- P​lates are for pussies.

S​omething a bit like chow mein but with inappropriate rice was not bad at all

W​oks should be kept at arm's length and do not mix with alcohol, like guns

18w ago

A​pologies to any Chinese readers. I think I made this up as I went along, but with reference to something I read on here somewhere. It includes chicken pieces and beansprouts but was fuelled mainly by several bottles of Riesling.

T​his is the problem with owning a wok, especially if it's something recently discovered. It calls to you, and goads you with its convenience and versatility. Once the munchies strike, the wok presents itself as a rapid-response solution, able to transform any left-overs or cupboard orphans into an almost instant, um, signature dish. It's also quite big, so your aim doesn't need to be that great.

B​ut, like an old Porsche 911, the wok can bite back. Mine spat a molten fragment of spring onion shrapnel into my eye, temporarily rendering me completely, rather than just half, blind.

T​his leads me to my point, a tip I learned recently (from a Chinese lady, in fact) about checking the temperature of your wok before adding the ingredients. The wok heats up very quickly, so getting this right is important.

'​… the ends of your fingers into the bottom'

H​ave some water to hand, in a cup or whatever. Set the wok, dry, over the flame.

A​fter half a minute or so flick a few drops of water from the ends of your fingers into the bottom of the wok. If it sits there sizzling, your wok is not yet hot enough. If it disappears instantly, it's too hot.

W​hen the wok is right, the droplets will dance rapturously for a second or two before fading away. Now you can pour your oil in, in a swirl half-way up the side, so that it heats progressively as it settles into the bottom. Now start your wok panic with the ingredients.

I​ tried this trick with the above, to discover that I generally don't have my wok hot enough. Cowardice. This time I got it right, and this was the best stir-fry I've yet made.

M​y personal food reviewer described it as 'a bit like a take-away', but she'd been on the Riesling, too.

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Comments (24)

  • Have you got a supply of takeaway trays in the cupboard of plenty so you can bamboozle your personal food reviewer? ‘Plates are for pussies’....the cat hasn’t got his own back for you nicking his grub yet.

      4 months ago
  • Looks good Mr May

      4 months ago
  • Tonight I'm using up the leftover chicken from the roast. Onions, bacon, carrots, chopped, then in the pan to soften a little in oil, add the appropriate amount of rice and homemade chicken stock per person. Basmati is fine, it's not a risotto. Stir. Let rice cook whichever way you prefer. Add peas and then chicken pieces and stir until warmed through. You could add favouring like garlic, chilli, teriyaki sauce if you like that kind of thing. Do not use a wok for this. That is all

      4 months ago
  • Have struggled with keeping my wok shaped non stick frypan hot enough. The right heat for the whole time makes such a big difference. A gas hob is definitely best for this. Great to see you giving your wok some love 🙂

      4 months ago
  • Looks delicious James! 😋 And plates are totally overrated! 😉

      4 months ago