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hpr1787 :: A Beginner with a Wok

Frank Bell shares some of the things he's learned about cooking with a wok.

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Hosted by Frank Bell on 2015-06-09 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
cooking, stir-fry, wok. 13.
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Duration: 00:17:05


Cooking techniques, recipes, recommendations and cooking equipment

Merriam-Websters defines "stir-fry" as "to fry quickly over high heat in a lightly oiled pan (as a wok) while stirring continuously." (Source:

Talk about stir-frying. Not an expert by any means, but think I've learned enough to share a bit.

Frank bought a wok, quite on impulse, and has been experimenting with stir-fry recipes and has found it surprisingly easy--much easier than, say, making a souffle or oysters Rockefeller. In this podcast, he discusses what he has learned and in the context of narrating the preparation of a meal.

Some Links:

Wok How-Tos:

Two Recipes:


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Comment #1 posted on 2015-06-09 21:01:24 by Jon Kulp

What about broccoli?

Thanks so much for the shout-out, Frank, but how could you possibly leave **broccoli** off your list of stir-fry-worthy vegetables?! Really enjoyed the episode.

Comment #2 posted on 2015-06-10 13:41:52 by Mike Ray

And baby corns

I was just thinking the same thing John. And what about baby corn-cobs?

Great episode. I love wok cooking.

I think a good long-handled wok shovel is also a must, especially for that authentic chinese kitchen noise :-)

Comment #3 posted on 2015-06-10 14:40:49 by Frank

. . . er, because I haven't figured out a way to stir-fry Hollandaise sauce?

Comment #4 posted on 2015-06-10 19:15:12 by Jon Kulp


Hollandaise?? What does that have to do with broccoli? I don't think I've ever even eaten hollandaise before!

Comment #5 posted on 2015-06-10 20:01:40 by Dave Morriss

Thinks to stir-fry

Great idea for an episode Frank.

I'm a great fan of Asian food and stir-fry a lot; I have been doing so for more than 30 years..

My basic vegetable stir-fry includes onions (cut vertically into "segments" and separated), sliced garlic, carrots and celery (both cut first diagonally then into julienne), broccoli, peppers, and button mushrooms. Cauliflower also works, as do brussels sprouts, cabbage and of course Chinese vegetables like Bok Choy. Then there are varieties of legumes like French beans, runner beans, beansprouts and the classic mangetout which are fantastic. The list goes on and on.

I like to use a standard steel wok with a flat bottom since it works best on my gas hob. One day I'll buy a new hob with a burner designed for a proper round-bottomed wok :-)

Anyway, thanks for the episode. It was great to hear.

Comment #6 posted on 2015-06-10 20:04:29 by Dave Morriss

Things not thinks

I got so excited thinking about my next stir-fry recipe my ability to spell left me ...

Comment #7 posted on 2015-06-10 21:27:32 by Mike Ray

Round-bttomed woks

I think in some places you can get some kind of iron ring to stand on your gas burner so that a round-bottomed wok will stand properly.

I had one once which was really heavy, which it has to be if your going to violently slap the wok about the way the pros do.

Much better than a flat-bottomed wok

Comment #8 posted on 2015-06-10 21:54:57 by Dave Morriss

Wok rings

I have a ring but not like the one you describe. It's quite light and moves around and isn't stable on a gas hob like mine. No way would I leave a hot wok unattended on such a thing; I feel it would tip over.

The item you speak of would be great but wouldn't it raise the height of the wok somewhat? My gas hob is at work-top height, which is high for using a wok. When I have a lot of food in mine I need to stand on a stool to do some hearty stirring. I'm not particularly short but I reckon I'd feel dwarfed by such an arrangement!

So a flat-bottomed wok is a compromise for me - even though the sides don't get as hot as they should for true stir-frying.

Comment #9 posted on 2015-06-11 18:17:07 by Frank

John: If you haven't eaten Hollandaise, you haven't eaten; it's a very simple blend of egg yolks, butter, and cayenne. It's quite laborious to make by hand and get the correct consistency.

It's traditionally associated with eggs benedict and asparagus, but is quite nice with broccoli. You can find a never-fail recipe at my blog.

Sadly, most of what you get in average restaurants--the ones I can afford, for example--comes out of a can.

Regarding bottoms, my wok has a flat area about 6" in diameter at the bottom, then curves smoothly upward on the sides. My stovetop is about waist-high, so I have no trouble managing it. Perhaps someday I'll spring for a round-bottomed wok at the local Asian Market.

Comment #10 posted on 2015-06-11 23:22:46 by jezra

chicken and woks

After visiting the local butcher for some boneless skinless chicken breast, I put the breast in the freezer. An hour or so later the chicken is quite firm but not frozen solid. The firmness allows me to cut long strips of chicken that are paper thin. om nom nom

If the wok is created by hammering, the hammer dents on the inside of the wok will allow the cook to push food farther up the side of the wok than on a smooth walled walk.

Loved the episode by the way. :)

Comment #11 posted on 2015-06-13 04:28:26 by Frank


I did the opposite. I usually have skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the freezer. I thaw them partially, then slice them up.

And thanks. I am continually impressed by the eclectic taste of the HPR community. This really is a nice place to be.

Comment #12 posted on 2015-06-14 01:28:16 by FiftyOneFifty

I've learn not to turn the heat up when I thought I turned if off and then walk away from the stove.

Comment #13 posted on 2015-06-16 23:16:15 by Frank

Thanks for the suggestion

Had broccoli tonight, with garlic, onions, mushrooms, bean curd seasoned with mild Hungarian paprika sauce, pepper, and "Italian spice."

Thanks for the suggestion. Think I could have cut the broccoli into smaller bits, but it was still good.

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