27 February 2012

A wok in the park!

A wok must be one of the most useful utensils in the kitchen and is well worth the investment. No home should be without one. If you are without one and thinking of buying just make sure it is suitable for your type of hob as many are not designed for western stoves. It is worth doing a little research before you purchase. In Europe we tend to associate woks with one particular type of cooking style probably as a result of our exposure to Chinese take aways but with a little lateral thinking it can be used for many different types of cooking such as frying, stir frying, braising, deep frying, boiling and steaming, searing and stewing. Indeed over much of Asia where one ring cookers are the norm it is probably the only cooking vessel in many homes. As far as we are concerned we both discovered this style of cooking at very different times, no prizes for guessing which one grew up watching his mum and sisters cook with a wok over a fierce heat whilst the other had to wait to go to California in his early 20's to be introduced to the wonders of stir fry in 1980's. But whatever the introduction once tried it has remained a favourite cooking method ever since. It is quick, healthy and easy to master and more importantly the texture and crunchiness of vegetables along with their nutritional content is maintained better than any other cooking method we know. Besides it is one pot cooking so cuts down on mess and the washing up. A piece of cake, a walk in the park!

If you haven't cooked with a wok before and are trying one out the recipe below is simple, straight forward and fun. It is a great way to get into the mind set required and once you master this one you will be able to cook almost anything. In this recipe we have listed some of our favourite vegetables but many others can be used like carrot, celery courgettes, broccoli, French beans, cauliflower etc etc etc. The rule of thumb is of course to give the hardest vegetables the longest cooking time. Also its easiest indeed essential to have prepared all your ingredients beforehand as stir fry cooking is so fast it requires your full attention and once you start and there is very little time to do anything. The list of ingredients looks long but most are items necessary for wok cooking and once you have bought them once the will stay in your store cupboard indefinitely.Two wooden spatulas are probably best for tossing.

Ingredients (serves two)

1 large breast of chicken sliced
1 red onion chopped
1 red pepper chopped
Handful mange touts
Handful baby sweetcorn (halved lengthwise)
Handful roasted cashew nuts
Handful button mushrooms
3 tbsp vegetable oil (Rape seed or peanut)
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 cms ginger chopped
2 tbsp Soy sauce
2 tbsp Oyster sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sesame oil

Heat the wok over high heat until it starts to smoke lightly. Put in the vegetable oil and fry the onions until softened. Add the ginger, garlic and chicken and toss continuously until the chicken turns opaque. Meanwhile in a small bowl combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce and mirin and add into the wok. Mix until liquid is slightly thickened then add the red pepper and toss again for a few minutes until the pepper softens slightly. If  the wok become too dry or the ingredients catch pour a little water in. Finally add the mange touts button mushrooms, cashew nuts and sesame. Toss for about 20 seconds and then turn out into serving bowls


  1. hi boys! i ve made this stirfry twice now and it`s super icredibly easy and tastes delicious! But what else can I add to it? .. kiss

    1. Hi mariiiiia! You can use prawns,beef,turkey slices and all kinds of vegetables! and its good to use in season vegetables as they are also cheeper and fresher! hope you develope the recepie even more!