One stable wok can actually allow you to cook many different dishes for your family. If your storage space is limited or you just don’t like using multiple pans, you can use your wok to deep-fry, simmer soup, sauté veggies, and even make your own egg roll wrappers. By learning a few easy ways to prepare meals with your wok, you can keep your whole family happy.
Prep Ahead To Keep Things Simple
Dietary and budget experts agree that cooking at home is a wonderful way to reduce your intake of sodium and unhealthy fats. It can also save your budget. However, starting from scratch at the end of a long day can leave you thinking about ordering takeout.
With a wok at hand, you can do a lot of prep cooking on the weekend. You can dice up veggies, cook and refrigerate rice, and chop your favorite protein up for a quick add to your wok. You can even marinate your meat in a few of your favorite seasonings and flavor the whole dish with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
It’s important that you invest in a good oil with a high smoke temperature, such as avocado or grapeseed. You can either preheat your wok, add the oil, and toss in your favorites, or you can toss your ingredients with a bit of oil before adding them to a hot wok.
Cooking in a wok is healthy, quick, and versatile. You are bound to create delicious meals that every family member will be sure to enjoy.
Be Ready to Work (And Wok) Fast
The shape of a wok allows you to get all surface areas of the food you’re preparing against the hot pan for at least a bit. If you love seafood, try searing scallops or Mahi Mahi in a hot wok to capture the sweet flavor of the flesh. Once it’s seared, push the meat up the side of the wok where the surface is cooler to keep it tender.
Unlike many cooking techniques, you really can’t step away from a wok to pour beverages or set the table. When your wok is hot enough, you need to be there to keep tossing the food so nothing burns. If your family is hungry and waiting, get them busy prepping the dining space so you can immediately dish up your freshly cooked food.
Start With Your Spices
The heat tolerance and shape of your wok make it a wonderful spot to toast your spices. Most spices really open up under low or medium heat. If you have whole peppercorns or chile peppers, you can actually toast them as your wok warms up.
You may have the best luck using a non-stick wok for this process. While seasoning a wok isn’t hard, toasting spices is a dry process and you don’t want your spices sticking to the pan. Most spices will be fully toasted in 3 to 5 minutes; just keep them moving and check the fragrance as they open up. Dark is good, but burning is a waste.
Get A Wok Ring
The traditional wok is round-bottomed and needs a wok ring for stability. There is no reason that you can’t use your wok for dishes that feature sauces and even soups, but even a flat-bottomed wok can be tippy when it’s full or contains a lot of liquid.
Your wok ring should fit around the handle brackets. A traditional wok has two handles high on the sides and a round bottom. Modern woks, including non-stick varieties, often have one long handle on the side. To keep your wok as balanced as possible as you work, a ring is critical to your safety.
Try Deep Frying
One of the hassles of deep-frying at home is that you then have a container of oil that may end up going rancid before you use it again. With a wok, you can get a deep-fried finish with very little oil.
Start with something simple, such as zucchini sliced into coins. Mix flour, egg white, and cold water into a thin batter to coat the veggies. Heat a small amount of grapeseed oil in your wok and lay the veggies in it until they brown, then quickly flip them.
If you struggle to get your family to eat veggies, a quick toss in the wok can add interest. Even better, you can cut back on your meat budget by chopping it into smaller pieces for a quick stir-fry. Invest in a ring to stabilize it and your wok can become one of your primary cooking tools.