Wok With Me

Since I’ve been living in Europe I miss proper Chinese food. They just don’t understand it here. It’s hard to find a restaurant that will serve it right, not too greasy, not too runny. Europe is the only place I had actually vomited after a visit to a Chinese restaurant!

So, a decade later I finally had enough of it. I was going to teach myself how to wok! I got into the science of it all, guided by the books and videos of the very masterful woker Grace Young. It took me weeks to find the proper wok. But I finally found my carbon steel beauty in Brussels, and laid out a full 19.95 Euros for it. I felt immensely proud when the shop keeper at the counter admired my choice. Forget those 200 Euro wok Maseratis. Cheap old faithful carbon steel is where it’s at, and we both knew it.

Anyway, do I love a piece of metal so much I have to post pictures of it? Hardly. My passion for woking turned out to be unintentionally contagious, and I got my sister into it too. I don’t think she has her wok yet, but I promised her I will post pics of the ‘faces of the wok’. In other words, how the wok changes with use: from the first break in(seasoning) through the many cooking sessions and beyond. It’s all about the patina. And the darker, the better!

Woking with carbon steel is a serious commitment. I’ve taken my first steps towards this commitment by scraping the protective layer off, seasoning it with scallions and ginger, washing it again, and cooking a first meal in it later that evening. Which was pineapple chicken, by the way. Not a kids’ favorite… yet. (What do they know??? They are European anyway…) So, that’s what these pictures are about.

I’ve cooked a whole lot more since these pics were taken, but I want there to be enough change in the patina to better demonstrate the transformation.

Sis, if you are listening, this one is especially for you. So, get your carbon steel and let’s get a-woking!

PS: I know I should call woking ‘stir-frying’, but ‘woking’ is sooooo much more jazzy.By the way, this is the first entry of what I hope will become a series about (what else?) zee wok.