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Wok


Ian_Lee
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Wok is the most essential utsenil in Chinese cooking.

That is the primary reason why most home-prepared Chinese food in Europe/US/Canada do not taste as good as those served in restaurants.

But unfortunately in TV cooking show like "Yan can cook", the host abandons using wok and does not tell the audience the trick that wok is essential for yummy Chinese cuisine.

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What type of wok do you think is best?

In Australia, if we go to most stores we can usually only buy the very thick "good quality" woks, my friend has one that is made in France, the metal is high quality and it well constructed. It's also expensive, but I think it's terrible for cooking.

The metal is so thick it takes a long time for the wok to become hot, and it can't reach a very high temperature. Which kind of defeats the purpose of using a wok.

I don't know much about cooking, but I think the cheaper, thin woks are much better. They get hot straight away, so the food is cooked quickly.

By the way, I don't think lack of using a wok is the primary reason why Chinese food in Europe/ US/ Canada doesn't taste very good. I think it's more a combination of different recipes, using bad ingredients and bad cooking skills. :wink:

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I live in Europe and all the Chinese people I know are using woks to cook. You can buy many kinds of woks here. Nowadays you have woks that prevent sticking but these are not so good, cos they can't be heated hot enough. I saw on tv about what's the best wok and they said the one wich are molded which are made from certain kind of iron are the best.

And Chinese food served in restaurant taste better because they add that white stuff "mee tjing" to enhance the flavour. But for real Chinese food got to go to Asia. Many Chinese vegetables can't be bought here. My mom even bought once a while frozen Chinese chicken cos she said they have that chicken flavour. To me they taste all the same, I mean why buy A frozen one if you can get a "fresh" one.

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I summed up some basic knowledge of Cantonese cooking.

Cantonese cooking methods are:

煎,炒,煮,炸,炆,炖,蒸,煲,灼,滚,焗,烧

With essential ingrediants/spices:

柴(now gas),米,油,盐,酱,醋,茶,糖,酒

Some common cooking utensils:

锅: used for -- 煎,炒,炸,灼

煲:used for -- 煮,炆,蒸,煲,灼,滚

炖盅:used for -- 炖

焗炉:used for -- 焗,烧

Explanation:

煎(heat with oil on a platform 中至猛火):煎鱼,煎蛋

炒(stir fry 猛火):炒蛋,炒菜

炸(deep fry 猛火):炸油条,炸鸡

灼(put in very hot water for a brief time):灼虾,灼蟹

煮(cook 文火):煮饭,煮面

炆(cook with sauce and spices for a long time 文火):炆牛腩,炆鸭

蒸(steam):蒸鱼,蒸腊肠

煲(boil for a LONG LONG time):煲汤,煲醋

滚(boil for a short time):滚汤

炖(steam/boil in a sealed container for a LONG time, believed to serve medicinal purpose):炖参,炖鸡,炖冬瓜

焗(bake): 焗蛋糕,焗面包

烧(or烤 barbequed/roasted in fire):烧鹅,烧鸭

This list is by no means complete. As for the use of "wok"-锅, if 煎,炒,or 炸 food tastes good, we would say it has 锅气。Usually street side restaurants are the best places to eat skilled 锅气 food, however, don't do it too often since food that has 锅气 is also bad for your health.

"mee tjing" should be pronounced "May Jing" 味精, or MSG. It enhances food flavors. The fact that restaurants use too much MSG is why Chinese families prefer eating at home. MSG is believed to be bad for your health and frequent consumption can lead to cancer and other kinds of diseases. I am always hesitant to eat/drink free soups that are served in Chinese restaurants. We call them 味精汤, and you should know why now :P

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Wok is defo an English word, yes, very very commonly used in the UK. It has a very restrictive meaning, much more so than the original Cantonese (well I'm guessing but certainly much more restrictive than "guo"). It means "a large frying pan with a round base, used in Chinese cuisine for stir-frying".

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I agree with tetsuo that the thinner cheaper iron wok is the best.

According to my dialog with the Chinatown restaurant chefs during the table waiting years in the summer time of college years, the average life expectancy of wok in the restaurants is only two months.

But even if most households in US/Canada/Europe have good round woks, they would probably still not be able to make yummy Chinese cuisine.

Why? The reason lies in the range they use.

Since most of their kitchens use electrical ranges which are "flat" on the stove surface, the high heat cannot be directly in touch with the bottom of the round wok.

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Wok is the most essential utsenil in Chinese cooking.

That is the primary reason why most home-prepared Chinese food in Europe/US/Canada do not taste as good as those served in restaurants.

But unfortunately in TV cooking show like "Yan can cook"' date=' the host abandons using wok and does not tell the audience the trick that wok is essential for yummy Chinese cuisine.[/quote']

no no no, just the contrary. To do good Chinese cooking you need a wok, but to do the BEST cooking, you HAVE to forget about the wok, the MSG, the vege meat, everything that you can think of relating to cooking. The best cooking is a cooking without cooking~ :wink:

Follow your heart. 風清揚 said so. ~

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Oh Quest, sorry but I don't know, probably he's in Las Vegas now.

Anyway, talking about Food (this is the Food forum), Jin Yong's novel reminds me of another dish:

二十四橋明月夜 (er shi si qiao ming yue ye),

which is actually 24 Tofu balls (cut by Huang Rong's delicate Orchid Acu-point Whisking Hands, 蘭花拂穴手~~) put inside the Jinhua Huotui (金華火腿, a kind of "HAM"). It is said that all the extract of the HAM was transferred to the Tofu.

The novel is Eagle-Shooting Heroes (射蕉英雄傳), Huang Rong 黃蓉 made some delcious food to Hong Qigong 洪七公, Hong was delighted but then Huang said, "oh, but you still haven't tried my Tofu and Vegetable!"

And Jin Yong explained that cooking is just like martial arts, the best kind of cooking lies in the simplest tool and ingredients, or banana.

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Pazu:

Real Chinese cuisine does not depend on MSG.

It depends on the "high broth" which is cooked for 3 days & nights. Ingredients consist of Jinhua Ham, stewed chicken, lean pork,.....etc.

All those basically bland stuffs like abalone, shark fin, sea cucumber are made into delicious cuisines by the "high broth".

Did you ever feel thirsty (which is a common side effect of MSG overdosing) after eating two bowls of shark fin soup in a prestigious restaurant?

I never did.

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