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
- 05/16/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach
- 05/30/12 - (Year I) Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken
- 06/13/12 - (Year I) Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Rum Shrimp
- 06/27/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas with Shiitake Mushrooms
- 07/11/12 - (Year I) Yin Yang Beans
- 07/25/12 - (Year I) Kung Pao Chicken
- 08/08/12 - (Year I) Classic Dry-Fried Pepper and Salt Shrimp
- 08/22/12 - (Year I) Chinese Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice
- 09/05/12 - (Year I) Summer Pepper Corn & Stir-Fried Ginger Beef
- 09/19/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Cucumber & Pork with Golden Garlic
- 10/03/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Eggs with Tomatoes
- 10/17/12 - (Year I) Spicy Orange Chicken
- 10/31/12 - (Year I) Tea-Smoked Shrimp Salad w/ Mango and Steamed Mahi Mahi & Veggies
- 11/14/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork
- 11/28/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Mussels with Ginger & Scallions
- 12/12/12 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Ginger Broccoli
- 12/26/12 - (Year I) Wok-Popped Popcorn
- 01/09/13 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Curried Beef
- 01/23/13 - (Year I) Hoisin Explosion Chicken
- 02/06/13 - (Year I) Chicken Lo Mein w/ Ginger Mushrooms
- 02/20/13 - (Year I) Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups
- 03/06/13 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Chili Scallops with Baby Bok Choy
- 03/20/13 - (Year I) Stir-Fried Chicken with Carrots & Mushrooms
- 04/03/13 - (Year I) Hakka-Style Stir-Fried Cabbage & Egg
- 04/17/13 - (Year I) Wok Portraits
- 05/01/13 - (Year I) Velvet Chicken w/ Asparagus
- 05/15/13 - Wok-Seared Vegetables
- 05/29/13 - Hot Pepper Beef
- 06/12/13 - Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken
- 06/26/13 - Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice
- 07/10/13 - Macanese Chicken
- 07/24/13 - Cilantro Chili Noodles
- 07/31/13 - Cajun Shrimp & Pepper Stir-Fry
- 08/14/13 - Hot Pepper Beef
- 08/28/13 - Vegetarian Five Spice Tofu
- 09/11/13 - Chicken w/ Pineapples & Peppers
- 09/25/13 - Spicy Long Beans w/ Sausage & Mushrooms
- 10/09/13 - Stir-Fried Cumin-Scented Beef w/ Vegetables
- 10/23/13 - Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans
- 11/06/13 - Stir-Fried Lotus Root w/ Bacon & Vegetables
- 11/20/13 - Choose Your Own Wok Adventure
- 12/04/13 - Chinese American Shrimp w/ Lobster Sauce
- 12/18/13 - Choose Your Own Wok Adventure
- 01/01/14 - Rogue Wok Adventure
- 01/08/14 - Chinese Trinidadian Chicken w/ Mango Chutney
- 01/22/14 - Velvet Orange Scallops
- 02/05/14 - Sichuan Pork w/ Peppers & Peanuts
- 02/19/14 - Chinese Cuban Fried Rice
- 03/05/14 - Stir-Fried Yau Choi w/ Oyster Sauce
- 03/19/14 - Barbecued Pork Lo Mein
- 04/02/14 - Five-Spice Chicken w/ Sugar Snaps
- 04/16/14 - Stir-Fried Mongolian Lamb w/ Scallions
- 04/30/14 - Choose Your Own Wok Adventure
Wok-Seared Vegetables (5/15/13)
|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.
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)
|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!
|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)
|Hoisin Explosion Chicken & Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken.|
Cilantro Chili Noodles (7/24/13)
|Cilantro Chili Noodles|
Cajun Shrimp & Pepper Stir-Fry (7/31/13)
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.|
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?
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!
Chinese American Shrimp w/ Lobster Sauce (12/4/13)
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)
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)
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:
- I didn't add the second tablespoon of oil because the oil had already frozen up.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.