Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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February Goal: Wok Study

I'm most of the way through my short-term goals. While I can't sustain maximum effort all the time, I do want to find some other things that are shorter than the year-long goals. Conveniently, we just got a wok. So I am going to lay out some goals for wok study. The idea is to complete as many of these goals as possible by the end of February.

Wok Study Goals

* Look through at least one more Asian cookbook currently in our collection and mark potential recipes. [MET 1/24/21 Far Eastern Cookery by Madhur Jaffrey]

* Obtain at least one new cookbook focusing on wok recipes. [MET 1/27/21 The Essential Wok Cookbook]

* Read the new wok cookbook together and mark promising recipes. [MET 1/27/21 The Essential Wok Cookbook]
This one is much more encouraging than the other Chinese recipe books we've been browsing. We found several things that we would love to try, and a bunch more that have potential with a little tweaking. \o/

* Browse at least 2 websites of wok recipes, noting the recipes of interest.

35 Restaurant-Inspired Wok Recipes You Can Make at Home [1/31/21]
None of these sounded quite right. Some came close.

Food Network Wok Recipes [1/31/21]
Same thing: close, but always 2-3 reasons not to make it.

33 Stir-Fry Recipes to Rock Out With Your Wok Out [1/31/21]
Even less appealing.

The Woks of Life Quick Easy Recipes [1/31/21]
Now we're getting somewhere!

Food & Wine Wok Stir Fry [1/31/21]
I found a couple of possibilities here.

Eating Well Healthy Stir Fry Recipes [1/31/21]
And one here.

* Check kitchen for Chinese ingredients we already have. [MET 1/24/21]
- white rice vinegar
- Chinese 5-spice powder

* Buy at least 5 of the most common Chinese ingredients. [MET 1/25/21]
- soy sauce [1/25/21]
- at least one other flavoring (oyster sauce 2/9/21, hoisin sauce, shrimp sauce, sesame oil 1/29/21) [mirin 1/25/21]
- canned bamboo shoots [bought 1/25/21, used 2/9/21], canned water chestnuts [bought 1/25/21, used 2/17/21], canned lotus root, canned baby corn [bought 1/25/21, used 2/13/21]
- bok choy (bought 2/23/21, used 2/24/21) and/or mung bean sprouts (bought canned 2/23/21)
- other Chinese vegetables (snow peas, choy sum, green onions 1/29/21], lemongrass, Chinese eggplant, enoki mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms)

EDIT 2/5/21: I researched oyster sauce here.

EDIT 2/5/21: [personal profile] kelkyag recommends this guide to Asian condiments and substitutions.

* Make at least 3 recipes in the wok. [MET 1/26/21 Ginger Pork Stir-Fry with Mushroom, 1/31/21 Orange Beef, Chicken with Pineapple 2/6/21]
Also I made Soy-Molasses Salmon in the electric skillet.

* Experiment with different methods of velveting chicken.

* After learning basic skills, try making some things without a recipe.  [MET 2/9/21 Bell Pepper Beef, 2/13/21 Chicken with Baby Corn Stir-Fry, 2/17/21 Beef and Peas Stir-fry, 2/20/21 Mushroom Chicken, Bok Choy Beef Stir-Fry 2/24/21 ]
EDIT 2/6/21: Since I have 1/2 bell pepper left over, I want to make a bell pepper beef recipe with onion and a canned Chinese vegetable, possibly the bamboo shoots.

EDIT 2/9/21: Remake a previously made recipe and try to improve on the first version.

* Find or invent base recipes that can be modified in various ways as needed.

* Wok Around the World: create an algorithm that can be used to wok with any cuisine.
(This may need to be a different monthly goal.)

Rice Wine Substitutes

Also, we don't want to use cooking wine, and most Chinese recipes call for that. The two main kinds are Shaoxing cooking wine and mirin (which is actually Japanese). Among the recommended nonalcoholic substitutes are white grape juice and apple juice, which are standard substitutions for alcohol. Another site recommended various flavors of stock along with nonalcoholic white wine and nonalcoholic beer. The latter is useful as I would not have thought of it, but my partner Doug loves NA beer and we have successfully used several varieties in cooking. Mirin substitutes include white rice vinegar plus sugar, honey, or maple syrup; and kombucha. You can also substitute water, or any other cooking liquid already used in a recipe, but I don't want to do that as it would dilute the flavor. I want to add something that will mimic the flavor profile -- at least in the beginning. If I decide that I like the wok, I can always tinker with ingredients later.

Substitutes worth trying:
- white rice wine vinegar (we already have this)
- kombucha
- nonalcoholic beer

Rice Wine Substitutes

Mirin Substitutes

Simple Mirin Substitutes

Substitutions for Shaoxing Wine
Tags: ethnic studies, food, holiday, personal

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