i don’t know why it has taken me so long to actually use the carbon-steel wok bought over a month ago. ok, backing up the story, there was a HUGE carbon-steel wok bought as a gift from my brother-in-law in chinatown – he who could stir-fry your recycled computer paper and make it taste like a gift from the asian gods – but it became quickly apparent that this behemoth of a wok was not appropriately sized for our stove. gas stove tho it may be. and, heaven help us, no exhaust hood. (our stove is from the 1940’s – in many ways a killer cooktop because it has 4 burners with a big open area in between the 2 sides but a pretty small oven..i’ve had thanksgiving turkeys skim the top.) so it took about 4 months to come to terms with the giving away of the mega wok and then we found ourselves in manhattan chinatown about a month ago and we went to the same housewares store and the extremely nice owner (happy to sell us our 2nd wok) helped us pick a suitably-sized wok and suitably-sized scraper.
i did what i always do with new cooking equipment in our house – i circled it for a while. i guess most people rip the appliance or pot or skillet out of the packaging and plunk it down on the stove for immediate use but i have never been that person. i like to live with it for a minute. i look at it. theoretically, it looks at me. not to sound too new-agey – which i am not – but i get it’s vibe. then, for some unknown reason, it’s time. i just know.
i took great care seasoning it. i’m afraid our house walls paid the price…some pork fat methodically slicked across every bit of extremely heated surface – 4 passes over 4 days and i had a seasoned wok.
then i circled it for a while.
tonite there was lift-off. i bought a passel of green beans – and, sans a recipe, did a little mise en place…made sure verything was at my fingertips. heated the wok and when i saw the smoke rise, put in some sesame/canola oil. in they went…and the scraper was the perfect size – flip flip flip flip; a few cloves of finely minced garlic; flip flip flip flip – letting them settle a lot to get lots of good black wok-roasted goodness on them; a little soy sauce; a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic chili paste (i cannot remember the name of the company but it’s that magnificent company that has a rooster on the bottle and makes the chili sauce found at all really good vietnamese restaurants) and a small amount of water because the green beans needed a little moisture – just a little – wooosh…and then a 1/2 tsp. of sugar at the end. soooooooo crunchy and spicey and good. it may take some work for me to get used to this style of cooking. i’m a braiser. all things slow and adjusted. this is all things fast and adjust right then and there on the fly. and i’m trying to be careful and aware of too much extra oily stuff in my food as i work on keeping my daily diet healthy and lowfat. oh, and my house is smokey!