a wok on the wild side

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Alex MacDonald, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    I've been realizing that high-fat food really doesn't agree with me (sux to give up pizza!), so I've been studying cooking with a wok for a couple of months now. What I'm beginning to see is that it's a LOT quicker than I thought. Prep time is increased, but the stuff I've been able to cook is, well, "interesting". And there are no side effects on the ol` intestinal tract! Stuff like Kung Pao elk or General Tso's pheasant. Getting a bamboo steamer makes it really easy to do things like dim sum, too. I liken a wok to the West's Dutch oven; both have been around for centuries, but the wok has had an extended life of two thousand years or more, so I'd have to give the historian's nod to the wok for longevity. I figure it's been around so long that if they could have screwed it up, they would have already done so. However, getting one seasoned is difficult if you don't know how to do it properly, and western stoves usually don't put out enough heat to cook properly. Meat is cooked at a very high temperature and sears almost instantly, so all the juices are locked in.

    If you're interested, Uwajimaya will have most-but not all-the cooking implemets. To do it properly, you really need only a few simple things, but I'd start with a flat-bottomed wok rather than a round-bottom one. Those little rings raise the bottom of the wok too high above the heat in most cases. Follow the instructions from the Wok Shop (.com) for seasoning. And get the wok spatula and the ladle they sell, along with the little oil can for the peanut oil. A bamboo steamer from Uwajimaya and you can make some elk dim sum easily:
    1/4 lb ground venison, finely sliced green onion, garlic, salt & pepper, finely diced shitake mushrooms, a teaspoon of cornstarch, and season with a little soy sauce. Mix it all up in a bowl and let it marinate in the fridge for an hour or so. Get a package of wonton wrappers at the grocery store, put a little line of the meat in the middle, and fold the wonton wrapper around it. line the steamer with parchment-you'll have to cut it to fit-load it up and steam it for about 15 minutes. Serve with small dishes of soy sauce, Mai Ploi, and maybe some garlic chili sauce. and a good beer!
     
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  2. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    This might not agree with you GI tract Alex, but I like to fry up the little dumplings. Put some oil in the Wok and heat it up to 350. Drop in about three dumplings at a time and let them fry until golden.
     
  3. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    I steam `em; like potstickers. Works fine, takes about 15 minutes or so.
     
  4. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

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    Having had both round and flat bottom carbon steel and stainless, cooking on gas and electric, I'll pass this on fwiw.
    The original design wok was, still is, absolute genius. The dome shape of the top fitting inside the bottom allows condensation/recirculation without loss. The fire ring maximizes heat distribution by allowing the wok to be placed either on a flat surface, or directly on the coals. They do require rather intense heat which unfortunately, is lacking in some modern stoves. Removal of the burner grate will sometimes allow the fire ring to place the wok closer to the flame. For camping, those large LPG burners work quite well.

    My current abode being equipped with a glass top electric range, (aaarrg) I went through several woks before finding one that suits me. I had to settle for a flat bottom wok. Forget anything non stick! They won't take the heat. I tried two different carbon steel woks. One of which was not cheap. It warped so bad I tossed it in the trash. I never could keep them both seasoned and clean. In spite of all the online searching for the perfect wok, I ended up with a stainless wok from Macy's. Works for me.Although not as healthy as olive oil, peanut oil does not break down under the high heat.
     
  5. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Yup, use mine all the time at home. Love using it. Yeah, you gotta get that thing nice and hot to cook correctly with it. It's been a great all around device. I should use it more in camp, but unfortunately when it comes to packing on trips, it does take up room. Even trying to backfill around it (under and in it) it still takes up space. But it has made a few appearances in my camps. :)
     
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  6. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Speyfisher, try the cast iron/enamel flat-bottom wok from the Wok Shop; I've got both a carbon-steel flat bottom, and the cast iron one, and they both work great on my electric stove, cleanup's a breeze, and although they could probably use a little more heat from the stove, they both do a good job. And, they're not expensive, either!
     
  7. David Loy

    David Loy Senior Moment

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    I've acquired several All Clad pans over the years. The Chef's pan is infact a flat bottomed wok, and the lid is domed. Works very well. Many years ago I had a electric wok from maybe Rival, with teflon coating. Not a fan of teflon at all, but it worked quite well.
    IMO, you do NOT need to cook at 900 degrees. Medium to high works fine for me. My crew doesn't like rare (unfortunately), so a medium heat over a longer period works better for their taste.
     
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  8. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

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    BTDT: Electric, Teflon, the whole bit. Agree on the All Clad products. Had exotic birds for years, which rules out Teflon. Intense heat will cook meat all the way through without burning the surface, if you cut it into bite size pieces. Longer cooking time, under lesser temps over cooks your veggies. I've heard a lot of gripes about the taste of stainless vs, seasoned cast iron. Couldn't prove it by me. Along with gripes about stainless discoloring due to intense heat. Stainless cleans up easily with a Brillo pad. Finish it off with a (white) vinegar rinse & it looks like new.
     
  9. jersey

    jersey livin' the dream

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    the kids dig it when we steam whole fish in the wok. chopsticks laid out like a tic-tac-toe pattern, fish on top, flavor water with bit of lemon, ginger, green onion and soy.

    it is an amazing piece of cook ware.
     
  10. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

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    I started catch & release on catfish, way before B.A.S.S. was ever even conceived, because I was not very good at skinning them. LOL Had I known how to cook them Thai style, in a wok, I would have kept every one of them.
     
  11. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

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    We now live in Arizona at 6400' elevation and have a natural gas stove/oven, boy I am disapointed in the BTU output.
    The high intensity burners are rated at 12,000 btu's but at 6400' only put out about 8k. I am glad we are not on propane as a lot of the rural homes are, this drops the BTU's down to about 7k according to the appliance service tech.
    The wok doesn't perform as well as I would like, I may look into electric.
    jesse
     
  12. (BigDave)

    (BigDave) Member

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    When it comes to Woks, the best place to buy is an Oriental Restaurant Supply, High Carbon Steel is the way to go... There are a few in Seattle South of Downtown that will set you up fine. They also carry an incredible range of steamers for Dim Sum etc. I am also a homebrewer and have used my brewing stoves to rock my Woks. The more BTU the better. You have not lived until had homemade potstickers...
     
  13. Achilles

    Achilles Member

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    At first I was going to just say this was the coolest post title of all time. But then I read the post and think this might be the best food post of all time, the one about biscuits and gravy being a close second. You have to be the best camping buddy in the western United States.
     
  14. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    I'll have to say one thing about the Wok Shop's small cleavers, too. Suckers are sharp!!

    Achilles, you should see our elk camps; we had venison Oscar one evening, along with the champagne. I'm still working to refine an elk Wellington, but there's no sense having to eat freeze dried stuff unless you're hauling it in on your back!
     
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  15. Achilles

    Achilles Member

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    Elk Wellington, that gets a friggin thumbs up any day. Just the thought...

    Seriously, that is gastronomical genius. You are way before your time...
     

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