Wok Wednesdays II

Here begins our second year of Wok Wednesday recipes. The first year was great and I learned a ton by stir-frying meals that I probably wouldn't have otherwise cooked and also by re-trying some of our favorites, and I look forward to what Year II offers. My thoughts on the whole project will be left to the first year's page, but I plan to keep the index links on both pages. Let's go!

Wok Wednesdays Index
  1. 05/16/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach
  2. 05/30/12 - (Year I) Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken
  3. 06/13/12 - (Year I) Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Rum Shrimp
  4. 06/27/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas with Shiitake Mushrooms
  5. 07/11/12 - (Year I) Yin Yang Beans
  6. 07/25/12 - (Year I) Kung Pao Chicken
  7. 08/08/12 - (Year I) Classic Dry-Fried Pepper and Salt Shrimp
  8. 08/22/12 - (Year I) Chinese Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice
  9. 09/05/12 - (Year I) Summer Pepper Corn & Stir-Fried Ginger Beef
  10. 09/19/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Cucumber & Pork with Golden Garlic
  11. 10/03/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Eggs with Tomatoes
  12. 10/17/12 - (Year I) Spicy Orange Chicken
  13. 10/31/12 - (Year I) Tea-Smoked Shrimp Salad w/ Mango and Steamed Mahi Mahi & Veggies
  14. 11/14/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork
  15. 11/28/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Mussels with Ginger & Scallions
  16. 12/12/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Ginger Broccoli
  17. 12/26/12 - (Year I) Wok-Popped Popcorn
  18. 01/09/13 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Curried Beef
  19. 01/23/13 - (Year I) Hoisin Explosion Chicken
  20. 02/06/13 - (Year I) Chicken Lo Mein w/ Ginger Mushrooms
  21. 02/20/13 - (Year I) Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups
  22. 03/06/13 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Chili Scallops with Baby Bok Choy
  23. 03/20/13 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Chicken with Carrots & Mushrooms
  24. 04/03/13 - (Year I) Hakka-Style Stir-Fried Cabbage & Egg
  25. 04/17/13 - (Year I) Wok Portraits
  26. 05/01/13 - (Year I) Velvet Chicken w/ Asparagus
  27. 05/15/13 - Wok-Seared Vegetables
  28. 05/29/13 - Hot Pepper Beef
  29. 06/12/13 - Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken
  30. 06/26/13 - Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice
  31. 07/10/13 - Macanese Chicken
  32. 07/24/13 - Cilantro Chili Noodles
  33. 07/31/13 - Cajun Shrimp & Pepper Stir-Fry
  34. 08/14/13 - Hot Pepper Beef
  35. 08/28/13 - Vegetarian Five Spice Tofu
  36. 09/11/13 - Chicken w/ Pineapples & Peppers
  37. 09/25/13 - Spicy Long Beans w/ Sausage & Mushrooms
  38. 10/09/13 - Stir-Fried Cumin-Scented Beef w/ Vegetables
  39. 10/23/13 - Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans
  40. 11/06/13 - Stir-Fried Lotus Root w/ Bacon & Vegetables
  41. 11/20/13 - Choose Your Own Wok Adventure
  42. 12/04/13 - Chinese American Shrimp w/ Lobster Sauce
  43. 12/18/13 - Choose Your Own Wok Adventure
  44. 01/01/14 - Rogue Wok Adventure
  45. 01/08/14 - Chinese Trinidadian Chicken w/ Mango Chutney
  46. 01/22/14 - Velvet Orange Scallops
  47. 02/05/14 - Sichuan Pork w/ Peppers & Peanuts
  48. 02/19/14 - Chinese Cuban Fried Rice
  49. 03/05/14 - Stir-Fried Yau Choi w/ Oyster Sauce
  50. 03/19/14 - Barbecued Pork Lo Mein
  51. 04/02/14 - Five-Spice Chicken w/ Sugar Snaps
  52. 04/16/14 - Stir-Fried Mongolian Lamb w/ Scallions
  53. 04/30/14 - Choose Your Own Wok Adventure

Wok-Seared Vegetables (5/15/13) 

We're starting off Year II of Wok Wednesdays with a recipe I would never normally try because there's no meat involved. But I'm glad we're trying it now, as I could get the asparagus (Crooked Creek Farms) and carrots (Sunny Point Gardens) from some of my favorite local farmers. This is definitely the time for asparagus, and the folks who know about these things tell me the window for getting good fresh asparagus is pretty small. Might as well make the most of it!


Mise en Place.
The asparagus has already been blanched.

I later saw Grace mention that a Kinpira peeler should not be used for the carrots because bigger cuts would be better for this stir-fry, but this worked out just fine for me.

Two minutes.

Wok-Seared Vegetables.


As per usual this was fun. And fast. While the stir-fry was taking place I was also plank-grilling some Alaska salmon from Kentucky fishermen that we got in our weekly CSA basket. I know that sounds weird, but these folks have a cool story...

Oak-Planked Salmon, Riced Cauliflower, & Wok-Seared Veggies.

We ate the veggies and salmon with some riced cauliflower following Big Red Kitchen's method. Great combo, and a great meal that used up a lot of our CSA foods...


Hot Pepper Beef (5/29/13) 

When we have three Wok Wednesdays in one month, the third is a Choose Your Own Adventure deal. The choice was pretty easy for me, especially after a favorite local farmer (Dolan Farms) offered me some bottom round steak and asked me to try it in a stir-fry. Time for Hot Pepper Beef!

The first time we met, a couple years ago.
It wouldn't be the last.

(I didn't have any ginger on hand, so the ginger is not pictured.)

Mise en Place.

Mise en Place II.
This is the first time I've ever fit all the food and hardware into one trip to the grill. Win!

Three minutes.

Hot Pepper Beef.


If this wasn't our best stir-fry ever, it was only second to a Hoisin Explosion Chicken stir-fry that I also did in the cast iron wok on the grill back on Week 19. Both have Hoisin sauce in common, and as previously mentioned I think I'm partial to it because it is much like a BBQ sauce. But I think the real magic comes from the cast iron wok at really high temps on the grill. Things happen fast with this setup and I don't always get it right, but when I do the result is something special. I gotta say, I don't know how full-time wok chefs do it. My eyes were burning and my twelve-year-old assistant (who did half the prep) bolted 30 seconds into the stir-fry. The smells and vapors are intense!

As per usual, the final product is only as good as the ingredients, so big thanks to Dolan Farms for the beef. Steve thought the bottom round steak might work good in a stir-fry and he was right!


Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken (6/12/13) 

I was on vacation, so I didn't get to make this one on time. But we have made it several times and we love it. I'll update this space when we do it again soon, and in the meantime here's an old picture from when we first tried it...

Hoisin Explosion Chicken & Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken.

Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice (6/26/13) 

Stay tuned...

Macanese Chicken (7/10/13) 

Stay tuned...

Cilantro Chili Noodles (7/24/13) 

Obviously I'm falling behind here, but I had to make this one real quick after seeing Cathy's post. I'll catch up proper one of these days. In the meantime this was pretty much awesome...

Cilantro Chili Noodles


Cajun Shrimp & Pepper Stir-Fry (7/31/13) 

I took advantage of this Choose Your Own Adventure Wednesday to try a new Grace Young recipe that isn't in the book -- Cajun Shrimp & Pepper Stir-Fry, created for Weight Watchers. It looked easy and fun and quick, and I wanted to try something new, so...


I picked up the peppers and the garlic at the market just this morning.  I have no idea if you can buy clam juice in a bottle or something, but one of these cans produced exactly what I needed and the clams went in another pasta dish, so that worked out well.

Mise en Place.

Six minutes?

Surprise! That was kinda fun. I do believe I'll do that again, and hopefully I'll get better at it. I'm bummed about the breeze which started at the worst possible time, as that particular stove wasn't exactly shown in it's best light. If it had been a breezy day, I wouldn't have used it there. It works great in good conditions, and it works great indoors. I've read that other similar stoves lose power after a few minutes, but I've burned through two whole cans for a camping fish fry with no problems on this one. The only problem is that a stiff breeze will kill the flame or seriously reduce its effectiveness. Anyway, I'll redeem myself next time.

UPDATE: This video better shows how this particular stove works in better conditions.

I forgot about these, but after the stir-fry I cooked them for about a minute in some left-over sauce to add more of a kick.

Cajun Shrimp & Pepper Stir-Fry.


We ate this with pasta and I used real sour cream instead of the reduced fat variety (that was an honest shopping mistake) so I probably threw the low-calorie idea out the window, but it sure was tasty! We'll be doing this one pretty often, unless Grace keeps creating new recipes that we have to try...


Hot Pepper Beef (8/14/13) 

As mentioned above, this is one of my two favorite stir-fries so far. I didn't score a flank steak this time either, so I went with a top round steak this time. I did find some some good farmers market peppers, including a habanero which ended up being pretty mild but definitely added some flavor.


Mise en Place.

Three and a half minutes?

So, that's a decent example of how the Weber kettle works with a traditional cast iron wok. Normally I would have used more charcoal, but I was being a bit conservative since it was mid-90s and humid. The ambient temperature does make a big difference, and while I have a better handle on what the smoker or pizza oven needs in different conditions, I'm still figuring the wok setup out...

Hot Pepper Beef.


Good as always.  And the Tops beat the Wildcats again.  Woot!

Go Tops!

Vegetarian Five Spice Tofu (8/28/13) 

Coming soon...

Chicken w/ Pineapple & Peppers (9/11/13) 

Coming soon...

Spicy Long Beans w/ Sausage & Mushrooms (9/25/13) 

Coming soon...

 Stir-Fried Cumin-Scented Beef w/ Vegetables (10/9/13) 

Coming soon...

Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans (10/23/13) 

Coming soon...

Stir-Fried Lotus Root w/ Bacon & Vegetables (11/6/13) 

Coming soon...

Choose Your Own Wok Adventure (11/20/13) 

Coming soon...

Chinese American Shrimp w/ Lobster Sauce (12/4/13) 

Well, I've fallen way behind in the Wok Wednesdays recipes again. Partly because I've had very little free time over the last few months, and partly because the CSA project has taken more time than I expected. I'm not complaining, though, because it's been a great experience so far. I now have a much better idea of what stuff grows when, and what to look for at the market throughout the year (at least around here -- it's been interesting to note the difference of a few weeks between what I see here and what I see in Grace's pictures from the NYC markets, for example).

I didn't have time to take the normal pictures, but I didn't want to miss this one. I also didn't have any of the fermented (or salted) black beans. We now have four Asian grocery stores in town and I visited all four over two days without any luck. I already had the shrimp and my wok was really wanting to do a proper stir-fry that wasn't just kale or chard, so...

My favorite part of this dish was making the base for the lobster sauce. Turns out there's no lobster in it! Who knew? The shrimp shells are quite fragrant while simmering in clam juice, so if your spouse has an aversion to shrimp you might want to peel the creatures and do this step while she's not home. Just sayin'. Other than that, this was a fast-paced stir-fry. I was glad to have our 13-year-old helping me out, and he ended up eating more than I did. 

Chinese American Shrimp with Lobster Sauce.


I like these recipe selections that aren't pictured in the book. Don't get me wrong -- I love the pictures in the book. But it's fun to do a stir-fry with no idea what it's supposed to look like at the end, and then see how it stacks up to every else's attempts. Sometimes I do better than others. This one looked like most the others in the WW community. My Stir-Fried Chicken w/ Carrots & Mushrooms did not.

Chinese American Shrimp with Lobster Sauce on White Rice.

It's hard to see in the first picture, but this recipe does make a good amount of sauce, so rice is a good way to soak it up. When we try it again soon, I'll try to make even more sauce. We both thought our second plate was better than the first as the flavors had really come together after sitting for a few minutes, and that's a rare sentiment for these stir-fries that are usually best eaten right away.

Grace says it's a totally different dish with the beans. We look forward to confirming that in a couple weeks... and taking the normal pictures.


Chinese American Shrimp w/ Lobster Sauce II (12/18/13) 

I reckon this is the first time we've done the same recipe twice in a row. But it wasn't really the same recipe because this time we had the beans. And the beans are the bee's knees. That might not be the perfect use of the phrase, but the beans do make a difference. When they showed up in the mail, I could smell them in the mailbox. Grace said they would make the dish right, and indeed they did.


My wife happened to be home today. She happens to dislike shrimp and she happened to remember the last time I made the lobster sauce, so I happened to find myself preparing it outside this time.

There's been a lot of talk on the WW Facebook page about natural light and food photography lately, so of course I was consulting the weather forecast to find the best food day of the week. I'm not happy about the long shadows, but I also didn't want shrimp for breakfast so this was the best we could do for lunch in mid-December.

Mise en Place.

About five minutes.

Chinese American Shrimp w/ Lobster Sauce.


This was better than the first attempt and that was because of the beans. We like the beans. And we have enough beans to do this one or two more times before I start lobbying one of the local Asian grocery stores to stock these beans!


Rogue Wok Adventure (1/1/14) 

Looks like WW took a week off since today is a holiday of sorts, so this is a rogue mission. Totally off the books. Off the grid. Prank caller, prank caller, hang up!

We've been doing Fondue Night on New Year's Eve for the last few years and this year we finished up with extra chicken and beef on hand (and three rogue shrimp). So we found a couple recipes in Breath of a Wok to take use it up, and we didn't even have to go to the store to grab any extra ingredients.

Chicken w/ Garlic Sauce.

This recipe isn't actually in the book -- we use the recipe for Shrimp w/ Garlic Sauce and adapt the stir-fry for chicken. I wanted to make Sweet & Sour Chicken, but my wife wanted Chicken w/ Garlic Sauce, so we compromised and made Chicken w/ Garlic Sauce. And I got to throw in a pepper!

That recipe is an easy one with a mellow sauce that is friendly for the whole family. This next one is something special...

Martin Yan's Genghis Kahn Beef w/ Stir-Fried Garlic Broccoli (and three rogue shrimp).

Genghis Kahn Beef w/ the Scallion Garnish that I previously forgot.

The Genghis Kahn Beef is 100% awesome, and simple, and quick. We love the quick and easy ones -- the longest step was letting the beef marinate for 20 minutes. I'm very glad I found it, and I highly recommend Breath of a Wok to those who already appreciate Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge.

Chinese Trinidadian Chicken w/ Mango Chutney (1/8/14) 

I was looking forward to this one when I saw that it called for Scotch Bonnet peppers. Unfortunately I didn't find any. Our grocery stores don't carry them and my farmer friends who grow them (along with the legendary Ghost Peppers) have already used them for salsa. So I went with Habanero -- I'm pretty sure it's pretty close.

Ingredients, featuring local onion, garlic, and pastured chicken.

Mise en Place.
At the grill.

About three minutes.

Polar Vertex Stir-Fry.
Cold. Yet Hot.

This one was a ton of fun, mostly because of the weather. Our temperature dropped 50 degrees and the wind chill dropped 67 degrees in a matter of hours. I was hoping for more snow, but we just got got an inch or so. Even still, I set my personal Bad Grilling Weather Record at six degrees with a minus 15 wind chill. Good thing the stir-fry just takes three minutes!

Chinese Trinidadian Chicken w/ Mango Chutney.


This is instantly one of our three favorite stir-fries. I put it up there with Hoisin Explosion Chicken and Hot Pepper Beef, but if you saw my wife's face after the first bite you'd know she ranks it #1 OF ALL TIME. We laughed out loud when she first tried it. We've never seen that face before. For a few minutes, I was a hero!


The weather situation contributed to some funny meal-related moments:
  1. I didn't add the second tablespoon of oil because the oil had already frozen up.
  2. Five minutes after we finished eating it started snowing again. Bummer! Had I known that was coming I would have better pictures! But that's pretty trivial.
  3. The feel-good moment of the day occurred when I went back out to the grill to clean up my mess and retrieve my dishes. Two birds were siting on the table next to the fire, presumably trying to warm up. I felt bad about spooking them when they flew away. Boo. But I left the lid off, so maybe they came back to hang out for awhile?
  4. Of course the grocery store was sold out of bread and milk -- no surprise there. I was surprised, however, to find the Asian food section was devoid of rice and noodles! All I wanted was some decent noodles. Fortunately there was one package of Rice Sticks left. There's a first time for everything, right?

Chinese Trinidadian Chicken w/ Mango Chutney on Fried Rice Sticks.

Rice Sticks again, not fried.

Velvet Orange Scallops (1/22/14) 

Coming soon...

Sichuan Pork w/ Peppers & Peanuts (2/5/14) 

Coming soon...

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice (2/19/14) 

Coming soon...

Stir-Fried Yau Choi w/ Oyster Sauce (3/5/14) 

Coming soon...

Barbecued Pork Lo Mein (3/19/14) 

Coming soon...

Five-Spice Chicken w/ Sugar Snaps (4/2/14) 

Coming soon...

Stir-Fried Mongolian Lamb w/ Scallions (4/16/14) 

Coming soon...

Choose Your Own Wok Adventure (4/30/14) 

Coming soon...



  1. Great idea to serve over noodles! Looks good. This is definitely my new favorite. You're amazing to be wokking outdoors with those temps! Just saw a video where they made ice cream in a stand-mixer on the sidewalk of New York - no ice cream machine needed, it's so cold.

  2. Rob, great shots of " how to" and wonderful photography in general. Thanks for sharing.