The fashion for Chinese cuisine has made even the most staunch champions of European traditions turn to it. Increasingly, we are trying to reproduce the recipes of the Middle Kingdom at home. And we begin the penetration into the secrets of Chinese cooking with the purchase of a round Chinese wok frying pan.
Variety of Woks
Advanced cooks today do without these deep carbon steel skillets with sloping round walls found on Yosukata as hard as without a blender or juicer. And almost as impossible as for the Chinese peasants, for whom the wok in the old days was often the only tool for kitchen production.
With a tiny, no more than 10-12 centimeters in diameter, flat bottom, or completely round, these pans are in the catalog of any decent utensil company — cast iron (usually used by pros) or cast aluminum, steel and with a non-stick coating… As a rule, a semicircular grate goes with a wok, which is attached to half of the frying pan to put the cooked product on it.
Toss up or Stir?
A wok can have one long handle or another round one in addition to it, or only two round ones — however, in this case, it will not be possible to toss up meat on the wok to turn it over. But only Chinese chefs are capable of such tricks, or if they are foreigners, then those who have undergone professional training. It is generally better to start mastering the wok with something simple — and not necessarily Chinese.
Speed is the Key to Taste
From the Chinese tradition, we borrow the principles of cooking, and the main one is speed. No Chinese dish is cooked for longer than 10 minutes (not counting the time it took to prepare the food). And frying itself — unless, of course, you are going to fry in a wok, and not stew or steam — takes no more than a couple of minutes.
This is not so hard to repeat in our conditions: finely chop everything and do not put a lot of food on the pan at once, otherwise, the temperature of the oil will drop, and, instead of fried food, we will get boiled. And you don’t have to worry about the quality of roasting: in a frying pan with a round bottom, the heat from the fire spreads evenly, not like in a regular one.
Always remember: speed is primary. The faster we fry pork, vegetables, or fish, the more likely we will preserve their vitamins and, by the way, color. At the same time, the meat should be cut thinly and finely, across the fibers. Make the fire under the wok maximum and do not leave the stove for two minutes, necessarily stirring ingredients and making sure that they do not burn.
If not frying in a wok, it can be stewed, steamed, or deep-fried. And it takes a bit more than two minutes. Thanks to the narrow bottom, you need only a drop of oil — and this is also healthy.
The Secret and Explicit Meaning of the Wok
“The people revere food as Heaven,” says an ancient Chinese treatise. This must be remembered when comprehending the traditions of the Middle Kingdom in general and the possibilities of the wok pan in particular.