My first kitchen purchase as a new bachelor was a wok

I bought a wok today. It was an impulse buy while getting frozen dinners in a Chinese supermarket. It was a 10-inch teflon wok, with a handle, black with silver trim and dressed up in red cardboard packaging.  I had to have it.  Eleven dollars (plus tax).

When I got home, I decided to do a stir fry to break it in. I didn’t have any meat or fish, but I had onions. Every stir fry needs onions. I put the wok on the biggest burner I have and turned it on high, then went off to slice the vegetables. I did two onions the long way and minced a few cloves of garlic. Looked through the ‘frig to see if I had anything else, but nah. Onion stir fry it was going to be.

So back to the wok, which by now had turned an incandescent red and was radiating enough heat to make the straight lines between the tiles on the wall behind it appear wavy in the shimmering air. I figured it must be ready.  I put on two oven mitts, my French apron, and a welding mask, grabbed the wok handle in one hand and tossed in half a cup of oil with the other.

Bam! The oil splattered explosively, but I was ready for this (I’ve done it before). I quickly threw in the onions and garlic, and started trying to do that thing you see Emeril do, where he flips the pan with his wrist and everything turns over real nice. I always wanted to be able to do that, and I figured with this deep wok shape it ought to be easy. I did pretty well, too, lost just a couple of slices. It was only when I slipped on one of them and fell down that I spilled the rest.

2 thoughts on “Wok”

  1. Dear Allen:

    Not being trained in the ways of being Asian I always find it easier to stir fry in a frying pan – especially if it’s for one person.

    As one of your most ardent fans I was sorry to hear you slipped on the onions while trying out your new wok. Oily onions can be dangerous. I know someone who almost broke a leg when they slipped on an oily Brussels sprout. Personally I’ve found that onions cooked crisp are the safest bet and it’s probably true of Brussels Sprouts too.

    1. It may be easier in a frying pan, but it’s more authentic in a wok. Especially a big cast-iron wok, one that has to sit on one of those metal stands to hold its round bottom over the flames. Especially one with iron handles that will blister your palms should you grab one inadvertently without gloves. But to flip the food in those you need to use utensils, preferably an authentic cast iron spatula and ladle with crudely nailed-on wooden handles. This arrangement is arguably as much fun as the wrist flip, and with a little enthusiasm you can just as easily end up with onions on the floor.

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