Traditional Indigenous Recipes

Cooking with a Wok

Woks are the main cooking tools in Chinese cooking. I use a carbon steel wok because it heats very quickly. I've used a "non-stick" wok, but the coating eventually peeled off. A wide variety of foods cook fast in a wok. You have be attentive to the temperature since it can burn your food if it gets too hot.    

One of my favorite food clips is at the end of Anthony Bourdain's episode, China, in which he visits a farm family that grows their own food and cook in a two-century-old wok. The variety and colors of the foods on their table is impressive and inspiring.

wok ingredients

Above: Since you have to cook quickly, cut up and separate your ingredients.  

Stir Fry

Possible ingredients (amounts for one plate; multiply for more dishes; these ingredients will cook down, that is, shrink in size):  


1/2 c sliced sweet onion

1/2 c red, yellowsweet orange peppers

1/2 c mushrooms

1/2 c zucchini

1/2 c yellow squash

3 baby corn

1/2 c sliced carrots*

1 c bean sprouts*

1/2 c broccoli (small florets)*

1/2 c cauliflower (cut into small pieces)*

1/2 c firm tofu, cubed*  



liced lean chicken*

sliced lean beef*

venison (elk, deer, moose, etc. may have a "gamey" flavor so try this in small amounts until you figure out how long to cook it)

Below: It's a lot more fun if each person can chose his/her ingredients. Let them put them in a bowl.  Ari wanted green beans, broccoli (her favorite), carrots, baby corns, water chestnuts, bok choy, bamboo shoots, and chicken (that went into the wok first)

Wok ingredients

 How to:

Timing is crucial.  

add 3-4 tablespoons of oil  

1/2t sesame seed oil

add spices:
1/2t-1 t minced garlic
1/2t mined ginger
chili paste to desired "heat"
1T soy sauce or fish sauce

Make sure the wok is hot enough for the oil to start smoking; then immediately begin to cook. If you decide to use meat or tofu, put that in first. Let the meat sit for about 25 seconds before you stir it around the wok.  

Add broccoli, caulifower, onions nad carrots since they take longer than other vegetables to cook. Wait 1 minute then add the others and stir. They will change color in a matter of perhaps a minute.  

Mix well.

Wok plate

Above: My finished plate has a lot more onions, bok choy, and mushrooms, with Teriyaki sauce.

*Old World ingredient