of my wok meals the last few years on my Oriental Tao.
4 http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=1151884&catid=1 5 Here are some Wok Ramblings that have been put together to help wokkers..
Source: BGE Forum, Richard Fl, 2012/10/12
Richard Melbooooring Fl.
"KING OF LONEY", SELF APPOINTED!!!!!
IF YOU WANT TO DRINK ALL DAY, YOU HAVE TO START IN THE MORNING!!
OUR LAGER, WHICH ART IN BARRELS, HALLOWED BE THY DRINK, THY WILL BE DRUNK, AT HOME AS IT IS IN THE TAVERN. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR FOAMY HEAD, AND FORGIVE US OUR SPILLAGES, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SPILL AGAINST US, AND LEAD US NOT TO INCARCERATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM HANGOVERS. FOR THINE IS THE BEER, THE BITTER, THE LAGER.