Excerpt for The Wok Cookbook: Delicious And Filling Chinese Recipes To Enjoy by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Wok Cookbook

Delicious And Filling Chinese Recipes To Enjoy

Ronnie Israel

Copyright © 2015 Ronnie Israel

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Published by Winsome X Publishing at Smashwords 2015

Table Of Content









The wok has been used for centuries in Asia and has become a vital kitchen utensil in the West, having been exported by Chinese immigrants for over a hundred years. The wok is a large thin metal pan with a bowl-like shape with one or two wooden handles. It has a diameter of about 14 inches and a slightly flat bottom.

Woks are indispensable for cooking authentic great- tasting oriental dishes. It has been said that if you are not coking in a wok, you aren’t doing Asian cooking. It is the traditional kitchen utensil for stir-frying. Besides its original purpose of stir-frying however, the wok can also be used for steaming, braising, deep-frying, searing, sautéing, stewing and poaching. Its versatility is simply mind- blowing. Just one wok and you can make thousands of recipes.

The best woks are made of carbon steel and can be used on a stove or an electric gas. Woks transfer all the heat directly from the flame to the food. The average temperature of a wok is usually very hot− from 320°F to more than 446°F. As a result, meats get cooks as soon as it is placed in the pan, retaining the good juices and absorbing the fat, however little.

New woks always have a layer (you may or may not see it) which must be rubbed off. Use a hard scourer, liquid detergent and hot water to do this. Dry the wok with a paper towel. The next process is to season your wok. Seasoning involves burning a natural non-stick layer into the pan to prevent food from sticking to its bottom and to avoid rust.

Here are 5 basic steps to seasoning a new wok:

1. Keep your kitchen well ventilated and then place the wok over high heat. It will start to smoke within 5 seconds. Tilt the wok over the flame for about a minute so it can be well heated. A yellow or blue ring will now form. Remove wok from flame and leave to cool for 30 seconds.

2. Grease the inside of the wok with a piece of kitchen towel that has been soaked with oil. Heat the wok over low heat and tilt around for 30 seconds. Remove from flame.

3. Wipe the wok clean and dry with a kitchen towel. Now repeat step 2.

4. Let the wok cool down for a while and then wash it a soft sponge and hot water. Do not use washing-up liquid. Heat it under a low flame again for 1-2 minutes. When it cools down, grease it again slightly with oil and a paper towel.

5. Your wok is seasoned and now ready for use.


Stir-frying is the most popular of all Asian cooking methods. It is simply the rapid frying of small cuts of ingredients in a little bit of oil over intense heat. The process involves tossing, stirring and/or mixing the ingredients which often comprise of meat, fish and/or vegetables. The high temperature and short cooking time ensure that the nutrient and taste of each food ingredient are retained.

A wok’s round shape makes it easy to stir-fry. Pushing the ingredients up against the sides ensures that they keep falling back to the middle of the pan where the heat is. Stir-fried meals are well seasoned; they cook evenly and quickly and are also delicious and healthy. Electric woks do not retain heat well so they aren’t suitable for stir-frying. However, they are perfect for braising, poaching, stewing and steaming.

It is also important to stir-fry ingredients in their appropriate order. Vegetables that are slow-cooking should be added first, e.g. celery or carrots before quick- cooking veggies like tomatoes or bean sprouts. Preparation is essential. Stir-frying is quick cooking; there is no time to start chopping and cutting once you start cooking. Ingredients must be chopped, sliced and/or grated before you start to cook. These ingredients must also be within reach. Ensure that the cut vegetables and other ingredients are even in size and shape.

Most recipes require peanut or sesame oil but less saturated oil such as corn oil or canola can be used. Do not use butter or margarine for stir-frying because they have a low smoke point. Oil’s smoke point is the temperature when a fat dissolves, gives off smoke and produces a greasy taste and pleasant smell. Heat the oil to a high temperature before you add the food ingredients. However, ensure it is not smoking. Vegetables stir- fried this way remain crisp and tender and still retain their color.

A little oil is required for fish and vegetables as long as the wok has been well seasoned. Pour the oil in a swirling motion along the wok’s edge and as the oil slides down along the edges, other pre-cut ingredients should be added quickly.

Stir- frying has lots of advantages over other types of cooking methods. Some of them include:

  • Stir frying requires small amounts of oil, especially when compared to deep-fat frying. This leads to less fat and fewer calories added.

  • Vegetables retain more vitamins and minerals when stir-fried than when boiled. Boiling causes the loss of water-soluble vitamins.

  • Stir frying reduces waste by using small amounts of fresh vegetables from the refrigerator.

  • Stir-frying saves time since meals are prepared quickly. Less time is also used for clean-up since the meals are made in one pan.

  • The use of different kinds of vegetables makes it easier to use smaller amounts of poultry, meats or seafood which helps to save up on grocery.

Wok Cooking Tips To Remember

Have your ingredients at hand so you can work fast when ready to cook. Marinate your meat, finely cut vegetables and have the spices within reach. Use peanut oil if available as it can tolerate strong heat. Other oils that can also be used include maize oil, rice oil, soybeans oil and sunflower oil. Olive oil is less suitable.

Ensure that the pan is the right temperature by pouring a few drops of water in it. If it gives off small sizzling bubbles, this shows that the wok is at the right temperature. The next step is to add a little oil. Once it begins to smell slightly, this shows it is hot enough for use. The oil must also cover all the sides of the wok.

Do not put too much in the pan all at once. This action lowers the temperature of the wok and leaves you stewing the ingredients instead of stir-frying them. If possible, remove the meat and the fish from the pan for a little while and add it again towards the end. This way, it will not be overdone.

The Chinese Kitchen

Using fresh ingredients is the starting point of oriental cooking. Fresh ingredients retain more nutrients and juices when it comes under high cooking temperature. Here are a few sauces and vegetables that commonly occur in many Asian recipes.

Peanut oil

Peanut oil contains significantly less fat compared to sunflower oil. While it doesn’t have a strong aroma, it is slightly more refined in taste. This means, it is great for preparing mild dressings and mayonnaise. However, peanut oil is the best for stir-frying and deep-frying.


Also known as bean curd, Tofu is a popular Chinese staple. Tofu is made from pureed soybean milk and is high in protein, and low in calories. It has a smooth texture but a bland flavor which enables it go well with other foods.


Ginger root adds a distinctive sharp flavor to Chinese dishes. Besides being used in cooking, fresh ginger can also be used for making tea. It has a medicinal effect and can provide remedies for nausea, stomach ache and nausea. Powdered ginger is not as flavorful as the fresh ones but ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger can be substituted for 1 teaspoon of minced fresh ginger or for 2 slices of fresh ginger.

Spring Onion

Spring onions add a subtle, fresh flavor to dishes. Spring onions taste well in salads, meat, fish and egg dishes as well. Steam the rings quickly, if you intend to do so as they lose their flavor quickly.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is rich in flavor. It is pressed from sesame seeds that has been peeled and roasted. The cold-pressed, western sesame oil is ideal for frying with.

Thai Basil

Thai basil are cut into strips and added to wok dishes, soups and curries at the last moment. There are three main types:

Lemon basil– is often added to salad and fish dishes.

Thai “holy” basil – it has slightly hairy leaves and taste really light.

Thai “sweet” basil – it has a strong taste similar to aniseed and a little like mint

Bok Choy

Bok Choy is the most widely consumed vegetable in China. It has dark-green leaves, flexible crunchy white stems and a slight mustard taste. The large bok choy is usually stir-fried, boiled or steamed for a few minutes. The stems are added first and the leaves at the last minute. The small type, baby bok choy, can be cooked whole in the wok by steaming or boiling. It tastes great in soups and salads.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce, a combination of flour, soybeans, salt and water is a common seasoning in many recipes. It is salty so there is no need to ask more salt to the recipes. It is usually added for flavor at the last minute of cooking. There is the dark soy sauce, which has a more syrupy texture and is less salty than the regular soy sauce. It even tastes a little sweet. Darker soy sauces are usually used to add color to hot meals such as stews and braised beef. Keep soy sauce bottles tightly closed when not in use and stored in the refrigerator to help retain flavor

Five-Spice Powder

This Chinese spice is a mixture of five basic flavors (sharp, salty, sweet, bitter and sour). These flavors are usually found in cloves, fennel seeds, Szechuan pepper, Chinese cinnamon, cloves and star anise. Five-spice powder is often rubbed into pork and duck before the meats are toasted or fried. However, it should be used in small quantity because of its intense taste.

Szechuan Pepper

Named after the Chinese region of Szechuan, Szechuan pepper has slight lemon flavor. This spice, though not a real pepper, has a small numbing effect on the tongue. It is often used in fish dishes, and sometimes in chicken, rabbit and veal dishes as well.


Chicken-Almond Delight

Serves: 3

Enjoy this tasty meal over brown rice.

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