I have to admit, I never was enamored of the wok. I always saw it as one more big pan to clutter up my small city kitchen cupboards. It even seemed vaguely pretentious; was I really so "authentic" of a cook that I needed this giant pan? But then I visited Grace Young a few weeks ago and she walked us through the essentials of stir-frying. I was hooked! The results were so incredibly delicious, and for much less work and delicate, painstaking technique than I expected. It was a method that was easy to learn quickly.
Grace very kindly gifted me with a new carbon steel wok, which we seasoned and prepped for cooking. Two nights ago I was inspired to try out my new skills, and I whipped up the chicken stir-fry we have here for me and my husband. Wow! In 20 minutes I went from no dinner to a delicious, gorgeous plate of chicken and vegetables. It was the perfect meal for an early summer evening, and it required me to stand over the stove for less than 5 minutes. So, take the word of a (now converted) wok-aholic — this tool and this method of cooking are very much worth knowing, especially if you want to teach yourself to get fast, healthy weeknight dinners on the table. A few more notes: • While you can stir-fry some dishes in a deep sauté pan, a carbon steel wok is worth buying. They are very inexpensive ($20 to $25) and versatile. • Carbon steel woks need to be seasoned, but this isn't hard (we show you how) and it's not difficult to keep them looking good and feeling nonstick. • These lessons have lots of steps and photos, but don't be intimidated. We wanted to show you every piece of the stir-fry process, but know that this all happens in a matter of minutes! Memorize and learn these recipes by heart, and once you learn them they'll fly by in a flash.
Thank you again to Grace Young for all the tutorials and recipes! Do you stir-fry? What's your favorite thing to cook in a wok?
Everything You Need to Make a Superb Stir-FryStir-Fry Basics • Grace Young's Best Stir-Fry Tips Equipment • How to Buy and Season a New Wok • How to Clean a Carbon Steel Wok Recipe Lessons • How to Stir-Fry Chicken • How to Stir-Fry Vegetables • How To Make Fried Rice
(Images: Faith Durand)
More From Grace YoungVisit Grace's Website • Grace Young.com Find Grace's Books • Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories • The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore • The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing Want to Learn More About Wok Cooking? • Join Wok Wednesdays, a group of enthusiastic cooks working their way through Grace's book, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge