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breath of wok

thegrillsterthegrillster Posts: 348
edited 10:33PM in EggHead Forum
After taking the suggestion of one of our eggers I read this book called "The Breath of Wok" by Grace Young.

Wonderful book about wok cooking.

What I realized though is true wok cooking may not be achievable on the egg.

Now, that doesn't mean some great dishes can't be cooked. But when she states it can take 15 years to become a #1 Wok chef, well, that challenges me a bit.


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,014
    i think it can be done on the egg, its just going to take the 15 years of practice. :laugh:
  • Well due the the rapid temperature changes that wok chefs use for cooking meals I don't think the egg will accomodate.

    But again, we aren't commercial chefs. So I think many a good meal can be done on the egg.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,014
    all i know is that the egg works better than my wok burner in the house ;) what ive found that helps the egg work better for woking is to bring it up to about 600 to 800, open the dome and shut the bottom vent completly and you can now wok dome open the whole cook and the heat seems to stay up without going out of control. big reason i like the long handle version is that you can quickly take it off the heat if need be. my wok burner is only 18,000 btu's, not enough, the egg setup like that seems more like a 30,000 btu burner. that is a good book, try the oyster chicken
  • Funny how two people can read the same thing and come to two completely different conclusions. That book only reinforced my decision to get a spider/wok for the egg, rather than continuing to stir-fry on the stove.

    Temperature has more factors than simply dome temp of your egg. Distance from the fire is a big factor. When I stir-fry, I use many different levels of heat. You're right that the fire in an egg responds too slowly to be able to cook with the wok down in the spider the whole time, but you CAN still vary heat levels in your wok pretty easily by changing how far the wok is from the fire.

    For example, my favorite stir fry recipe includes searing meat over high heat, sauteeing garlic and ginger (medium/low heat) and cooking all the ingredients at medium/high heat to finish. All this can be done pretty easily and quickly.

    I work with a raging hot fire, set my wok down in the spider, and let it get rip-roaring hot before I sear the meat. Once the meat has been removed to a bowl, I take the wok out of the fire and let it cool (carbon steel woks heat very quickly, and cool very quickly as well). Then I set the wok back in the coals, and IMMEDIATELY add the garlic and ginger before it gets too hot, so as not to burn the garlic. If I feel that it's getting too hot too fast, I'll take the wok out and set it on the rim of the egg to keep the heat low. Then the veggies go in and cook...return the meat and add the sauce and cook.

    When I've done large batches of this dish at an eggfest, I seared all the meat at once, with the spider legs-up. Then I switched the spider to legs-down to do the rest of the cooking, and pulled the wok up to the rim of the egg, if it was still getting too hot.

    Remember that woks were used for centuries over coals before gas wok-stoves were invented. All that's needed is high heat, a highly-responsive gas stove is merely a convenience.
  • Grillster,
    I have to disagree.The temps on the egg are much more intense, consistant, and higher than on an indoor stove.
    It may take practice to get the sequence of adding food and how long to cook it but like anything else you cook on your egg,in a short time you can perfect a few dishes that you like.It won't take fifteen years.LOL Start out with simple dishes.You don't have to be #1 wok chef.If you and your family are happy with the results, then that's all that matters.Just have fun with it!
    I have found it helps if you take your recipe and then make a list of when to add ingredients, how long to cook them, and in the order they need to be cooked helps.My two cents.I'm not the greatest wok chef but I think it's better than take out in a cardboard box.Think fresh ingredients right out of the wok.
    It's a great book.
    Check out..The Foods of Vietnam also.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,014
    being organized is the hardest thing to learn, you have 15 ingrediants to cook and a minute to cook them all :laugh: i line them all up in the order where they will be added. its not like most cooks where you can cut and add onions, smash and chopp and add the garlic etc
  • BashBash Posts: 1,011
    That's true. I would like to post more wok cooks, but from start to finish I am too busy to take pics. Like you, I line up all my ingedients in the order needed. With prep and getting everything out by the egg, it is easy, but takes all of my attention.
  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,393
    fishlessman, aren't you the one with Lacanche range? Since you can't wok on it and you never seem to use it, I suggest you ship to me for a new home. :lol:
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,014
    the lacanche makes some great eggs and coffee B) if i knew what i know now about bge's, i would have gotten the traditional full size simmer plate instead of the wok burner on that range. :laugh:
  • Hey

    I have the spider and carbon steel wok. All I am saying is that there is a lot more to wok cooking than I realized.

    Not saying the egg won't work and we can't produce great wok dishes.

    Just saying there is a lot more to it than I thought.

    I did not get bummed out by reading the book, on the contrary, I am quite motivated by the read.
  • I think the prep work is what takes all the time and getting things in order to put in the wok.The more I do it the easier it gets.If you line your ingredients up in the order they cook that seems to help.
    Have fun with your wok.
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