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Old 12-27-2007, 06:22 PM   #1
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Stir Fry Crash Course (ingredients)

I moved a few months back into an apt with a gas grill and finally got something I've always wanted... a wok.

I'm pretty much asking for a list of ingredients I need to purchase tomorrow to have around so I can start playing it... I don't want to miss anything.

Obviously meat and veg, soy sauce, oyster sauce, nam pla...

Anyway, any input would be appreciated. Would be glad to see some recipes as well, but am more concerned about my shopping trip tomorrow.

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Old 12-27-2007, 06:38 PM   #2
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...Asian peanut oil, ginger, garlic, corn starch, rice wine or dry sherry, chili oil, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, chinese cabbage, five spice powder, dark soy, hoisin sauce...

You don't need all of these to do a stir-fry but they are some of the hundreds of different things that can be part of an Asian stir-fry.
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Old 12-27-2007, 07:34 PM   #3
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Right. I was just hoping for ppl to do exactly what you did, so I can keep looking around and compile a list.

Thanks!

What's the diff between Asian and regular peanut oil?
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Old 12-27-2007, 07:50 PM   #4
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the trick to a wok is the heat. If I remember right the term is "wok hei"

"wok Hei" is the taste that comes from cooking in a wok. You've probably noticed that food and vegetables cooked in an asian kitchen taste differant. Even if given the recipe you can't quite get the flavor. that particular ingredient is whats called "wok hei" it only comes from a wok

and not just any wok. a real one. I got to cook on a real wok at culinary school and at a local Vietamese restaurant in New York. they are nothing like our western stoves. Its a big ceramic cylinder with a jet engine sitting in it. It has a central burner and an outer ring burner. the center heats the bottom of the wok and the outer the sides. Once a wok is up to full heat everything has to be added VERY fast, and you have to use your wok tools with precision, otherwise your food will burn.

Get all your ingredients that you need for your dish right next to you. in arms reach preferably measured out so you can just throw them in the wok. No time to turn around and look. understand? you need to keep you eye on the wok the entire time while your reaching for your mise en place.

even the most trained chinese chefs keep a pitcher of water near them in case things get out of hand, and sometimes you need water if a dish needs to simmer to let flavor incorporate. most wok setups have a water faucet for this very reason. It swings out over the wok and turns on automaticly and turns off when pushed away.

The trick to wok cooking is you need extreme heat on the wok. thats why those western non-stick "wok" pans will never work. You need hard unpolished iron woks.



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Old 12-27-2007, 07:52 PM   #5
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so what I'm saying is, get our ingredients sure,, but when it comes down to it, what makes a truly woked dish great is the heat from the wok.. it has to be smoking hot!
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Old 12-27-2007, 08:02 PM   #6
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so what I'm saying is, get our ingredients sure,, but when it comes down to it, what makes a truly woked dish great is the heat from the wok.. it has to be smoking hot!
Yes. High heat is the key. And you're right -- that's hard to do at home.

Stir frying is a technique. I can;t tell you what to buy becasue I don't know what you want to make.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:06 PM   #7
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As Fincher and Jennyema stated it's tough to duplicate results of a restaurant at home when it comes to stir fry's unless you have one of those fancy Wolf super high BTU burner with a wok ring. Most Chinese and Asian restaurants use something similar.

Having said that if you are looking to make a home version there are a few things that can work well.

If you are using sliced beef or chicken I would suggest cooking it by itself with a tiny bit of oil for a few minutes on high heat until it's almost completely cooked and then removing it. Then cooking the veggies again with the aromatics and then adding the meat back and the sauces and it produces a much better end result.

Also here is my ingredient list and these are all the stuff I keep in my refrigerator or pantry:

Garlic
Ginger
Spring Onions
Dried arabol chilis
Kikomo Teriyaki Glaze
Soy Sauce both dark and light
Sesame Oil
Canola Oil
Sweet Garlic and Chili Sauce
Nam Pla
Sambal Olek
Rice Vinegar
Black Bean Paste
Hoisin
Sesame Seeds (I keep white ones and sprinkle them for garnish)
Corn Starch
Brown Sugar
Thin Wheat Sphagetti that can be broken and used as noodles

Assorted Veggies

Carrots - I buy the matchstick ones from fresh produce so the work is done
Bell Peppers - Red and Green
Bok Choy - I love to use the baby version and then wash it properly and then roughly chop it
Canned Straw Mushrooms
Canned Baby Corn
Cilantro
Oranges and Lemons - I love to add zest of this to Stir frys to add additional dimension
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:10 PM   #8
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Any meat.
Any veggies.
Any sauces.

Smoking hot, and cook in small batches.
Disable your smoke alarm and turn the stove fan on high!

Wok doesn't have to be "oriental". :)
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:25 PM   #9
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........And a propane fish cooker does a nice job of supplying the needed heat...
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:54 PM   #10
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A propane turkey fryer has a high btu out put as well. To your list I would add green pea pods. Rice flour for tempura batter. I some times use baby spinach for some stir frys I do. Enjoy your new tool
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:33 AM   #11
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"wok Hei" is the taste that comes from cooking in a wok. You've probably noticed that food and vegetables cooked in an asian kitchen taste differant. Even if given the recipe you can't quite get the flavor. that particular ingredient is whats called "wok hei" it only comes from a wok
For sure. I've always wanted one and now I'm giving it a try. I realize I can't make the "professional" amount of heat, but I'm going to **** well try.

and not just any wok. a real one. I got to cook on a real wok at culinary school and at a local Vietamese restaurant in New York. they are nothing like our western stoves. Its a big ceramic cylinder with a jet engine sitting in it. It has a central burner and an outer ring burner. the center heats the bottom of the wok and the outer the sides. Once a wok is up to full heat everything has to be added VERY fast, and you have to use your wok tools with precision, otherwise your food will burn.
I've used a wok in a "real wok range," for lack of a better term Only, once though... and it was at school. I worked in a Chinese restaurant (too bad I've moved or I'd bug him). I've been heating it when trying to get it seasoned, and I'm thinking it will get decently hot. I'm hoping anyway... so keep your negativity elsewhere



Get all your ingredients that you need for your dish right next to you. in arms reach preferably measured out so you can just throw them in the wok. No time to turn around and look. understand? you need to keep you eye on the wok the entire time while your reaching for your mise en place.
Good point.



even the most trained chinese chefs keep a pitcher of water near them in case things get out of hand, and sometimes you need water if a dish needs to simmer to let flavor incorporate. most wok setups have a water faucet for this very reason. It swings out over the wok and turns on automaticly and turns off when pushed away.
Hmm... didn't think of that. Duly noted. Thanks. *scratches mental note


The trick to wok cooking is you need extreme heat on the wok. thats why those western non-stick "wok" pans will never work. You need hard unpolished iron woks.
It's not nonstick... but it's not iron. It's carbon steel. I don't know how much different that will behave than my cast iron, never used it. My major concern right now it is if I can indeed get enough heat and getting it seasoned.

and to Yakuta... thanks for the reply, adds to list of "possibles to buy"
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Old 12-28-2007, 03:17 AM   #12
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Also add to your list oyster sauce, steamer basket, dried shitaake mushrooms and the dried shrimps. If you want to go down the Thai or Vietnamese lines, you will want other items too.

There are also different woks for different types of cooking to be considered.
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:11 AM   #13
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A propane turkey fryer has a high btu out put as well. To your list I would add green pea pods. Rice flour for tempura batter. I some times use baby spinach for some stir frys I do. Enjoy your new tool
I'm not sure you want to be using a propane turkey fryer in your kitchen!
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:28 AM   #14
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Jen is right. While a propane turkey fryer burner is super hot like a restaurant wok burner, it cannot be used indoors.
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:03 PM   #15
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Maybe I'll get a turkey fryer, a case of beer and do some outdoors wokkin'
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:41 PM   #16
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Instead of just taking the advice of folks who will all have their own preferences on pantry/fridge staples, if I were you I'd go to the library or, even better, bookstore & invest in some good basic books on Asian cooking. Good ones will have lists of pantry essentials & cooking techniques, as well as a decent range of recipes to choose from & try.
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:44 PM   #17
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Don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, but if you want to add heat and great flavor to your stir fry you might want to get some Tien Tsin, these are chinese chili peppers. These are very hot so you dont need to add too many. You can also make chili oil with them too.
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Old 12-28-2007, 05:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Instead of just taking the advice of folks who will all have their own preferences on pantry/fridge staples, if I were you I'd go to the library or, even better, bookstore & invest in some good basic books on Asian cooking. Good ones will have lists of pantry essentials & cooking techniques, as well as a decent range of recipes to choose from & try.
Good point. I have access to a good library, too.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:38 PM   #19
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Get yourself a copy of Martin Yan's Quick & Easy cookbook. It has a whole section on standard pantry items for Chinese cooking. It has some great recipes, too!
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:47 PM   #20
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This was a crappy pic of attempt #1

Sirloin (cut incorrectly and overpriced, but I wasn't in the mood to deal with bugging somebody to cut me something and I couldn't find any bigger pieces to cut myself... that's what I get, I suppose)

soy sauce, oyster sauce, sambal oelek and sugar

peppers and onions

Forgot scallions (which I cut already) and any form of garlic (was going to have to use dried... dummy forgot garlic at the store). Hopefully I'll remember these on round 2.

Thickened with arrowroot slurry (forgot cornstarch too). You'd think I'd learn to write things down.
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