3 October 2013

GUEST BLOG: Totally woks

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

On the menu on Saturday was Egg Fried Rice, Egg and Vegetables with Lemon Sauce, and Stir-Fry Pak Choi with Mushroom and Tofu. The session started, however, with guest cook Judy Wong providing a valuable lesson on ‘how to treat your wok’, which was interesting, helpful and worth remembering for those not familiar with cooking this way. Heating the wok upside down over a flame, wiping it and washing it, then repeating this process a few times and sealing the surface with heated oil will keep it ‘treated’ for many cooking sessions to come. (This only works with metal woks, not non-stick ones.) This was followed by facts and information about soy sauce, sesame oil and other ingredients, Chinese supermarkets and knife-sharpening tips. This latter was essential as Judy’s next demonstration was how to make sliced carrot 'flowers’ - simple but beautiful - then how to make a decorative spring onion flower; putting it in a bowl of water helped open up the end tails.

 The benefits of rice cookers came next, followed by a demonstration of how to prepare and make Egg Fried Rice. The participants then all made this themselves and lovely aromas spread through the cooking room, followed by the chance to eat this surprisingly simple yet tasty dish. Egg is cooked in a wok, cold rice is added, spring onions and peas are next, stirring constantly, and then the dish is seasoned with soy sauce, salt and pepper, and optional sesame oil. Delicious for breakfast, lunch or supper. Next up was Egg and Vegetables with Lemon Sauce. We all stood around the cooker to watch the process demonstrated by Judy, then it was back to the work stations to prepare and cook the dish ourselves. Last but not least, and my favourite of the three dishes today, was Stir Fry Pak Choi. Large triangular pieces of tofu are sealed in a wok of hot oil, then drained. Garlic and ginger is heated then shitake or black mushrooms are added, followed by spring onions and greens, then it's seasoned with salt, pepper, soy sauce, rice vinegar and corn flour mixture, then oyster sauce and a few drops of sesame oil are added before serving. Such a tasty dish!

A great session, in which I learnt a lot of new skills and some amazing new recipes. Thanks to Judy, and to our two volunteers Angela and Kate who worked hard during the session today.

We're re-running this session on 25 January in Chorlton and, on 1 February, Judy will be leading a non-vegetarian Totally Woks session: full details and bookings of both classes are now on the Cracking Good Food website.

See our Facebook page for a full set of pictures - and don't forget to click "like"!

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