The success of any dish depends on careful forethought and preparation. To achieve an authentic Asian appearance and even cooking results, food should be cut into small, even pieces. This allows food to cook quickly and to be easily picked up with chopsticks.
|Slicing||A straight slice is used for cutting meats and vegetables. Slices should be of an even thickness. Partially frozen meat will slice more evenly. Slice meat very thinly, across the grain to obtain a more tender result.|
|Matchstick or Julienne||First slice the vegetables as described above. Then, stack slices and cut again into thin or thick sticks depending on the recipe.|
|Shredding||Used for cutting meats and vegetables. ¼-inch (5mm) slices of food should be stacked, then cut again into ¼-inch (5mm) sticks. Vegetables such as cabbage and spinach should have their leaves stacked, then rolled up. Cut width ways very finely.|
|Cubing and Dicing||Used for cutting meats and vegetables. To cube, cut 1-inch (2.5cm) slices, then stack them on top of one another and slice ¹⁄₈-inch (3mm) thick in the opposite direction. Cut again in the opposite direction forming 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes. To dice, follow the same directions, making 5mm slices forming ¼-inch (5mm) cubes.|
Recommended Temperature Probe setting: ‘High Sear’ for meats; 12-14 for vegetables and seafood
Stir-frying is an energy efficient and healthy way of cooking foods. The benefit of this method is its speed and the flavorful result. The non-stick cooking surface on your Wok also means that less oil is required for cooking.
The cooking action for stir-frying is a continual tossing motion to ensure the food is evenly exposed to the heat and cooks quickly and evenly in a couple of minutes.
Stir-frying should be carried out using a high heat setting.
Preheat your Wok before adding any ingredients. Allow the temperature light to cycle ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ as overcooking will give a tough, dry result. Cooking times depend on the size and thickness of the cut — the bigger the cut, the more time is needed.
NOTE: Make sure to carefully cook the meat to the minimum temperature required to prevent contamination.
- Buy meat strips from your butcher or supermarket, or prepare meat strips from recommended cuts by removing any fat and slicing thinly across the grain (across direction of meat fibers). Slicing across the grain ensures tenderness. Cut into very thin strips, approximately 2 – 3 inches (5 – 8cm) in length. Partially freeze meat (approximately 30 minutes) to make slicing easier.
- Stir-fry meat strips in small batches (approximately ½ pound; 225g) to stop meat from shedding its juice and ‘stewing’, resulting in tougher meat.
- When you’re adding meat strips to the Wok, the strips should sizzle.
- Stir-fry meat strips for 1 – 2 minutes. Any longer will toughen meat.
- Remove each batch when cooked and allow the Wok to reheat before stir-frying the next batch. By cooking in small batches, you allow the heat of the Wok to remain constant, ensuring the meat does not stew and toughen.
- A small amount of oil can be mixed through the meat strips before adding to the Wok, along with any other flavoring such as garlic, ginger and chili peppers. A little sesame oil can also add flavor. Mixing the meat with the oil rather than heating the oil separately in the Wok eliminates using too much.
- Drain off thin marinades from meat strips before stir-frying to prevent stewing and splatter.
After sealing the meat in a little oil (or sprinkling of water), stir-fry vegetables until vivid in color using these guidelines.
|3 Minutes||Onion, quartered Broccoli, flowerets Carrots, sliced Soaked Chinese dried Mushrooms|
|2 Minutes||Snow peas Bell peppers, sliced Zucchinis, sliced Water chestnuts Bamboo shoots|
|1 Minute||Garlic, minced Chili pepper, minced Ginger, minced Shallots, chopped Bean sprouts|
This brief cooking time will keep vegetables crisp.
Peanut oil is traditionally used for Asian style stir-fry dishes. However, other oils such as vegetable, canola and light olive may be used.
Do not overfill the Wok. If necessary cook in batches and reheat at the end of stir-frying. If using this method remember to undercook slightly as to not overcook the end result.
Serve stir-fried foods immediately to retain their crisp texture.
Recommended Cuts for Stir-Frying
|Beef||Lean beef strips prepared from rump, sirloin, rib eye and fillet.|
|Chicken||Lean chicken strips prepared from breast fillets, tenderloins, thigh fillets.|
|Lamb||Lean lamb strips prepared from fillet, lamb leg steaks, round or topside mini roasts and loin.|
|Pork||Lean pork strips prepared from leg, butterfly or medallion steaks or fillet.|
|Veal||Eye of loin, fillet, round, rump or topside.|
Recommended Temperature Probe setting 8 – 10
Shallow frying is used to crispen and cook foods in a small amount of oil. The foods may already have been cooked.
Use approximately 3 cups (750ml) of oil, or sufficient oil so that half the food is immersed.
- Preheat the oil before adding food. When using oil never cover with the Glass Lid shallow frying as this will cause condensation to drip into the oil and result in bubbling and splattering.
- Do not move the Wok during heating or cooking.
- Wipe moisture from foods to avoid splattering.
- Cook a few pieces at a time to ensure crispness.
- Drain cooked foods on paper towels to reduce greasiness.
- Never leave your Wok unattended or unsupervised while shallow frying.
- Allow oil to cool before removing from the Wok.
- Vegetable, peanut or canola oil is recommended for shallow frying.
Slow Cooking (Braising)
Recommended Temperature Probe setting 1 – 2
Your Hot Wok™ is ideal for slow cooking curries and casseroles. Slow cooking allows less tender meat cuts to be used, to obtain a tender result. Less tender meat cuts contain sinew and gristle; these will be broken down during cooking to give a tender result. It is not recommended to slow cook with tender meat cuts as they will toughen and shrink during cooking.
It is recommended during slow cooking to place the Glass Lid on to retain heat. During the cooking process the curry or casserole will boil then turn off. This is normal operating for a Temperature Probe controlled unit.
Slow Cooking Tips
- Cut meat into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Trim any visible fat.
- Use a medium to low heat setting.
- Cook for approx 1½ – 2 hours, stirring occasionally with the lid on.
- Add soft or quick cooking vegetables — such as mushrooms, tomatoes, beans or corn — in the last half hour of cooking.
- Thicken towards end of cooking by stirring in a little cornstarch blended with water, or plain flour blended with margarine or butter. Alternatively, coat meat in plain flour before frying (extra oil may be needed).
Recommended Cuts for Slow Cooking
|Beef||Diced blade (boneless), chuck, round, shin, silverside|
|Chicken||Diced thigh, leg|
|Lamb||Diced forequarter, shanks and neck chops|
|Pork||Diced forequarter, leg|
|Veal||Diced forequarter, leg and knuckle (Osso Bucco)|
A little planning ahead makes stir-frying easier
|Agar-Agar||Is made from different types of seaweed. It has excellent setting properties, similar to gelatine, and will set at room temperature.|
|Bok choy||Also known as Chinese chard or Chinese white cabbage, has fleshy white stems and dark green leaves. It has a slight mustard taste. There is also a smaller version called shanghai or baby bok choy.|
|Bamboo shoots||The young tender shoots of bamboo plants are available in cans. They are mainly used to add texture to food.|
|Coconut cream and coconut milk||Both coconut cream and milk are extracted from the grated flesh of mature coconuts. The cream is a richer first pressing and the milk the second or third pressing.|
|Chili peppers, fresh and dried||Chili peppers are available in many different types and sizes. The small ones (Thai, macho, serrano, jalapeño) are the hottest. Use tight-fitting gloves when handling and chopping fresh chilies they can burn your skin. The chili seeds are the hottest part of the chilies so remove them if you want to reduce the heat content of recipes.|
|Cilantro||This is also known as coriander and Chinese parsley. It is essential to many Southeast Asian cuisines. A strongly flavored herb, use it sparingly until you are accustomed to the unique flavor. Parsley can be used as a substitute; it looks the same but tastes quite different. Cilantro is available fresh. The dried spice version is labeled coriander and is available whole or ground.|
|Char siu sauce||This is the equivalent of Chinese BBQ sauce.|
|Crisp fried shallots||These are available pre-prepared from most Asian supermarkets.|
|Fish sauce||A thin, salty dark brown sauce with a distinctive fishy smell, which is used extensively in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. It is made from small fish that have been fermented in the sun. Fish sauce replaces salt in many recipes.|
|Garam marsala||A blend of spices, usually consisting of some combination of cinnamon, cumin, pepper, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and mace. It can be bought already blended from supermarkets, but it is best freshly made. It is usually added towards the end of cooking.|
|Green Ginger Wine||An Australian-made alcoholic sweet wine infused with finely ground ginger.|
|Hoisin sauce||This sauce is a thick sweet Chinese barbecue sauce made from a mixture of salted black beans, onions and garlic.|
|Hoikkien noodles||Also known as fukkien, these are thick, yellow and rubbery in texture. They are made from wheat flour and are cooked and lightly oiled before being packaged and sold. The noodles need to be broken up before cooking.|
|Rice noodles||These are fresh white noodles, they do not require a lot of cooking.|
|Kaffir lime leaves||These are dark green, shiny, double leaves which have a very pungent perfume. They are rather thick and must be sliced very finely for use as a garnish, or added whole in a curry.|
|Lemon grass||An aromatic fresh herb that is used in curry pastes, stir-fries and soups. Trim the base, remove the tough, outer layers and finely slice, chop or pound the white interior. Whole stems can be added to soups or curries. Dried lemon grass needs to be soaked in water, but the flavor of fresh is superior.|
|Lychees||Delicious fruit with a light texture and flavor, peel away the rough skin, remove the seed and use. They are also available in cans.|
|Rice wine vinegar||Milder than most western vinegars, it usually has an acidity of less than 4%. It has a mild, sweet, delicate flavor and is made from rice.|
|Sambal oelek||This is a paste made from ground chili peppers and salt. This can also be used as an ingredient or an accompaniment.|
|Tamarind||Tamarind is a large brown bean pod containing a pulp with a fruity, tart flavor. It is available as a dried shelled fruit, a block of compressed pulp or as a purée or concentrate.|
|Tofu||Tofu, or bean curd, is a high protein, low fat food made from soy beans. It is available in very firm or soft blocks and is either fresh or vacuum-packed. It takes on the flavor of the spices and sauces it is cooked with.|
|Turmeric||This is best known in its powdered form and is often used to color food. It has a bitter flavor. It is occasionally available fresh as a root, rather like ginger, which is peeled and then grated and finely chopped. Powdered turmeric is commonly available in the supermarket.|
|Szechuan pepper corn||These are available from most Asian supermarkets and have a slight anise taste.|
|Water chestnuts||Small white crisp bulbs with a brown skin. Canned water chestnuts are peeled and will keep for about 1 month, covered in the refrigerator.|