Tag Archives: stir-fry

do you wok the wok

28 Jul

recently i watched a movie called “taste of happiness” that had a shanghai chef in japan who cooked all these dishes in this huge wok. my mom also cooks with a wok and every time i go home to eat, i marvel at how well scrambled eggs come out. other things seem to cook differently in a wok too – green veggies always come out more colorful and less wilted, and meat gets cooked thoroughly and tenderly without ever sticking to the side. so for a few weeks i was raving about how awesome a wok is. then, christine bought me a wok as a present, and last night i broke it in and made my first meal in the wok.

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i also used a new wok scoop that i bought in chinatown, and a butcher’s knife christine bought for me. the butcher’s knife is great – it is heavy and sharp and cuts vegetables completely differently than western chef’s knives. the wok scoop, surprisingly, is all you’d need to cook anything in the wok. you can stir the ingredients being cooked, spoon in broth or spoon out soup, you can use the edge to cut meat or veggies into smaller chunks in the wok, use it to serve single servings of rice, you can even scramble eggs using the scoop.

i made cucumber with scrambled eggs (i would have done the traditional tomato and eggs but my haymarket cucumbers were looking a bit overripe) and a large batch of garlic green beans. i made half of it with marinated tofu leftover from our barbeque last night, and another half with beef (from leftover hamburger). so christine, here’s to cooking together to procrastinating together.

Cucumber and Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients

two eggs
one asian cucumber

scramble two eggs in a bowl. sprinkle with salt. heat wok with a bit of oil. before oil gets hot and starts smoking, pour the egg into the wok. occasionally stir until egg starts to firm, then scoop the scrambled egg back into the bowl.

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peel and slice cucumber at an angle into elongated oval slices. heat oil in wok. put a bit more oil so that the cucumber doesnt become burned or dry, and will come out with more color. stir-fry cucumbers for two minutes. add the eggs back in, stir fry and add salt to taste.

Tossing the ingredients in the wok

Tossing the ingredients in the wok

Garlic Green Beans with Marinated Tofu or Beef

ingredients:
1 lb green beans
1/2 package (1 cube) extra firm tofu
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb ground beef
soy sauce and salt

marinated tofu:

slice extra firm tofu into 1/4 inch slices. prepare a marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, and furikake, and soak the tofu in the marinade. be sure to flip the tofu once so both sides get covered by furikake. after marinating, cut the tofu into bite size squares.

beef:

take 80% lean hamburger (1/4 to 1/2 lbs, about the size of 1 burger patty). hand mix garlic powder, adobo powder, salt, pepper, and cumin.

greenbeans

wash and prepare the green beans by pinching off both ends, then breaking the beans into 1 to 2 inch long segments. peel and dice one clove of garlic into larger, rough slices. heat oil in wok, and toss in the tofu or the beef. if using beef, break the meat into small chunks as it cooks. remove the tofu when the sides barely start to brown, and the beef when it is almost thoroughly cooked.

heat some oil and toss in the garlic. stir for a few seconds for the garlic to start flavoring the oil, then toss in the green beans. stir fry the green beans, making sure that everythings gets a slight coat of oil and starts to get a bit tender. toss the tofu or beef back into the wok and stir fry together, adding salt and soy sauce to taste. remove when the green beans are tender but still slightly crunchy, and still have a bright green color to them.

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cooking time: 15 minutes to prepare green beans and cucumber while rice is cooking, 15 minutes to stir fry.
ways to prolong procrastination: cook a large batch of food. the wok is huge.

Pan-fried Tofu with Napa Cabbage and Vermicelli

20 Jul

The weekend before last, I took a short trip back home to California for my dad’s birthday. Usually when I’m home, my mom doesn’t ever let me touch the stove because, in her words, she doesn’t like eating food made by people who don’t know how to cook. Ouch…burn.

To be fair, my mom is the best cook in the entire world.

This tofu, napa cabbage, and vermicelli dish is one that she taught me that weekend. And because she was swamped with cooking a banquet-sized dinner, she actually let me pan-fry the tofu! (Under her careful supervision, of course.) Progress is being made.

tofu and napa

Pan-fried Tofu with Napa Cabbage and Vermicelli
From my momma’s kitchen

Ingredients
1 package of extra-firm tofu
1 medium-sized head of napa cabbage
2 rectangular prisms of vermicelli (they usually come 3 to a bright pink mesh bag in Asian supermarkets)
cooking oil
sesame oil
soy sauce
salt, white pepper, Asian seasonings to taste
corn starch or other thickening agent (optional)

Put vermicelli in a bowl of cold water to soak.

Cut tofu into small, flat blocks, about 1/2″x2″x3″, and lightly pan-fry with sesame oil. Set aside.

tofu

Slice the napa cabbage and stir-fry for 5-10 minutes. They should still be crunchy and undercooked. Add in the tofu along with about 1/2 cup of the water the vermicelli has been soaking in and cover.

While you wait, remove the vermicelli from the water and cut into 6″ strands. This step is skippable if you don’t mind long strands of vermicelli or if, like me, you just forget. Add in the vermicelli when the napa is almost cooked through. It’s important not to add the noodles in too early because they’ll turn into mush if cooked for too long. Season to taste. I usually use soy sauce, salt, white pepper, and some Asian “vegetarian seasoning” from home. The thing is like MSG–it makes everything taste like magic–but has to be all-natural because I bought it at an organic/health food store. But I digress.

If you prefer your sauce to be a little thicker, feel free to add in some corn starch or flour.

When your napa is soft, it’s all done! Nom to your heart’s content. Or until it’s all gone.

Length of procrastination: 20 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Cook some rice to go with it!

Stir-fry Noodles With Two (!) Kinds of Onions

5 Mar

I’ve been craving noodles for the longest time. Specifically, I want steaming bowl of honest-to-goodness, hand-pulled ramen with miso soup (sans bonito flakes), mushrooms, and scallions. Because there’s a 7.10 exam on Thursday and a 7.23 exam on Monday, ramen at Porter Square seems a little out of reach. And since Bobby and I lacked the time and ingredients to make any kind of real broth, stir-fry noodles it was.

Stir-fry Noodles With Two (count ’em!) Kinds of Onions

Ingredients

  • enough noodles to fill your stomach — we used flat buckwheat noodles that my parents sent from California, but honestly any kind of Asian noodles works
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped or a handful of frozen chopped scallions
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 small potato, sliced
  • any other kind of veggies, sliced
  • olive oil
  • vinegar
  • soy sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Bring water in a large pot to a rolling boil. Cook the noodles on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, heat about 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Add the garlic and scallions and stir-fry until you can smell the aroma. Be careful if you’re using frozen scallions because the water will cause the oil to splatter all over the place.
  3. Add another generous amount of oil and stir-fry the rest of the onions, the potatoes, and any other vegetables you may have in your refrigerator. Take a bite of the slowest-cooking vegetable–you’re done when it’s slightly crunchier than the ideal.
  4. Transfer the noodles from the pot to the wok along with about 1/4 cup of the water. Stir-fry until all the water has evaporated. Add a splash of vinegar and soy sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir-fry for another 5 minutes.

Notes: Before cooking the noodles in water, I heated them with a bit of oil on low heat in a pan for about 5 minutes. The package of my noodles say that they can be completely cooked this way, but I was pretty skeptical so I cooked them in water, then finished stir-frying. If you’re looking for crunchy noodles, add a lot more oil during the second round of stir-frying.

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The final result!
broccoli with salt
I love salt.

after nomming

What happens when you do it correctly.

Length of procrastination: 15-20 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Grab a bowl of green tea ice cream for dessert. Length of procrastination is directly proportional to the size of your ice cream tub. Gallon tubs work best.

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