Wok This Way

By: Kirsten Vala

Stir-frying is cooking small bits of meat and veggies over high heat for a short amount of time and, since it doesn’t require much fat or oil, it’s a good healthy-cooking technique to pick up. Sure, you can stir fry in a regular frying pan or even in a pot, but a wok can turn any ho-hum weeknight dinnertime into a dramatic, choreographed stir-frying event.

The Wok

Ching uses a wok to make many of her recipes in Chinese Food Made Easy and there are two main types that she recommends: cast iron and carbon steel. Cast iron is most traditional for Chinese cooking, but it’s heavy. Carbon steel is more lightweight and easier to swirl. Ching uses a round-bottomed carbon steel pan in her show, with a wok stand to hold the wok steady over the burners, but you can also get flat-bottomed pans that sit flush on the burners. It’s best to avoid non-stick woks, since you cook at such a high heat, and also electric woks which won’t get hot enough for traditional stir-frying.

Stir-Fry Like a Pro

Prepare all ingredients in advance so they can quickly be added to the pan when ready. Cut all veggies into uniform sizes and add longer-cooking veggies to the wok first. Use oil with a high smoke point, like peanut oil or vegetable oil. Add food to the wok in this order: Aromatics (garlic, ginger, chiles, etc.) meat, then vegetables. Some recipes call for cooking the meat first and then setting it aside while you cook the veggies. As a last step, throw in a simple sauce made with a combination of Asian ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil.

Start with a few easy recipes, and then let your imagination (and your refrigerator) be your guide. Once you get the techniques down and have a few simple sauces in mind, you’ll be cooking up stir-fry’s everyday with no recipes in sight.

See Ching's cooking with a wok how-to and get her tips.

Recipes to Get You Started
13791 C3

13791 C3

Fragrant pork is served with Chinese cabbage and minced pork over a bowl of white rice.

FNM020109WN002.PSD

FNM020109WN002.PSD

Spicy Beef Stir-Fry from Food Network Magazine
404 C1

404 C1

Shrimp stir fry with egg noodles, spinach, and green onion topped with a fried egg.

Keep Reading

Next Up

9 Ways to Eat More Greens

Here are some ideas for working greens into breakfasts, lunches, dinners and, yes, even snacks!

7 No-Sweat Ways to Burn Calories

These easy, everyday activities burn 100 calories, so why not add them into your routine?

Italian Recipes That Won't Kill Your Diet

Enjoy Cooking Channel's healthy Italian recipes, like Chicken Parmesan, pasta recipes and pizza, that are low-calorie and will help you stick to your diet.

On TV

Donut Showdown

7:30am | 6:30c

Donut Showdown

8:30am | 7:30c

Sugar Showdown

9:30am | 8:30c

Sugar Showdown

10:30am | 9:30c

Unique Sweets

11am | 10c

Unique Sweets

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Sweets

12pm | 11c

Unique Sweets

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unique Sweets

1pm | 12c

Unique Sweets

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Unwrapped

3pm | 2c

Cake Wars

5pm | 4c

Cake Wars

6pm | 5c

Cake Wars

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Cake Wars

8pm | 7c

Cake Wars

9pm | 8c

Cake Wars

10pm | 9c

Extreme Cake Makers

11:30pm | 10:30c

Cake Wars

12am | 11c

Cake Wars

1am | 12c

Cake Wars

2am | 1c

Extreme Cake Makers

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Mondays 8|7c

Home for the Holidays

So Much Pretty Food Here