Originally from Asia, the wokthis large frying pan allows short and tasty cooking. It has become so popular in our kitchens that it has given its name to a type of dish, synonymous with a balanced and exotic cuisine, ideal for enhancing the aromas and textures of vegetables.
Did you know that?
The wok would have been born in Chinathree millennia ago. Designed to save wood and coalThis large sauté pan has a traditionally curved “cul de poule” bottom (flat in its western version) and its edges are always high.
The advantage? This guarantees a homogeneous distribution of heat between the bottom and the walls. The wok is ideal for lively, fast, uniform and healthy cooking (the benefits of the ingredients, especially vegetables, are preserved), requiring very little fat.
Which wok to choose?
Traditional or electric? The woks available on the market today are made of stainless steel, aluminium, cast iron or even ceramic. They are equipped with one or two side handles or a handle to stir-fry the ingredients and thus facilitate the uniformity of cooking.
- Flat-bottomed woks are suitable for baking trays.
- Round-bottomed woks are only suitable for gas stove grills.
In its electric version, the wok has a non-stick coating and is placed on a base with a resistor. A thermostat regulates the heat. Convenient for cooking at the table in the presence of guests!
A few useful accessories allow you to get the most out of the wok : lid, wooden spatula, skimmer, semi-circular grids to keep ingredients warm during cooking, steam basket… Remember to have sharp knives to cut and finely slice the vegetables.
And don’t forget the chopsticks for the Asian note!
5 tips for successful wok cooking
1 – Cut the ingredients into pieces of equal size to ensure even cooking. That said, nothing prevents you from alternating carrot sticks, zucchini cubes and turnip slices for the pleasure of the eyes.
2 – You can use a clove of chopped garlic and fresh ginger to flavour your cooking oil, but remove them quickly to prevent them from turning black.
3 – To obtain a well-flavoured – and light – sauce – At the last moment, wet your preparation with chicken or vegetable stock that you have previously reduced.
4 – Use and abuse fresh aromatic herbs (flat parsley, chives, coriander, mint …), herbs (onion, shallot, garlic, fresh ginger …), herbs (onion, shallot, garlic, fresh ginger …), herbs (onion, shallot, garlic, fresh ginger …). seeds (golden sesame, pine nuts or squash) and spices (turmeric, curry, cinnamon, cumin…).
Spice up your dishes with an Asian flavor with nuoc-mâm sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and, at the end of cooking, a touch of sesame oil. A delight!
5 – Cook food with a concern for the harmony of flavors and textures.that is to say not all at the same time! For a complete dish, start with the meat (previously floured), then the carrots, which cook longer than fresh zucchini or peas, the latter simply needing to be seized for a few moments. Stir regularly and add the fresh herbs just before serving.
The wok, a real Swiss Army knife for the kitchen
The wok cannot be reduced to the uses of the pan. The gifted wok is capable of cooking in many different ways. He knows…
- Enter. This is its primary function! Ideal to appreciate the crunchiness and taste of seasonal vegetables and enjoy their nutritional benefits. It also makes it possible to make a dessert “à la minute” such as a pan-fried seasonal fruit to be escorted by an iced nougat, melted chocolate or speculoos crumbs at the end of cooking.
- Fry. The wok serves as an oil bath for the preparation of vegetable tempura, these delicious fritters made from a light dough. For vegetable tempuras for 4 people, prepare for example slices of zucchini or eggplant. Count 100 g flour, 50 g cornflour and ½ sachet of baking powder, which you mix in a little cold water to make a smooth dough. Adding a rack allows you to take the fritters out of the oil bath to drain them.
- Steam cooking. A boiling stock, cubes of salmon, carrot pieces, turnips, leeks placed on the metal grids or, better still, in a basket… All that remains is to cover and wait 10 to 15 minutes.
- Simmer. Under a moderate fire, covered with a lid, the wok can be transformed into a pan, or even a stewpot, to make ratatouille, leek fondue, lamb navarin with early vegetables, fruit compotes…
How to maintain my wok?
The maintenance of the wok is relatively simple. Be careful not to scratch it to keep its non-sticky properties. A traditional wok can be “panties“It requires a little more oil (peanut, rapeseed, sunflower …) during the first cooking (2 to 3 tablespoons) and then a thin film of fat is formed to then reduce this fat intake (a single tablespoon is enough).
So be careful not to rub too much when washing it after use. Purists advise against using the dishwashing liquid and recommend a simple rinse with water.
Click here to discover all my recipes using a wok.
Based on a file from www.fruitsetlegumesfrais.com