Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry–in a Real Wok!


I once posted about my pretty new non-stick wok.

Turns out, it didn’t last all that long. Non-stick surfaces don’t hold up well with high heat, and before long, I was finding black Teflon flakes in my food. Yuck. I tossed the pan.

Not long after, I had a birthday. My parents gave me a new wok, a much nicer steel one. As we were preparing to pack up everything and move across two states, I reluctantly put it away without ever using it.

When we unpacked in our new place, I found that my new kitchen has about half the storage space as our old place. I have a lot of kitchen gadgets and pots and appliances and tools, so I found myself cramming everything into nooks and crannies, stacking boxes on top of boxes and using all of my spatial reasoning abilities. Long story short, the box with my new wok ended up bricked in a closet with my turkey roasting pan and my entertaining trays. In other words, it got put away and forgotten about.

I remembered it recently, and eagerly dug it out of the furnace room that doubles as a storage closet. But as it needed to be seasoned before putting it to use, I set it aside and made my shrimp stir fry in another pan.

In my defense, I’ve been really busy over the past few months.

But now, I’m done with my coursework for the degree I’m working on, and since I haven’t been able to do my field work yet, I’ve on a temporary leave of absence from school and have found extra time to do things that I enjoy now. So I seasoned my wok!

But first I took a selfie, just because I felt like it.

Don’t mind my crazy after-work hair.


Anyway, here’s the wok. First step was to fill it with water and boil it.



Then scrub it hard with hot, soapy water to remove the initial protective coating. I didn’t take pictures, use your imagination. After I dried it, it looked like this:


Then dribble in a bunch of vegetable oil and coat the pan, using a paper towel to help do this evenly.


Then turn on the heat and let it cook!




But only do this for 10 minutes at a time, letting it cool down in between rounds. I may have gotten impatient and put it in the fridge to speed things up.


Then add more oil and repeat. I tried to tilt the pan so the sides could get cooked too, not just the bottom, but wasn’t as successful.

But the sides did get some color in the end.


So now I’ll tell you about the first meal I made in this!

I looked up a bunch of recipes before deciding that I didn’t feel like following any of them and would just wing it, instead.

I started with a pound of skirt steak.



I tossed the cut up steak in a healthy amount of corn starch, based on what I’d seen in a few recipes.



I heated some oil in my wok, and when it was hot, tossed in my steak.


When it was cooked, I removed the beef from the pan.


In its place, I put a bunch of broccoli.


Which I coated with the remnants of a bottle of stir fry sauce that I had in the fridge.



Since that wasn’t going to be enough, I decided to improvise my own sauce with soy sauce (reduced sodium), minced garlic, sherry cooking wine, rice vinegar, and dried ginger.


I just poured various amounts in the broccoli and let it cook down, adding more of whatever as I went. Very precise.


When it was mainly cooked, I added the beef back in to let it heat up and get coated in the sauce. I didn’t bother thickening with corn starch since there was already a bunch in the beef. It thickened on its own at this point.


Finally, I served over rice. Yum!



My parents own a wok that used to belong to my grandmother. They’ve taken care of it so it’s held up well. I sure hope this one shows the same longevity. With this kind of cookware, washing in soap will ruin the seasoning, so it just needs hot water and scrubbing, meaning that I won’t be able to put off dishes and let food dry onto it. Sure hope I can manage that. Doing dishes really sucks.

No comments:

Post a Comment