Chicken or Veal Parmigiana
Chicken Tikka Masala
Calico Bean Hot Pot
Chili con Carne
Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce
Tacos, Guacamole, Salsa Fresca
Chicken Quesadillas with Pumpkin Mole Sauce
Stir-Fries & Cooking with a Wok
CHICKEN OR VEAL PARMIGIANA
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (~1½ lbs). Trim any fat, remove the white tendon running through tenderloin. Flatten or pound to ⅜ to ½ inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides salt and pepper.
Dredge in ½ c all purpose flour, then egg mixture (2 large eggs + 1 tbsp milk), then coat with fresh bread crumbs: crumbs + ½ c parmesan + 1 tbsp parsley or basil or 1 tsp rosemary, thyme or oregano + 1tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper. Press down on crumbs to adhere.
Heat heavy skillet medium heat 1½ tbsp butter + 1½ tbsp. olive oil until fragrant and nut-brown. Saute chicken for 2-3 minutes per side (1½ min for ¼” veal, four minutes for unpounded chicken). Drain on paper towels. Preheat over to 180° and keep warm in oven.
Tomato Sauce (2 ½ c). Heat large skillet medium with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 small onion finely chopped, 1 small carrot finely chopped, 1 celery rib with leaves finely chopped, 2 tbsp parsley f. ch. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 15-20 minutes or till vegys soft. Add 2 small cloves garlic, 1 tbsp chopped basil, rosemary or thyme. Cook for 30 seconds. Stir in 1¾ lbs ripe tomatoes (or 28 oz whole tomatoes broken by hand), 2 tsp tomato paste, ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper. Simmer uncovered 15-20 min. Pass through food mill if desired.
Sun Dried Tomato: substitute ½ c sundried tomato (not in oil, reconstituted with boiling water for 20 minutes). Chop finely. Replaces 8 oz of canned tomato.
Assembly: Preheat oven 350°. Oil 13×19” baking dish. Spoon ½ cup sauce. Overlap chicken, sprinkle 3-4 tbsp parmesan, 1 c sauce. Top 6oz mozzarella cheese thinly sliced + ½ c grated parmesan.
Cover foil, bake 20-30 min. Serve spaghetti. Sprinkle fresh parsley.
CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA 6 SERVINGS
Chicken: 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
Marinade: yogurt helps tenderize the chicken; the garlic, ginger, and spices in the marinade infuse it with lots of flavour.
6 garlic cloves, finely grated, 4 tsps finely grated peeled ginger, 4 tsps ground turmeric, 2 tsps garam masala, 2 tsps ground coriander, 2 tsps ground cumin, 1½ cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek), 1 tbsp kosher salt 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil, 1 small onion, thinly sliced, ¼ cup tomato paste, 6 cardamom pods, crushed, 2 dried chiles de árbol or 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cups heavy cream, ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
Steamed basmati rice (for serving)
Preparation: Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chilis and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs.
Do Ahead: Chicken can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat before serving.
Chicken tikka masala is chicken tikka, chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, that is then baked in a tandoor oven, and served in a masala (spice curry mixture) sauce that is usually creamy and orange-coloured. A tomato and coriander sauce is common, but no recipe for chicken tikka masala is standard; a survey found that of 48 different recipes, the only common ingredient was chicken. The sauce usually includes tomatoes (frequently as purée), cream, coconut cream and spices. The sauce and/or chicken pieces may be coloured orange using foodstuffs such as turmeric, paprika, tomato purée or with food dye. Lamb, fish or paneer can also be used.
There are multiple claims to its place of origin, including the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, the British Bangladeshi community and Glasgow, Scotland. Masala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences. Chicken tikka is an Indian dish. The masala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy. Chicken tikka masala is served in restaurants around the world, including Indian restaurants in Britain and North America. It is among the United Kingdom’s most popular dishes – a 2012 survey of 2,000 people in Britain claimed that it is the country’s second-most popular foreign dish to cook, after Chinese stir fry.
CALICO BEAN HOT POT
Cook 1 lb lean hamburger, drain and add to large casserole dish.
Cook ½ lb bacon cut into 1” pieces. Remove with slotted spoon. Add to casserole.
In bacon fat, sauté 1 onion ch, 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 jalapeno, 1 stalk celery diced. Add to casserole.
Add 1 can each kidney beans, pork and beans, one of lima beans, black-eyed peas, or broad beans. ½ c ketchup, ½ c brown sugar, 1 tbsp mustard, 2 tsp vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. 1 c chicken or vegetable broth.
Bake open @350° for one hour.
Serve with mashed potatoes. This is a long time family favorite. My children love it. It is also my favorite home-cooked meal that I dehydrate and take backpacking. Because of the high fat, store dehydrated Hot Pot in single servings zip-locks, in freezer until use.
Saute in olive oil, 1 red pepper ch, 1 green pepper ch, 1 zuccchini thinly sliced, 3 cloves garlic minced, 1 medium onion ch, red pepper flakes. Reserve.
Add to large bowl: 1½ lb extra lean hamburger, ½c parmesan grated, 1 c Balderson’s old cheddar grated, ½ c bread crumbs or quick cook oats, 2 whisked eggs, ½ c ketchup, 2 tbsp parsley, 2 tbsp fresh thyme, ½ c balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper. Add vegetables and mix well. Place in large loaf pan.
Glaze: ½ c ketchup, ¼ c balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes. Coat top of loaf.
Bake at 350° for 60 minutes.
Serve mashed potatoes.
CABBAGE ROLLS Yield 1 dozen
Sauce. In 2tsp butter, sauté 1 c chopped yellow onions x 3 min. Add 1 tsp garlic minced and cook x 1 min. Add 28oz can diced tomatoes and juices, 2tbsp tomato paste and 1/2 cup cream and simmer till thickens ~5min. Add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp sugar, simmer x 5 min. Adjust seasoning.
Cabbage. Cut out the core of 1 head cabbage. Bring a stockpot of water to a boil on high heat. Drop the cabbage into the boiling water and press it down with a wooden spoon, boiling for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cabbage from the water using 2 forks and strain in a colander for 1 minute, but keep the water boiling. Peel off the softened cabbage leaves, stopping when the leaves get hard and dry. Return the head of cabbage to the water, repeating the process. Shave off the excess spine from the outer side of each leaf. Spread on paper towels and pat dry. Set aside.
Stuffing. In 2 tsp butter, medium, sauté 1 c chopped onions x 5min. Add 2 tsp garlic minced x 1min and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 1 lb beef or ½ lb beef and ½ lb pork, 2 c cooked long grain rice, 2 tsp Essence (or in place of Essence: 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp dried dill, 1 tsp mustard powder. Add 2 carrots shredded cooked briefly with the onions), ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, 1 egg, and cooked onions. Mix well.
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning): 2 1/2 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp black pepper, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp dried leaf oregano, 1 tbsp dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread a thin layer of the sauce over the bottom of a baking dish.
Lay the cabbage leaves, rib side down, on a flat work surface. One at a time, spoon the filling into the center of the cabbage leaves, about 1/4 cup, depending upon the size of the leaves. Roll it together, tucking in the sides as you roll and place in a layer on the sauce in the baking dish. Repeat, stacking the cabbage packages, as necessary. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the meat is cooked through and the rolls are tender, about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and serve the rolls with the sauce spooned over the top.
CHILI CON CARNE
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
½ bunch celery, diced
2 greeen peppers, diced
2½ lb ground beef
2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tsp pepper, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp onion powder
1 – 28 oz can kidney beans
2 – 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 small tin tomato paste
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c apple cider vinegar
Heat oil and brown hamburger, drain and set aside. Add oil, sauté onion for few minutes. Add garlic, celery, and green peppers and sauté 5-8 minutes. Add all spices and stir well. Add beef, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar and vinegar. Boil and then simmer for 1 hour.
Serve with grated cheddar cheese, as chili fries, or in a burrito (flour tortilla, chili, grated cheese, rice, sour cream, black olives, green onions, salsa).
CHICKEN SCHNIZL in MUSHROOM SAUCE
half chicken breast – cover with saran, flatten ⅜” with meat mallet, cut in 3 manageable pieces, pat dry, salt and pepper.
Coat completely in each: flour, egg beaten with 1 tbsp water and then fine bread crumbs with Italian spices, basil, parsley, oregano, finely grated parmesan cheese or cayenne.
1 ½ tbsp. butter + 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
Brown breaded chicken 2-3 minutes per side or till nut brown. Transfer to oven warm 200°.
½ c onion
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
red wine or chicken broth
½ c whipping cream
Heat olive oil. Saute ½ c onion, 2 c mushroom sliced, 2 c garlic minced.
Deglaze pan with red wine or chicken broth. Reduce. Add ½ c whipping cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat till thickened.
Serve with mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables. Salad.
SWEET and SOUR CHICKEN
Combine 3 tbsp flour, 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish.
Roll and coat 1 lb boneless chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes in flour mixture. Cook and stir chicken in 2 tbsp hot oil, medium-high heat, until no longer pink in the center and juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes; remove and set aside.
Cook and stir 3 celery ribs sliced, 2 red peppers diced, and 1 onion chopped in 1 tbsp medium heated oil until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and 1 c pineapple chunks (canned or fresh).
Whisk 1/3 c brown sugar and 1/2 c each ketchup, lemon juice (or rice wine vinegar), pineapple juice in a bowl; pour into the skillet; bring to a boil.
Serve with rice.
1 ½ lbs pork tenderloin or chicken breasts in 1” cubes
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp Tabasco
3 tbsp grated onion
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
½ c Indonesian soy sauce or teriyaki sauce
Place meat in shallow dish
Melt butter in saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Boil and simmer 5 minutes. Pour over meat, cover and refrigerate overnight. Turn meat periodically (butter will congeal but don’t worry).
Put 5-6 pieces on each skewer. Grill on barbeque turning frequently for 15 minutes (don’t overcook)
SPICY PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE 1½ c
Whisk 1/2 c chunky or smooth peanut butter and ¼ c hot water. Stir in 3 tbsp lime juice, 3 tbsp Asian chili sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp dark brown sugar, 2 tbsp cilantro ch, 2 med clove garlic minced, 1-2 serrano peppers +/- seeds minced, 1/8 c finely chopped peanuts, 2 scallions sliced for garnish.
Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions.
Brown 1 lb lean ground beef, 1 onion finely ch, 1 clove garlic minced. Cook covered medium for 5 minutes. Drain fat. Add 10 oz can sliced mushrooms, 14 oz can tomato spaghetti sauce, 1 5.5oz can tomato paste, 1 tsp each salt and oregano. Simmer 5 minutes.
Combine in bowl: 300g pakg frozen chopped spinach thawed, 250 ml cottage cheese, 75 ml grated Parmesan cheese.
Assembly: in 13×9 baking dish, spread ⅓ of meat sauce, ⅓ lasagna (7 overlapping noodles), Alternate another ⅓ of sauce and lasagna. Spread spinach mixture over, cover with remaining noodles and sauce. Arrange 1 200gm pkg sliced mozzarella cheese on top.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA SAUCE
Heat 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil on medium high. Squeeze sausage meat from 3-4 hot Italian sausages uncooked and 3-4 mild Italian sausages uncooked into pan and break up to little pieces with a fork. Add 1/2 c fresh basil chopped and 2 tbsp dried oregano and saute 8-10 minutes. Add 1 bunch green onions chopped, 1 med onion diced, 1 red pepper diced 1/2″, 1 green pepper diced 1/2″, 1 c mushrooms sliced, 3 bay leaves and 2 chicken bouillon cubes and cook for another 10 minutes (don’t overcook the vegetables). Add 1 650 ml good quality tomato sauce and 2 cans (398 ml) diced tomatoes and bring to boil for 30 minutes. Add 1 1/2 c half and half cream and 1/2 c parmesan grated and simmer 20 minutes. Boil one 2 lb package penne rigate in salted water until al dente and drain. Toss penne with 2 cups of sauce to coat and place on serving platter. Top with another 2 c sauce and 1/2 c parmesan grated. Place remaining sauce in serving bowls and 1/2 c grated parmesan for the table.
TACOS – Meat, Vegetarian, Fish
I have visited Mexico on two long trips. The taco stand is ubiquitous. They would serve them on corn tortillas, spicy meat, thin piquante guacamole, salsa fresca and possibly some crema or lettuce.
I make 3 kinds: meat, vegetarian and fish.
Meat: sauté 1 lb hamburger or chicken with refried beans, break up all the chunks, 1 finely chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic minced. Add 1 package Old El Pas Taco Sauce and mix.
Vegetarian: Sauté in olive oil: ½ c onion ch, 2 clove garlic, add 1 can refried beans or 2 cans drained black beans/mashed, 2 tsp cumin, ¼ c diced red pepper, green Tabasco or black pepper. Heat thoroughly.
Fish #1: Fillet of fish of your choice (rinse, pat dry, salt and pepper), cut in thin strips 3-4” long. Beat 1 egg and mix with ¾ cup buttermilk. Soak fish in buttermilk for 30 minutes. Bread in: ¾ c white cornmeal seasoned with 1tsp salt, 1tsp pepper, 1tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Saute crispy on all sides. Serve with cucumber, guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream.
Fish #2: Prepare fish as above. Chipotle Crema: whisk together 1 c sour cream, 4 tsp half and half cream and 1 tsp adobo sauce (the sauce from canned chipotle peppers). Orange Avocado Salsa: Combine 3 oranges peeled diced and drained, 2 tbsp cilantro chopped, 2 tbsp jalapeno peppers seeded and finely diced, 2 tbsp red onion finely diced, 2 medium avocados diced into 1/2″ cubes and 3/4 tsp salt and mix gently and set aside. Assembly with flour tortillas fish, crema, salsa and red cabbage very thinly shaved.
Assembly: Flour tortilla, protein source, thinly sliced English cucumber, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream or crema, lettuce.
Use ripe avocados that have a naturally smoky flavor. Peel and mash 3 ripe avocados, mix in 3tbsp lime juice, I garlic clove minced, ½ small onion finely ch. May also add cilantro, tomato ch, or chipotle pepper for more of a smoky taste and some heat.
SALSA FRESCA (PICO DE GALLO)
Mix 1½ c tomato chopped small, ½ c white onion ch fine, jalopeno minced fine, cilantro, garlic minced, juice 1 lime, small amount olive oil, salt to taste.
4 poblano peppers: char, cool, remove char, remove seeds. Fill from top.
Saute 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 c onions, 2 cloves garlic till soft, 5 minutes. Add 2 c corn kernels cooked, ½ tsp oregano, salt and pepper or taco sauce. Heat stirring for 2 minutes. Remove and cool.
Add ¼ c sour cream, 2 c Monterey Jack cheese grated. Stuff chilis with cheese mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
In bowl, beat 3 egg yolks with 2 tbsp flour, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp baking powder. In large bowl, whip the 3 egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold whites into yolks and whisk together.
In heavy skillet, heat oil depth of 1” to 375° (cube bread browns in 60 seconds). Dip chilis in batter. Fry till golden on one side. Turn over and do other side. Drain and serve with green chili or ranchero sauce.
1. white Chihuahua cheese and onions
2. picadillo: ground meat cooked in tomatoes, onions, garlic, sour cream and jack cheese.
3. shredded chicken with tomato sauce, dried chilis, cilantro, parsley, sour cream, jack cheese?
4. hamburger, onion, cheddar, garlic, green chilis, green chile sauce, taco sauce mix, jack cheese?
Pumpkin Mole Sauce
Bake 1/2 c unsalted pumpkin seeds and 1/2 c unsalted peanuts at 350 until toasted and golden about 10 minutes, cool slightly. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil saute until softened 1 medium onion diced and 2 cloves garlic minced. Food process with seeds and pulse till combined. Add one 127ml can green chilis drained and seeded, 1 tbsp canned chipotle in adobo sauce, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp chile powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar, 1 tsp cocoa powder and 1/2 c low sodium chicken or vegetable stock. Process till smooth, scrapping down bowl once. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, cool and refrigerate. 1/2 c cream optional.
ten – 7 inch flour tortillas
3 cups mozzarella
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (about 3 breasts)
1 cup cooked corn
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
juice of 1/2 lime
1 limes halved
Assemble quesadilla by putting some cheese, chicken, corn, cilantro and about 2 tbsp of mole sauce on half of a tortilla. Fold over and press firmly on seam. Assemble all of the tortillas, stack, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Heat grill to medium and brush with oil. Grill till cheese melted and you have golden grill marks.
Mix the sour cream and lime juice. Grill the lime halves and squeeze them on top of the quesadillas as you serve. Garnish cilantro and lime/sour cream.
GINGER FRIED BEEF (double recipe? 3 times the sauce)
1 lb flank or sirloin steak
2 eggs beaten
¼ c cornstarch
½ c water
⅔ c shredded carrots
2 tbsp chopped green onions
¼ c finely chopped fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp wine, red or white
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ c sugar (decrease)
dash crushed chili flakes
Slice partially frozen steak across the grain into narrow strips. Mix beef and eggs. Dissolve cornstarch in water and mix with beef-egg mixture.
Pour 1” of oil into wok, heat to boiling hot, but not smoking. Add beef to oil, ¼ at a time. Separate with a fork or chopsticks and cook, stirring frequently until crispy. Remove, drain and set aside.
Put 1 tbsp oil into wok. Add carrots, onion, ginger, and garlic and stir briefly over high heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add beef, mix well. Serve with fried rice. Serves 4.
Take steak out of fridge at least 20 minutes before so at room temperature. Need good thick bottomed frying pan on medium high as searing the meat. Season both sides with large grain pepper and coarse salt mopping up all the seasonings. Use olive oil. Crush garlic and add rubbing on top of steak. Turn every minute. Add whole thyme to pan. Tilt pan and baste with oil. Cook sides and end by tilting pan with steak on edge. Done when rare (fleshy base of thumb, medium rare (center of base of palm), or medium (wrist). Let rest for 5 minutes before eating.
How to Master Cooking With a Wok
For something truly remarkable and balanced, you need a wok. High heat, loud sizzles, and a fast-paced, constant rocking motion is necessary when cooking in a wok: vegetables, meat, and aromatics go from raw to crisp in seconds. You need prepped, dry ingredients that go along with each other. A real stir-fry first sets the texture of the vegetables, then you get the flavours. Bok choy shouldn’t be floppy, the snap peas snap. The only way to have this kind of absolute control over the texture is with a wok. When a stir-fry has been cooked in a Cantonese wok, it has wok hei, or energy – it’s the taste of a wok. Some people describe it as that seared, concentrated aroma with a smoky flavour.
Wok or Skillet? It depends on the recipe. Some do best in a skillet, but done properly, a wok can cook almost anything: pan-fry, stir-fry, deep-fat fry, braise, steam, boil, poach, smoke, and roast. Even with the same recipe and ingredients, depending on what it is cooked in, the food will look and taste radically different from each other – a wok produces a thin, brothy sauce and seared crisp vegetables, the skillet produces thick sauces as thick as caramel with deep flavours.
To ensure a good sear, a wok needs to be very hot and the ingredients need to be dry, portioned, and room temperature. Use a pyramid-shaped spatula in a wok to toss the vegetables in a smooth, fluid motion. The wok’s shape allows for easy flipping, and the stir-fry is ready to eat quickly.
Which wok to use? For an American stove, a 14-inch, flat-bottomed, carbon steel wok is the only kind to use. A round bottomed wok will be completely unstable and with a wok ring [a metal adapter developed to use round bottom woks on American stovetops], it’s too far from the heat.
Chinese cooking in America has always been complicated because our tastes are hereditary. Exclusionary immigration laws kept a lot of Chinese cooks out of the country until the 1950s and ‘60s; by then, most American palates were set on what Chinese flavours should taste like. Half a century later, they haven’t budged much. Americans love their sauces. For Americanized Chinese food – more sauce, less texture — a skillet works fine. A skillet-cooked stir-fry is denser, darker, caramelized and bursting with the umami of soy sauce, but the oil coats the food, making it greasy.
Season Your Wok. Just like a cast-iron pan, the more you use a wok, the more flavor it’ll take on, and the better your food will taste. As you cook with the wok, the metal pores open, and the fat you’re cooking with seeps in. The discoloration a seasoned wok sports is fine—don’t scrub it off. You haven’t ruined the new pan.
Pre-Heat a Wok. Part of the reason food cooks so quickly in a restaurant kitchen wok is because of the constant high heat. To recreate stir-fry at home, where the heat is tamer, set the wok on medium-high, with nothing in it. This’ll preheat the wok and bring the surface up to temperature for quick sears. How long should the empty wok sit over the flame? Use the water test: lick a little water at the wok—if it evaporates the second it makes contact, it’s ready to go.
Hot Wok, Cold Oil. When your wok is pre-heated, add cold oil. What kind of oil? You need an oil with a high smoke point. So high that you shouldn’t see your oil smoke at all. Peanut oil, which smokes at 410°F, is an excellent choice; olive oil (325°F) and butter (350°F), both of which can’t withstand the high heat required for a wok, should be avoided. Once you add your oil, work quickly—stir-frying isn’t about taking it slow and low.
Tumbling. Rocking the wok and turning your ingredients is key to getting your stir-fry cooked evenly. In a skillet, you just chase the food, pushing it around. but in a wok, I can actually lift all of the food and tumble it.
Always Use Dry IngredientsEven slightly damp ingredients will alter the wok’ temperature, turn down the volume on the sizzling sound that ingredients make in oil, and cause your food to steam instead of sear.
Unless You’re Marinating. It is recommended to marinate any meat that you’re cooking. Usually, marinades work overnight or over the course of hours, but for a stir-fry marinade, five minutes is all it takes to coat and flavor the bite-sized pieces.
Don’t Overcrowd. Keep ingredients cooking in batches for even browning. Meats (brought to room temperature for even cooking) should never exceed a pound at a time. If your wok is 12 inches, you shouldn’t be cooking more than 12 ounces of beef, 1 pound of pork, 12 ounces of lamb, or 1 pound of chicken. If a wok is overcrowded, the temperature drops and ingredients begin to braise rather than stir-fry.
For example this eggplant and beef stir-fry does better in a skillet.
EGGPLANT & BEEF STIRFRY 4 servings
4 tbsp chopped fresh mint, divided
3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 fresh red or green Thai chiles, thinly sliced crosswise, divided
1 1″ piece ginger, peeled, cut into matchstick-size pieces
1 tbsp fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp minced garlic, divided
1/4 tsp sugar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound baby or Asian eggplant, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1/2 pound beef eye round, cut into thin strips (top sirloin, flank steak, or skirt steak work just as well as eye round)
Softened rice vermicelli noodles or steamed brown rice
Whisk 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, 3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce, 1 chile, half of ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl. Set dressing aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches and adding 2 tablespoons oil between batches, cook eggplant until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer eggplant slices to a medium bowl. Pour half of dressing over eggplant and toss to coat evenly. Set remaining dressing aside.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining chile, ginger, 1 tsp garlic, and beef and cook, turning beef once, until nicely seared and medium-rare, about 3 minutes total. Add eggplant mixture (with liquid) to skillet and toss to mix well.
Divide noodles or rice among bowls. Spoon stir-fry over. Drizzle reserved dressing over stir-fry and garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons chopped mint.
Eggplant if cooked in a wok not hot enough or round bottomed requires 4 instead of 2 batches to cook. Both main ingredients need plenty of room to brown correctly.
These last two stir-fries are meant to be made in a wok.
CHICKEN LO MEIN with GINGER MUSHROOMS Serves 3 as a main dish or 4 as part of a multicourse meal.
Simple to make with a nice peppery flavour from the red pepper flakes, white pepper, and ginger. Use fresh noodles in the refrigerator section of most Chinese food markets: lo mein noodles are about 1/4 inch thick and are sold in 1-pound packages. If fresh shiitake mushrooms are not available, use button mushrooms. You can substitute bean sprouts for the Napa cabbage. This recipe that specifically calls for a wok
12 ounces fresh Chinese thick, round egg noodles
2 tsp sesame oil
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thigh, cut into 1/4-inch-thick bite-sized slices
1 tbsp finely shredded ginger
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tsp plus 1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (about 5 ounces)
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup finely shredded scallions
In a 3-quart saucepan bring 2 quarts water to a boil over high heat. At a rolling boil, add the noodles. Return to a rolling boil and boil according to package directions until al dente. Carefully pour the noodles into a colander and rinse several times with cold water. Drain the noodles, shaking well to remove excess water. Return the noodles to the unwashed pot, add the sesame oil, and toss until well combined. Set aside.
Put the chicken in a shallow bowl and add the ginger, 1 teaspoon of the rice wine, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
In a small bowl combine the remaining 1 tbsp rice wine and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tbsp of the peanut oil, add the red pepper flakes, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 10 seconds or until the pepper flakes are fragrant. Push the pepper flakes to the sides of the wok, carefully add the chicken mixture and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to sear. Stir-fry 30 seconds or until the chicken begins to brown. Add the cabbage and mushrooms and stir-fry 1 minute or until the cabbage is just wilted but the chicken is not cooked through. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a plate.
Swirl the remaining 1 tbsp peanut oil into the wok. Add the noodles and stir-fry 15 seconds. Restir the soy sauce mixture, swirl it into the wok, add the scallions and chicken mixture, and sprinkle on the remaining 3/4 tsp salt. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and noodles are heated through.
With 12 ounces of chicken, a half head of napa cabbage, 4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, and a couple of bundles of noodles, there is no chance of flipping – the best one can do is push food bits around.
The wok version, on the other hand, was full of nuances—the egg noodles were wispier, the cabbage actually had crunch. Every individual component felt distinct, more like a forkful of salad than the skillet’s goopy mess.
BEEF AND BROCCOLI STIR-FRY Serves 4
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil (toasted?)
1 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp water
1 pound boneless sirloin, tri tip, flank or skirt steak – sliced into 2 x 1/2 inch strips
1 package (14 ounces) frozen or fresh broccoli florets
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic and ginger. Place the beef in a Ziploc bag (or glass bowl), pouring in half of the sauce mixture to coat the beef. Marinate for either 20 minutes on the counter or covered overnight in the fridge.
Whisk the cornstarch and water together and add to the remaining sauce mixture.
Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat, add 2 teaspoons oil and add the beef. Cook for 4 minutes and remove beef to a clean bowl.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan and cook the broccoli for 2 minutes.
Add the beef back into the pan. Make a well in the center and pour in the sauce. Cook until the sauce is thick and everything is heated through, about 2 minutes.
Serve over brown rice.
1. GRILLED COCONUT LIME SHRIMP and VEGGIES
1 small yellow onion ch, 2 c garlic, 1 c sh. sweetened coconut, zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 c cilantro or parsley ch, 1/4 c olive oil, 1/4 c soy sauce, 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, 8 to 10 aluminum foil sheets large enough to wrap around the food, 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds, 1 to 2 c corn kernels, ch cilantro or parsley, for garnish
In a blender, combine onions, garlic, coconut, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil and soy sauce; blend until smooth. Place marinade and shrimp in a resealable bag and toss to coat. Place in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
For each foil pack, prepare two sheets of aluminum foil; place the sheets one on top of the other for durability and lightly spray with cooking spray. Divide up the veggies and shrimp evenly and place into the center of each foil packet. Fold the sides of the foil over the shrimp, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Transfer the foil packets to the grill, cover grill and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque. Carefully open the foil packets and stir the contents.
Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley and serve.
2. SWEET POTATO TACOS Makes 6-8
2 lbs ground turkey or beef, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 c finely ch onion, 1/2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp gr cumin, 2 tsp gr coriander, 16 ounces tomato sauce, 1 jalapeño ch, 1/3 cup water, 2 cups chopped fresh spinach, 2 – 15oz cans beans (black, pinto, white), rinsed and drained, 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped small (1/2-inch pieces)
Garnishes: shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados or guacamole, salsa, olives, cilantro
Preheat oven 425. Saute medium ground meat, salt, pepper, and onion. Cook, breaking the meat into small pieces. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, tomato sauce and jalapeño. Cook medium 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add water, spinach and beans and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Lightly grease center 6-8 foil pieces, each about 12-inches long. Place about 1 cup of sweet potato chunks in the center of each piece of foil arranging them into somewhat of a single layer; sprinkle with salt and pepper (don’t skip this step!). Add a heaping 1/2 cup or so of the meat mixture on top. Bring the long sides of foil together over the filling and fold tightly down. Fold and crimp each edge until tightly sealed and a little packet is formed. Repeat. Place on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Carefully open the foil packets and serve with taco toppings and garnishes of your choice.
3. INDIAN SPICED BAKED POTATO AND EGG Yields 4
4 c sliced yellow potatoes, 1/4 c olive oil, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp m garlic, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp sea salt and black pepper, foil, 4 eggs, optional topping – red pepper/sriracha, etc.
Preheat oven 400F. Toss potatoes with olive oil and seasonings. Place 1 cup in a 8×8 or 9×9 piece of foil (packet or cupped). Repeat and place packets on baking tray 25 -30 minutes until potatoes are tender but not fully cooked.
Remove tray and place and crack an egg on top of each foil pack. Place back in oven for about 10 minutes or until yolks look firm but not overcooked. Remove and garnish with any extra spices. Great with avocado or ranch added.
4. PESTOCAPRESE CHICKEN 4 servings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, salt and pepper, 1 cup pesto, 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced, 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 slices, 1/4 c basil leaves chiffonade
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut four sheets of foil, about 12-inches long. Add chicken to the center of each foil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Fold up all 4 sides of each foil packet. Top chicken with pesto, tomatoes and mozzarella. Fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely and sealing the packets closed.
Place foil packets in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake about 25-30 minutes (Cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken).
5. GRILLED MEDITERRANEAN SHRIMP AND ZUCCHINI NOODLES Serves: 4
2 zucchini spiralized or thinly sliced, 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, 4 tbsp olive oil, 4 c garlic m, 1 tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, salt and pepper, 4 tbsp white wine or chicken broth. 1 red bell pepper strips, 12 cherry tomatoes, 2 scallions ch, 12 kalamata olives, pitted, 4 tbsp crumbled feta cheese, optional
Tear off 4 – 20″pieces of aluminum foil. Mix shrimp, olive oil, garlic, oregano, paprika, wine, salt and pepper. Spiralize zucchini.
Divide zucchini, red bell pepper strips, tomatoes, scallions, kalamata olives, feta cheese and shrimp on 4 pieces of foil. Spoon sauce from marinated shrimp on top. Fold long end of foil over food. Fold up narrow ends. Fold last end over to seal packet. Grill on high for 10 minutes. Serve.