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>Interesting comment. I have a few asian cooking books that suggest
>marinating this way. What is the point of using cornstarch as a
>marinade anyways? I've heard of a process called "looing" which is a
>way to marinate but not sure what it entails yet. I did order Gary
>Lee's Wok book which is supposed to be really good so maybe I'll learn
>some tips from that.

Looing is long slow cooking in a very flavorful sauce and results in
very tender, rich meat. I have never tried to do it, but it is quite
easy. For the cornstarch,
I'm not sure, but it makes chicken so good you want to die. I have a
LOT of recipes for the wok, but generally, I just use "whatever" and
have a basic marinade for chicken (what i use mostly) and a basic
sauce. I'm on a relatively low-salt diet and am used to fairly bland
taste, so you may want to use regular soy sauce instead. There are
countless versions, and for different meats, but I usually use chicken
and these are ones I use when cooking without a recipe.
1 T (Tablespoon) sherry, 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce, 1 tsp cornstarch.
Mix well, add bite size chicken chunks, marinate about 30 minutes. If
using the lemon chicken version of the sauce (bottom) I add a little
lemon juice to the marinade.
2 T low sodium soy, 1 T oyster sauce, 1T sherry, 1/2 T sugar, 2 or so
tsp of cornstarch (experiment to see how thick you like it), grind of
black pepper, and I always add 2 or 3 heaping kitchen tablespoons of
"A Taste of Thai" brand garlic and red chili sauce. Thin with a
squirt of water (not very much) stir to mix completely. When food is
done, push up sides of wok, pour the sauce in the middle, stir and
boil to thicken, mix all together and you're done. WAIT - I don't put
the cornstarch IN the sauce - I mix it with 3 or 4 tsp cold water, pur
the sauce in the wok , then pour in the CS slurry.
Same as the above, but add the juice of 1 lemon, 2 T brown sugar
replaces the white sugar, 1-2 tsp of honey. otherwise use as above.
I prefer the plain version, my wife likes the lemon - so lemon it is
most of the time.
Besides chicken, my typical "no recipe" wok meal would consist of the
following - not a LOT of each. Rinse the chestnuts and shoots well
with cold water to remove the can taste.
1/2 onion, cut crosswise, then cut into leaves like in the resturants
handfull each yellow, red, green pepper in 1-inch squares
zucchini, 1/4 inch slices, each cut in quarters, large handfull
few baby carrots, sliced on an extreme bias for looks.
yellow squash, same, about half as much
water chestnuts, 1/2 can, cliced
2 hanfulls trimmed sugar or snow pea pods
half can of sliced bamboo shoots
Roma tomato pieces, throw in at end
couple handfull button or "baby portabella", quartered
2 or 3 large cloves garlic, minced
quarter size sliced ginger, minced
== onions, garlic, ginger, carrots go first, followed by squashes,
peppers and pea pods. Rest goes in later as first cooks. Add a
couple green onions sliced on the bias in 1 inch pieces. If using the
gas burner, I only cook the chicken in batches, the vegs seem to be OK
together. SErve with Basmati rice, or my favorite - boil some
fettuccini noodles and mix it into the mess in the wok. Sort of a
poor mans "deluxe lo-mein", "be ready 20 minute".