New wok, things to do with it?

goldgirlJanuary 26, 2008

I bought Nordic Ware commercial-grade non-stick wok at Costco today for about $25 thinking it might be good for healthy, quick meals now and when I go back to school in the fall.

I love most Asian food but am not a big fan of Chinese for some reason - maybe just too much bad quality from take-out joints. I also need to avoid MSG and additives.

Can anyone suggest some good recipes?

Thanks :)

Sue

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donnar57

I like using my wok, and as long as you use a healthy oil and only a bit of it, should be able to create a meal that's both delicious and healthy at the same time. I use canola oil.

One of our favorite recipes:
Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

1 lb chicken breast, boneless and skinless - chopped in small pieces
soy sauce
canola oil
2 bags (12 oz) frozen vegetables of your choice
1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked white or brown rice

Start the rice cooking in your favorite manner. Heat up the wok, add a little canola oil to the bottom and heat it up. In the meantime, marinate the raw chicken with a little bit of the soy sauce. When the oil is heated up, cook the chicken breast meat in it. Stir fast and often while it's cooking. When the chicken is cooked thoroughly, move it to a bowl and let it sit.

Add a little more canola oil (not much) and add the 2 bags of frozen vegetables. Add 1 tbsp water and cover. Let them steam - usually 10-15 minutes. When the vegies are thoroughly cooked, add the cooked chicken and stir it all together.

In a gravy shaker, mix 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp cornstarch. Shake. Pour over the chicken and veggie mixture and stir fry.

Serve over white or brown rice.

Types of veggies I've used:
"California Mix"
"Stir Fry Vegetables"
"Stir Fry with Asparagus"
"Oriental Stir Fry with Water Chestnuts"
"Winter Mix"
I vary these by who's eating or what's on sale. My husband doesn't like snap peas in his. I personally don't care.

DonnaR/CA

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 8:48PM
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lindac

I think the terms "wok" and non-stick are mutually exclusive. To properly stir fry, that for the vegetables to be quickly cooked and slightly browned but still crisp, you need to have your wok very hot....and a non stick coating doesn't do well getting very hot. In my opinion it's unsafe. Now realize I use non stick fry pans all the time for eggs and to sautee veggies and to saute chicken breasts....but I don't cook at high heat with non stick.

That said...my favorite thing to cook in a wok, you can decide if it's safe in your wok or not, is chicken and vegetables.
For 2...or 2 servings, I slice a whole chicken breast into slices and put it to marinate in..
1T Cornstarch mixed with
1/3 cup water
Let the chicken slices marinate in this while you cut up the rest of the veggies.
1 small sweet yellow onion cut into thin slices
3 big celery ribs cut into 1/8 inch slices
1/4 green pepper, cut into thin slices
1 small zucchini cubed
4 oz button mushrooms, brushed clean
2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 cup fresh broccoli florets, washed.
Cooking sauce:
1/4 cup dry white wine...or saki or white grape juice
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsps soy sauce...1 T corn starch..
Mix all

Heat your wok for 5 to 8 minutes on high.
Put into it 1 T oil...canola or peanut oil
Add the chicken, toss and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
Remove chicken to plate, wipe out wok with paper towel and return to fire for 2 or 3 minutes...
Add 2 Tablespoons oil and immediatly add the onions and celery
Toss and cook for 2 minutes and add the broccoli continue to cook gor another 2 minutes and add the zuchinni, cook 1 minute and add the tomatoes and mushrooms, cook and toss for 3 to 4 minutes, return the chicken to the wok, toss and cook 1 minute,,,add the sauce mix, toss and cook until well mixed, turn the fire down to very low, cover and cook 1 minute while you plate the rice....serve over rice.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 9:12PM
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Carol Schmertzler Siegel

CHICKEN WITH CASHEWS
4 tablespoons wine vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
14 ounces raw boneless skinned chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons oil
3 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger OR 1/2 teaspoon dried
LOTS OF CASHEWS
4 cups cooked rice

Mix together vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar, set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok. Toss chicken pieces in cornstarch, then stir fry them 5-7 minutes until cooked.

Remove from pan and add onion, garlic, red pepper, and ginger. Stir fry 15 seconds.

Add vinegar mixture, cashews, chicken, stirring to coat chicken, about 2 minutes. Serve over rice.

I added mushrooms, pea pods, broccoli and water chestnuts!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 9:41PM
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goldgirl

Wow, should I return it? Now I don't know what to do!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 10:46PM
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teresa_nc7

Check out my Stir-fry "how to" under Cooking Techniques on our FAQ page!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cooking Forum FAQ page - Stir-Fry

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 10:55PM
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lindac

To return it or not is up to you. Surely you are aware of all the controversity over the safety of non stick coatings on cookware. The word is they give off fumes when heated to high temperatures. There are even warnings about using non stick cookware if you have a bird near the kitchen.
Now...I am not a fear monger...I have a stack of several sizes of non stick skillets, but I use them for things that don't need high heat, eggs, sauteed onions, mushrooms, frying fish....things that don't need a blazing hot pan.
Check the link posted....scroll to the Cooks Illustrated article and make your own decision.
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful: About

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 11:17PM
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goldgirl

Guess I thought the pan's NSF certification meant it was okay. Oh well.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 11:32PM
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rachelellen

A non-stick wok is basically a bowl-shaped saute pan that you shouldn't heat hot enough to really stir-fry. Goldgirl, if you have a gas stove, you can pick up a real wok quite cheaply in any Chinatown (if you live close to one) or online...of course you'll have to temper it like you do an iron frypan. However, modern gas stoves really don't allow for the kind of heat classic stir-frying requires, and with an electric, forget it. See, a wok is designed with the idea of flames coming up the sides, creating a large, hot surface that the food (because of the slope) naturally tends to fall off, only to be tossed back up. So, the food is cooked by repeated but relatively brief contact with a very hot surface. This sears in juices and cooks through at the same time.

In a nonstick, or over an inadequate heat source, the searing heat isn't possible, and so juices leach out of the vegetables, creating more of a "steaming" effect, which is what you'd get with a saute pan.

The wok "effect" is more easily achieved with a good, heavy stainless saute pan used with constant "flipping" of the food being cooked over a high heat than with a wok over a modern gas or electric heat.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 11:55PM
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sherrmann

What LindaC and Rachel said is true, goldgirl. If you are serious about using your wok, you should think about getting a different one, preferably iron or steel with a dome and two handles. Properly seasoned, a wok usually just swishes clean. I have had to deal with some awful messes, though.

That said, I love my wok. It's an ugly mess after all these years, but I use it for more than stir fry. I fill it with oil and fry chicken, french fries, battered mushrooms, onion rings, etc. I don't have a deep-fryer, and the wok works great. Of course, I do use it for stir frying as well, but it is versatile.

I hope you'll enjoy using yours, whatever you decide.

Sherry

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 12:22AM
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donnar57

My wok happens to be an electric non-stick - West Bend from probably 20 years back or so. It's the 2nd one I've owned. While the other posters are correct that it doesn't get superbly hot, it does just fine in creating a healthy meal on very little fat. I haven't had a gas stove in years, and I did have one of those stove-top heavy woks when I started using a wok. When we moved to an Aleutian island that had electric stoves (no natural gas to the island, even our furnaces were electric, though some homes were heated by jet fuel), I had no choice- give up the stove top wok and go to an electric.

Mine does just fine.

DonnaR/CA

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 11:27AM
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publickman

I also use my wok for deep frying, as well as for making popcorn - I can make huge batches at a time. I like to deep fry empanadas, quesadillas (made with fresh masa), tempura, fish, hush puppies, and panzarotti. On occasion, I also make beignets.

Here's my Pad Thai recipe, which is a traditional stir fry, but is not at all Chinese in flavor. If you don't have tamarind paste, you can substitute tamarind sauce and double the amount of tamarind and halve the amount of water added to it. The paste generally has a better flavor, however.

Lars

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 12:12PM
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changeling

When I started investigating woks I thought non-stick would be at the top of my list! Then I found out they aren't even recommended. The experts all agree that a steel wok is the best way to go, and actually the thinner hammered ones are what the experts use. If you do a search on woks in Google you will come up with tons of information.

I personally went to a Chinese restaurant that I go to fairly often and talked to there chef. He was really happy that I was asking and explained the whole thing.

By the way, in his kitchen they have woks that are about 3 to 3.5 feet in diameter at the top!!!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 4:17PM
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sherrmann

Popcorn! Of course! Why didn't I think of that?

Sherry

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 10:45AM
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