Let's Wok and Roll

Last year I bought a brand new wok from a yard sale. The couple had received it for their wedding and never even opened it. I was all excited at finding a bargain and beginning some Asian inspired cooking adventures.

So I took it home and set the box down in the garage and didn't touch it for a year. Why, you ask? Because I don't really know how to use wok and Asian cooking intimidates me.

A few days ago, I decided to challenge myself. I had a handful of Asian ingredients in the fridge and some egg noodles and chicken. I was going to break in the wok! I figured it couldn't be any more complicated than using a skillet, right? It was time for me to find my inner wok star...like this guy:

I poured a bit of peanut oil in the bottom and cranked up the heat. Meanwhile, I retrieved my chicken from the fridge that I had sitting in a marinade I created on a whim that morning. Basically I threw in a couple tablespoons of anything Asian I could find in my house. This included Soy Sauce, fresh ginger, Hoisin sauce, chili paste, and red pepper flakes. I also threw in some olive oil, minced garlic, and red wine vinegar. I let the chicken marinate for a few hours. It certainly smelled good when I got it out.

The little 1 inch pieces of marinated chicken sizzled in the wok as I dropped them in. I threw in a little more fresh ginger and hoisin sauce for good measure. When the chicken was cooked through, I put it aside and grabbed some frozen broccoli I had thawed from the freezer and some chopped bok choy someone had given me.

In they went! Once the the broccoli was tender and the boy choy was wilted, I added the chicken back into the wok and tossed it all around with some sesame oil.

Meanwhile, I had boiled some egg noodles and threw them into the mix. I was having a great time...there was steam all over the room, loud sizzling noises and a huge mess in the sink (my husband kept a safe distance from the kitchen).

I would say that my experimental cooking was somewhat successful. It certainly didn't taste bad, but I think it was lacking the kind of flavor that really "wows" you. It seemed like I had added all sorts of flavor, but there was just something missing. Any suggestions?

The next day, I grabbed some sliced mushrooms, sliced red onion, minced fresh garlic, and chopped fresh parsley. I sauteed the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in some olive oil and added the parsley at the end. I took the leftover Asian explosion from yesterday out of the fridge and threw the mushroom onion mixture on top. It really helped the flavor and tasted great!

This "cooking without a recipe with what you have on hand" may be something people do all the time...but it's new to me.

I'm going to force myself to do it more often. My future attempts may end if success or in failure...but I'm sure going to have a good time!


  1. Wok cooking is one of our very favorite types of cooking. Many years ago, my husband bought me a Wok for Christmas, and we had so many good meals prepared in that. You will feel more comfortable each time you use it. It is definitely a healthy form of eating. Enjoy!!

  2. You'll have to give me some pointers so that I can use it more effectively!