Monday, February 17, 2014

Wok-ing with Meat

    Once again, it seems, I find myself staring at the kitchen wishing the food would just make itself. Don't get me wrong, I love snipping and chopping, peeling and mixing but let's face it- sometimes there just isn't any time! With a job, a family, and a homestead dinner can be quite a test of my endurance. These are the days for wok-ing.

     My Method for Meat in the Wok

   *Prep before you start. When cooking meat in a wok, the meat needs to be thin sliced across the grain for optimal tenderness. Frozen or slightly frozen meat is easily sliced; we like chicken or beef in our stir fry dishes. Be sure to pat it dry- we want a good sear!  
   *Preheat the dry wok on high heat. I like to see a hint of smoke rise from the bowl, but an easy way to see if your wok is ready- a drop of water will quickly evaporate when the wok is just right.
    *Drizzle the oil. Peanut and canola oils have the highest smoke point and are generally recommended for wok cooking, but I use either a good olive oil or coconut oil. Give the oil a drizzle down the sides of the wok, then pick up the wok giving it a good swirl coating the surface.
    *Add the aromatics. A seasoned wok is an excellent tool. My faves are garlic, ginger, and red pepper- finely chopped. Quickly tossing aromatic spices around the wok not only gives flavor, but releases the fragrance stirring the senses.
     *A flash in the pan (or wok). I push the aromatics to the side and work my meat in batches- dropping enough to be evenly spaced, not crowded. It's time to let the meat set untouched a minute before tossing it around betting a good sear on all sides. Once meat is seared, I set it, and the aromatics on a dish to rest while finishing the remaining meat.  
      *Complete the dish. Once all my meat is seared and resting, I add the veggies and or greens, giving them a nice toss until they are crisp tender. Once the veggies are just right, the meat and aromatics are returned to the wok. 
      *Bring it together. The final touch is a sauce; a little sweet, a little spice, and a bit salty.

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