Archive: Wok Cookery

Q&A: Sichuan Food Expert Fuchsia Dunlop

As part two of our kitchen tribute to Chengdu, I tracked down Sichuan cooking expert Fuchsia Dunlop, who is presently in Shanghai, leading a culinary tour. Fuchsia Dunlop, at market. While eagerly awaiting Dunlop's reply, I recreated her recipe for Dan Dan noodles (from "Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper") yesterday afternoon, complete with a shopping expedition to Maxim Gourmet Oriental market in Rockville (460 Hungerford Drive; 301-279-0110). The recipe, below the jump, includes metric conversions and cooking notes. And the dish -- well, it blew through my nostrils, it numbed my tongue and it really and truly warmed my belly. It was my first experience cooking with Sichuan peppercorns, which until 2005, had been banned by the FDA (due to a strange citrus virus -- they all belong to the same family). The Sichuan pepper is a sensory phenomenon to behold in a most unexpected way -- there's a floral,...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 22, 2008; 07:45 AM ET | Comments (10)

Year of the Pig Dumplings

This weekend, the dog steps aside and makes way for the pig in the Chinese lunar calendar. Beginning Sunday, Feb. 18, it's Year 4705, or Year of the Pig. Gung hay fat choy! (That's Cantonese for Happy New Year, or literally, "May you become prosperous.") In celebration of Chinese New Year and continuation of the long weekend, extra-kitchen-time theme, I present Weekend Project Option Number Two -- jiao-zi. Say GEE OW ZE and you're not doing half bad pronouncing the word for the boiled dumplings eaten in northern China. In an online chat on washingtonpost.com a few years ago, Chinese cookbook author Grace Young mentioned that "jiao-zi are typically cooked between midnight and 2 am New Year's Eve, so it is believed that you bring your wealth from the previous year into the new year." Shaped like a coin or a gold or silver ingot to represent prosperity (or like...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 16, 2007; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wok-Fried Chicken

With my new wok properly seasoned, I needed an inaugural dish, something to continue the newly christened wok on its patina-ed journey to non-stick bliss. Fried chicken in the wok. (Kim O'Donnel) For ideas and some preliminary wok dos and don'ts, I called my friend and wok guru Grace Young, whose "The Breath of a Wok" is a must-have for anyone considering a wok. DON'T "make a dish with sweet and sour sauce. The acid is going to strip the seasoning off the wok, and that's exactly what you don't want to do." That means no tomatoes, vinegar, wine, citrus of any kind - anything acidic. Young further explains that "a new pan is dying to drink oil. Deep fry something or cook bacon." Hmm...I had never thought about using a wok as a deep-fryer, but the idea makes sense. A wok gets really hot very quickly, and that's exactly...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 11, 2006; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

A New Wok State of Mind

Last month while traipsing through San Francisco, I bought my very first wok -- well, my very first authentic wok, the real deal from China. My new wok getting a proper seasoning. (Kim O'Donnel) The idea of a new wok had been marinating in my brain for some time, inspired by Chinese cooking authority Grace Young. But it wasn't until I walked into Tane (call me "Octane") Chan's Wok shop in San Francisco, that I was faced with a do-it-now-or-you'll-regret-it moment. Fifteen bucks and a few minutes later, I became the proud owner of a flat-bottomed, cast-iron wok (carbon-steel is the other variety), with an enamel exterior coating. Yesterday, I unwrapped my newly arrived kitchen baby and brought her into my world. But before I could even consider cooking, I needed to give her a good scrubbing, to remove factory grime and any residual metal powder. This is one of...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 7, 2006; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (8)

 

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