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  #1 (permalink)   Report Post  
 
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Default How hot is too hot when using a Wok

Ok so I just got a wok last night and have done two meals on it.
Both came out really well. What I'm experiementing with is how hot
this thing should be. I have an electric stove and after reading
that these aren't hot enough I figured I better put mine on high.
But when doing that the peanut oil burns easily. What I've tried
so far is keeping the heat on med-high and then pulling the wok
off the burner when I detect burning oil and then back on again to
maintin the heat. I've also tried putting the ingredients in one
at a time, taking the previous one out and letting thw wok come back
up to temp before putting the next in.

I might think about getting a gas burner for outside cooking but
not sure if that would be more trouble than its worth.

Jesse

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aem
 
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wrote:
> Ok so I just got a wok last night and have done two meals on it.
> Both came out really well. What I'm experiementing with is how hot
> this thing should be. I have an electric stove and after reading
> that these aren't hot enough I figured I better put mine on high.
> But when doing that the peanut oil burns easily. What I've tried
> so far is keeping the heat on med-high and then pulling the wok
> off the burner when I detect burning oil and then back on again to
> maintin the heat. I've also tried putting the ingredients in one
> at a time, taking the previous one out and letting thw wok come back
> up to temp before putting the next in.

[snip]

I think you're on the right track. I have had a couple of extended
periods when I had to use an electric stove, and it is a challenge for
wok cooking. My practice was the same as yours, except that I put the
burner on high and the wok directly on the burner, the main point being
to move the wok on and off the burner to control the heat. What you
want to prevent is too much cooling as additional ingredients go in.

Don't assume that you need to lower the heat--i.e., take the wok off
the heat--just because you see some wisps of smoke. Stirfrying can
handle it. Home cooks in general are too cautious about heat--let her
rip and you'll like the result. If restaurant cooks used the moderate
flames that home cooks do, it would be routine to wait an hour for your
food.

-aem

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Maverick
 
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> wrote in message
oups.com...
> Ok so I just got a wok last night and have done two meals on it.
> Both came out really well. What I'm experiementing with is how hot
> this thing should be. I have an electric stove and after reading
> that these aren't hot enough I figured I better put mine on high.
> But when doing that the peanut oil burns easily. What I've tried
> so far is keeping the heat on med-high and then pulling the wok
> off the burner when I detect burning oil and then back on again to
> maintin the heat. I've also tried putting the ingredients in one
> at a time, taking the previous one out and letting thw wok come back
> up to temp before putting the next in.
>
> I might think about getting a gas burner for outside cooking but
> not sure if that would be more trouble than its worth.
>
> Jesse


I think your problem is that you are taking too long. When using a wok, you
want it super hot. But, because of the high temps, you have to have
everything lined up and ready to go. Once you start the wok, you are
committed which means you have to have all your prep work done in advance
and right there beside the stove.

If you get a chance, watch Alton Brown's episode about woks on "Good Eats".
If you think your electric stove is getting too hot, he's using a high
powered propane stove deal which is about 10 times the BTU output of your
stove.

My gas stove doesn't get hot enough, IMO, and I have to slow down when I use
the wok. I'm thinking of using my turkey frying deal (can't remember the
damn name) the next time I break out the wok.

YMMV,
Bret



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aem wrote:

>
> I think you're on the right track. I have had a couple of extended
> periods when I had to use an electric stove, and it is a challenge

for
> wok cooking. My practice was the same as yours, except that I put

the
> burner on high and the wok directly on the burner, the main point

being
> to move the wok on and off the burner to control the heat. What you
> want to prevent is too much cooling as additional ingredients go in.
>
> Don't assume that you need to lower the heat--i.e., take the wok off
> the heat--just because you see some wisps of smoke. Stirfrying can
> handle it. Home cooks in general are too cautious about heat--let

her
> rip and you'll like the result. If restaurant cooks used the

moderate
> flames that home cooks do, it would be routine to wait an hour for

your
> food.
>
> -aem


Thanks I'll try that. My first attempt was deffinatly too low in heat
as the food just kinda sat there without the sizzle I would expect from
this kind of cooking. Tonight I did a bit better though. Part of my
aprehension with having the stove on high was that it seemed to be
burning the bottom of the wok (on the insde) and I didn't want the
patina messed up.

But I agree about being too cautious, I've noticed it seems to take my
recipes longer than what I've seen on TV or even what recipes call for
due to my not wanting to burn food. I guess the trick is to constantly
turn it, especially with wok cooking.

Jesse

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Maverick wrote:

>
> I think your problem is that you are taking too long. When using a

wok, you
> want it super hot. But, because of the high temps, you have to have
> everything lined up and ready to go. Once you start the wok, you are


> committed which means you have to have all your prep work done in

advance
> and right there beside the stove.
>
> If you get a chance, watch Alton Brown's episode about woks on "Good

Eats".
> If you think your electric stove is getting too hot, he's using a

high
> powered propane stove deal which is about 10 times the BTU output of

your
> stove.
>
> My gas stove doesn't get hot enough, IMO, and I have to slow down

when I use
> the wok. I'm thinking of using my turkey frying deal (can't remember

the
> damn name) the next time I break out the wok.
>
> YMMV,
> Bret


Thanks for the info, I'll keep my eye out on Alton's show. I did have
all my prep done in advance this time. Last night I learned that
lesson as I put the garlic and in turned around to finish some prep and
when I turned back around the garlic was burned.

What you said about Alton using the gas burner make sense and was what
made me wonder why I thought med-high was the right temp. I looked at
some gas burners and they were all rated around 100k btu so I figured
an electric must be much lower and therefore even a setting on high
shouldn't pose a problem.

The particular recipe I had tonight involved asparagus. I had that
cooking on med-high for a few minutes when I noticed the oil smoking a
bit. It seemed like the asparagus wasn't enough mass to absorb the
heat present so the oil was taking the brunt of the energy. This
doesn't seem like it would be a problem with meat or bigger veggies. I
did notice the dish ended up having a pleasant smoky smell, different
than what burned oil normally tastes like. Maybe peanut oil can take
the higher heat when it comes to its flavor being affected. As it was
the asparagus was a bit on the crunchy side for what I prefer so I'm
wondering how I'll be able to cook it long enough without burning the
oil/spices. Any ideas om how I could have approached this differently
or am I just being too cautious again?

Jesse



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Maverick
 
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> wrote in message
oups.com...
> Maverick wrote:
>
>>
>> I think your problem is that you are taking too long. When using a

> wok, you
>> want it super hot. But, because of the high temps, you have to have
>> everything lined up and ready to go. Once you start the wok, you are

>
>> committed which means you have to have all your prep work done in

> advance
>> and right there beside the stove.
>>
>> If you get a chance, watch Alton Brown's episode about woks on "Good

> Eats".
>> If you think your electric stove is getting too hot, he's using a

> high
>> powered propane stove deal which is about 10 times the BTU output of

> your
>> stove.
>>
>> My gas stove doesn't get hot enough, IMO, and I have to slow down

> when I use
>> the wok. I'm thinking of using my turkey frying deal (can't remember

> the
>> damn name) the next time I break out the wok.
>>
>> YMMV,
>> Bret

>
> Thanks for the info, I'll keep my eye out on Alton's show. I did have
> all my prep done in advance this time. Last night I learned that
> lesson as I put the garlic and in turned around to finish some prep and
> when I turned back around the garlic was burned.
>
> What you said about Alton using the gas burner make sense and was what
> made me wonder why I thought med-high was the right temp. I looked at
> some gas burners and they were all rated around 100k btu so I figured
> an electric must be much lower and therefore even a setting on high
> shouldn't pose a problem.
>
> The particular recipe I had tonight involved asparagus. I had that
> cooking on med-high for a few minutes when I noticed the oil smoking a
> bit. It seemed like the asparagus wasn't enough mass to absorb the
> heat present so the oil was taking the brunt of the energy. This
> doesn't seem like it would be a problem with meat or bigger veggies. I
> did notice the dish ended up having a pleasant smoky smell, different
> than what burned oil normally tastes like. Maybe peanut oil can take
> the higher heat when it comes to its flavor being affected. As it was
> the asparagus was a bit on the crunchy side for what I prefer so I'm
> wondering how I'll be able to cook it long enough without burning the
> oil/spices. Any ideas om how I could have approached this differently
> or am I just being too cautious again?
>
> Jesse


I'm afraid I can't help you much there. I've never tried asparagus in a
wok. I can tell you that when you use the wok, you start with the items
that take the longest first. Give them a minute or two before adding the
next longest items. I think you get the drift. Most recipes will tell you
the exact order to add the various ingredients.

From everything I read online and in cookbooks, garlic and high temps is
very bad combination. The garlic can go from just right to total garbage in
the blink of an eye. With the wok, I normal add the garlic right after I
add the meat. With that being said, the meat is usually one of the last
ingredients I add since the heartier veggies go first.

Make sense?

Bret



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jmcquown
 
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wrote:
> Maverick wrote:
>
>>
>> I think your problem is that you are taking too long. When using a
>> wok, you want it super hot. But, because of the high temps, you
>> have to have everything lined up and ready to go. Once you start
>> the wok, you are

>
>> committed which means you have to have all your prep work done in
>> advance and right there beside the stove.
>>

> The particular recipe I had tonight involved asparagus. I had that
> cooking on med-high for a few minutes when I noticed the oil smoking a
> bit. It seemed like the asparagus wasn't enough mass to absorb the
> heat present so the oil was taking the brunt of the energy. This
> doesn't seem like it would be a problem with meat or bigger veggies.
> I did notice the dish ended up having a pleasant smoky smell,
> different than what burned oil normally tastes like. Maybe peanut
> oil can take the higher heat when it comes to its flavor being
> affected. As it was the asparagus was a bit on the crunchy side for
> what I prefer so I'm wondering how I'll be able to cook it long
> enough without burning the oil/spices. Any ideas om how I could have
> approached this differently or am I just being too cautious again?
>
> Jesse


You don't mention if you're actually doing "stir fry" - that is, keeping the
ingredients moving in the wok as you cook in it. As someone else mentioned,
unless you're actually simmering something in it (or deep frying) when
cooking in a wok add the longest cooking ingredients first to very hot oil.
Gradually add the other ingredients. But keep that food moving.

Jill


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On 1 Mar 2005 21:01:01 -0800, wrote:
>Maverick wrote:


<keep things super hot>

>Thanks for the info, I'll keep my eye out on Alton's show. I did have
>all my prep done in advance this time. Last night I learned that
>lesson as I put the garlic and in turned around to finish some prep and
>when I turned back around the garlic was burned.


As mentioned earlier, garlic should go in later as it only needs a
minute or two in the pan. Add it at the very end of the alliums.

>What you said about Alton using the gas burner make sense and was what
>made me wonder why I thought med-high was the right temp. I looked at
>some gas burners and they were all rated around 100k btu so I figured
>an electric must be much lower


Yes.

> and therefore even a setting on high
>shouldn't pose a problem.


As mentioned upthread, have all your prep done, and the ingredients
standing ready to go in quickly. I cook with my traditional style wok
on my electric stove and do the following:

a) flip the support upsidedown (larger circle on top) to get the wok
down and in direct contact with the element.

b) only cook with the wok on high, unless deliberately simmering.

There is an adaptive electric element available that curves around the
bottom of the traditional wok. I purchased one... unfortunately it
didn't fit my stove. A better piece of equipment for NorAm
inhabitants is a flat-bottomed wok. This pan is designed for both a)
our home stoves and b) asian cooking.

>The particular recipe I had tonight involved asparagus. I had that
>cooking on med-high for a few minutes when I noticed the oil smoking a
>bit. It seemed like the asparagus wasn't enough mass to absorb the
>heat present so the oil was taking the brunt of the energy. This
>doesn't seem like it would be a problem with meat or bigger veggies. I
>did notice the dish ended up having a pleasant smoky smell, different
>than what burned oil normally tastes like. Maybe peanut oil can take
>the higher heat when it comes to its flavor being affected.


Yes it can. Peanut oil has one of the higher smoke points of the
commercial oils, other than lard itself. Look halfway down this page:
http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/home/143 for a list.

> As it was
>the asparagus was a bit on the crunchy side for what I prefer so I'm
>wondering how I'll be able to cook it long enough without burning the
>oil/spices


You're going to need to do it a couple of times to get the timing
down. (Hardship? Asparagus?) Then, you'll be able to time your cooking
so that you add your spices at the right point to avoid burning.
As long as there is a substance at a cooler temp than the oil itself
in the pan (the object being cooked) it shouldn't smoke.

Do you have a stove hood? If so, crank that baby up to high, or open a
window.

> Any ideas om how I could have approached this differently
>or am I just being too cautious again?


Keep experimenting. It takes several shots to get a firm grip on a new
cooking technique, so keep going!

Shirley Hicks
Toronto, Ontario


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Maverick wrote:
>
> From everything I read online and in cookbooks, garlic and high temps

is
> very bad combination. The garlic can go from just right to total

garbage in
> the blink of an eye. With the wok, I normal add the garlic right

after I
> add the meat. With that being said, the meat is usually one of the

last
> ingredients I add since the heartier veggies go first.
>
> Make sense?
>
> Bret


I'll try that, although every recipe I've seen for wok cooking involves
adding the garlic at the beginning to infuse with the oil. I thought
that idea was then that everything you cooked in the oil would also get
the garlic flavor.

Jesse

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jmcquown wrote:
>
>
> You don't mention if you're actually doing "stir fry" - that is,

keeping the
> ingredients moving in the wok as you cook in it. As someone else

mentioned,
> unless you're actually simmering something in it (or deep frying)

when
> cooking in a wok add the longest cooking ingredients first to very

hot oil.
> Gradually add the other ingredients. But keep that food moving.
>
> Jill



Yes I deffinatly had them moving constantly.

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Lena B Katz wrote:
>
> > I'll try that, although every recipe I've seen for wok cooking

involves
> > adding the garlic at the beginning to infuse with the oil. I

thought
> > that idea was then that everything you cooked in the oil would also

get
> > the garlic flavor.

>
> don't worry aobut the garlic. I dice/mince mine. garlic loves oil,

so
> that's why they use garlic butter.
>
> definetely, add more food. a full bunch of asparagus could probably

take
> the stirfry better than just a few strands.
>
> Stirfry should take about five minutes to cook. Ultimate Fast Food!
>
> Lena



Who uses garlic butter, Chinese cooks? I had about 2/3 lb of asparagus
(trimmed of course).

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Bob Myers
 
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> wrote in message
oups.com...
> I'll try that, although every recipe I've seen for wok cooking involves
> adding the garlic at the beginning to infuse with the oil. I thought
> that idea was then that everything you cooked in the oil would also get
> the garlic flavor.


Yes, but it depends just which "garlic flavor" you're after. When
cooked, garlic tends to mellow out and develop an
interesting, sort of "nutty" flavor, but loses that sharp tang that
you associate with fresh, raw garlic. Both are good, so quite
often you'll want to start out with some garlic in the oil (being
careful not to burn it, of course), and then also toss in a little
more right at the end.

Bob M.



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--
 
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> wrote in message
oups.com...
> Ok so I just got a wok last night and have done two meals on it.
> Both came out really well. What I'm experiementing with is how hot
> this thing should be. I have an electric stove and after reading
> that these aren't hot enough I figured I better put mine on high.
> But when doing that the peanut oil burns easily. What I've tried
> so far is keeping the heat on med-high and then pulling the wok
> off the burner when I detect burning oil and then back on again to
> maintin the heat. I've also tried putting the ingredients in one
> at a time, taking the previous one out and letting thw wok come back
> up to temp before putting the next in.
>
> I might think about getting a gas burner for outside cooking but
> not sure if that would be more trouble than its worth.
>
> Jesse
>


I can't believe there is such a thing as too hot a fire under a wok, after
eating in streetside restaurants in Taipei years back.
You could smelt ore on those roaring blue flames over those huge earth
beehive firepots. We are talking air-injected wide-as-a-wok four foot high
blue flame towers here. There are a couple burners each in those little
restaurants.

Odd part is, it seems efficient - you get your individually cooked order
very quickly, like as in you pay and almost pick it up just after pocketing
change, a couple words and now - as does the other twenty people in line
paying.
I would bet the house that if they left the wok on the flame for any time
at all, in minutes it would turn red and yellow and melt.
My propane boil-your-turkey-in-oil outdoor big-time cooker doesn't have
half as much heat.

One guy put the stuff in dishes and moved it to the next guy who does
the wok cooking - he shakes the wok over the flame, or two woks over two
flames (if it needs it, I guess) stirs as required, and if there ever was a
grease fire, no one could tell because the couple tablespoons of grease gets
blasted to dust in the flame tower and blown out the stack.

Hell of a sight after being used to western cooking where we slowly heat
the utensil to fry.

So I would guess its not the heat source per se, its the time in a big
enough heat source that counts.

fwiw



They put your stuff


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TheAlligator
 
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wrote:
>Thanks for that link, they look like they have some cool stuff. What
>model did you get exactly?
>

You really need to get their catalog. I have bought a LOT of stuff
from them. This link should get you there, but be careful and paste
it all together:
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...5490&R=1549 0
35,000 BTU. Not HUGE, but better than electric.
And only another gadget-geek could explain why, but we got one of
these, too:
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...6707&R=1670 7
It's a lot cheaper construction, but we have used it for about 5 years
with no problems. It's 15,000 BTU. The first one is more
wok-compatible.
Now if I only had about $20,000 to invest in a 7-foot long diesel
generator and some trimmings . . . .
  #27 (permalink)   Report Post  
 
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TheAlligator wrote:
> wrote:
> >Thanks for that link, they look like they have some cool stuff.

What
> >model did you get exactly?
> >

> You really need to get their catalog. I have bought a LOT of stuff
> from them. This link should get you there, but be careful and paste
> it all together:
>

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...5490&R=1549 0
> 35,000 BTU. Not HUGE, but better than electric.
> And only another gadget-geek could explain why, but we got one of
> these, too:
>

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...6707&R=1670 7
> It's a lot cheaper construction, but we have used it for about 5

years
> with no problems. It's 15,000 BTU. The first one is more
> wok-compatible.
> Now if I only had about $20,000 to invest in a 7-foot long diesel
> generator and some trimmings . . . .


Thanks I'll check out the catalog. Those are pretty cheap, I'll have
to check my local asian mom and pop shop and see if they have a similar
one for the same price. One last question though, how do you regulate
the flame on one of those and is there any guidelines to how I should
set it or do you just use it all out?

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TheAlligator
 
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(TheAlligator) wrote:

wrote:
>>Thanks I'll check out the catalog. Those are pretty cheap, I'll have
>>to check my local asian mom and pop shop and see if they have a similar
>>one for the same price. One last question though, how do you regulate
>>the flame on one of those and is there any guidelines to how I should
>>set it or do you just use it all out?
>>

>Depends on how adept you are at using the wok. Like another poster
>farther down here just said, it's not how hot you GET it, but how hot
>you KEEP it. Using an electric burner even on high, if you throw in a
>large quantity of food at once, it will just cool down and stew.

Forgot to add something. One way to avoid the cooldown is cook in
batches. If I have too many vegetables, or too much meat in a
particular dish, I cook in batches. Split the vegetables into 2
groups - hard and soft, or whatever. Dump them in a bowl as you cook
each batch. Adding marinated chicken chunks , divide into 2 or 3
small batches and cook. (I promise you, if you try to do too much
meat in one batch, you will have tough, semi-stewed meat - the
opposite of what you want). Throw everything back together and let it
heat up. This really doesn't take any longer than dumping a huge lot
in and waiting for it to cook because the temp has plunged to zero.
This might be your best approach. I almost always cook the vegetables
first, then the meat, which seems to be the opposite of what most
people do. I found that if you marinate with corn starch in it,
cooking the meat leaves a junky residue which tends to burn, smoke and
make the wok hard to stir around in.
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TheAlligator wrote:

> Depends on how adept you are at using the wok. Like another poster
> farther down here just said, it's not how hot you GET it, but how hot
> you KEEP it. Using an electric burner even on high, if you throw in

a
> large quantity of food at once, it will just cool down and stew. I
> originally used the 35,000 unit on pretty near full blast. I'm
> ashamed to admit this, but I use an oven mit on my left hand because
> the wood broke off one handle years ago - the flames were lapping a
> little too high, and set the mitt on fire. Since then, I let the
> flames lap up the side, but not so much. But I still never turn the
> flame down. I do occassionally lift the wok and flip the food a bit
> so the food still cooks while it cools some. YMMV. I don't really
> know how to answer your question any better, because I've never paid
> much attention. My rule has always been that, within reason, the
> higher the heat the better. The food's not going to be in there very
> long anyway. By the way I think I could live with nothing but a wok

-
> and a pot for pinto beans, of course.


Hey no shame in using a mit, I'll probably be forced to as my wok
doesn't have much of a handle (just a short metal one). But I get the
idea now, generally as hot as you can get and regulate but
stiring/moving the wok.

Thanks for all thw advice.

Jesse

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TheAlligator
 
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"Emil" > wrote:

>I agree with using high heat and there is what I believe is called "Wok Hay"
>which is the steam and aroma that comes off the food when it is put onto the
>serving plate.
>Sit close to the door.

Ah, yes. Wok hay. "Come and eat NOW!" is the result.
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TheAlligator wrote:

> people do. I found that if you marinate with corn starch in it,
> cooking the meat leaves a junky residue which tends to burn, smoke

and
> make the wok hard to stir around in.


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.

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TheAlligator
 
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wrote:
>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.
BASIC CHICKEN MARINADE:
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.
BASIC STIR FRY SAUCE
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.
LEMON CHICKEN SAUCE VERSION
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".


  #37 (permalink)   Report Post  
 
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TheAlligator wrote:
> wrote:
> >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.



Ok so you do advocate cornstarch for marinating, I thought you were
implying in that other message that it was a bad idea due to the
stickyness.

Have you ever tried palm sugar instead of white/brown? I got into that
with Thai curry but I noticed that some sweet soy sauce I bought per a
recipe had it in the ingredients. Either the palm sugar or sweet soy
sauce are both really nice if you like things on the sweeter side (goes
well with heat of course).

Jesse

  #39 (permalink)   Report Post  
TheAlligator
 
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wrote:
>TheAlligator wrote:
>>
wrote:
>> >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.

OK, here is a recipe for a basic looing sauce.
4 cups water, 1 cup light (not "lite") soy sauce, 1 cup dark soy
sauce, 1 star anise, 1/2 cup chinese rice wine or dry sherry, 5
tablespoons sugar, 4 slices ginger. Mix it all in a non-reactive pot,
add any meat (except fish of any kind). If you add fish, you'll have
to throw the sauce out and start over, but with anything else, you can
strain, refrigerate and re-use the sauce many times, adding equal
proportions of all ingredients as replacements when neccessary for
volume.
I don't have all the particulars down, but the sauce and the following
recipe for looed chicken are from the book "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks
Three Ancient Cuisines". Yeah, I know, apparently most of you hate
his guts, but I like him because he got me interested in cooking, not
just surviving.
LOOED CHICKEN
Place the looing sauce in a 6-quart covered casserole large enough to
hold a whole chicken. (OK, I would use a pile of my favorite select
parts rather than a whole one). Bring the sauce to a boil and add the
chicken. Cook for 30 minutes and turn off the heat, leaving the pot
on the burner for another hour. Hack up the bird, garnish with green
onions and sesame oil and serve.
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TheAlligator wrote:
> wrote:
> >Ok so you do advocate cornstarch for marinating, I thought you were
> >implying in that other message that it was a bad idea due to the
> >stickyness.
> >
> >Have you ever tried palm sugar instead of white/brown? I got into

that
> >with Thai curry but I noticed that some sweet soy sauce I bought per

a
> >recipe had it in the ingredients. Either the palm sugar or sweet

soy
> >sauce are both really nice if you like things on the sweeter side

(goes
> >well with heat of course).
> >
> >Jesse
> >

> OK, you're apparently way ahead of me - I don't enven know where to
> FIND palm sugar or sweet soy sauce. As far as the cornstarch - no,
> it's not stickiness. You just need to cook the meat last because of
> the bits of residue left behind when cooking the chicken. I think
> using CS in the marinade sort of ends up creating the well-known
> "velveting" process, commonly used for stir-frying shrimp. The
> chicken is so tender and moist, you really can't believe it.



Guess I'm lucky but we have a little Vietnese district near us and
there's a great place with helpful people there to guide me (although
they did try to sell me a teflon Wok, guess they didn't think I was
serious about this stuff). One of the things I found out they sell is
fresh lo mein, you just need to boil it for about a minute and then
throw into the wok.


Palm sugar is realy nice though, it's slightly brown and has a nice
smooth taste, not overly sweet and more savory.

Thanks for the tip on the CS, I've never tried it with shrimp, will
have to soon.

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