A new wok...A new recipe...

Recently I have gone through several woks. My first was a Tefal which served me well through uni, then when I really got into Wok cooking I visited my local Chinese supermarket and got myself a carbon steel wok that required seasoning. I then went for a large Wok with a lid, although its a great size I found it to hard to keep hot on my hob. 

So finally I went back to the carbon steel variety but this time I went for one of Ching He Huang's. I got it at the bargain price of £7.50 at Sainsburys and it really is perfect. Its big enough for what I need, Heats evenly and is easy to clean.

To christen it I decided to try a recipe I haven't made before. 

Minced beef and green pepper stir fry.
For this recipe you will need (serves 4-6):

500g Minced Beef
2 green peppers
3 carrots
a big handful of cherry tomatoes
a thumb sized piece of ginger, grated finely
3 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
one green chilli, deseeded (leave them in if you like the heat)
a teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional, if you like the heat)
2-3 spring onions (to garnish)

For the sauce:

150ml of cold water
3 tablespoons of shaohsing rice wine (or dry sherry)
3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
3 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
3 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
3 teaspoons of chilli oil
3 tablespoons of cornflour

Start by preparing all of the vegetables, chop the cherry tomatoes in half, the peppers into strips and the carrots on an angle (about half a cm thick.

To make the sauce simple combine all of the ingredients in a jug, it is really important that the water is cold, warm water will cause the cornflour to clump and it will ruin the meal.

Place the Wok on the hob and allow it to heat until it begins to smoke. Add one tablespoon of groundnut oil and give it a swirl to cover the edges.

Throw in the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir it for a few seconds before adding the beef.

Stir fry the mince for a few minutes, breaking it up into small pieces.

Once the meat has browned add the carrots. Stir fry these with the meat for 2-3 minutes. The Chinese like their vegetables to have bite to them and it really does add texture to the dish.

Next add the peppers and tomatoes and stir for a minute or so before adding the sauce. The cornflour in the sauce will cause it to thicken when it hits the hot wok, making a thick glossy gravy.

Allow it to cook together for a few minutes (Or until the veg is to your liking) before serving.

To serve simple pop it in a serving dish and garnish with chopped spring onion. 

I served this with plain jasmine rice but you could add egg noodles to this dish if you like.

If you like this recipe why not also look at this one for Kung Po chicken.

wok on...

...in the kitchen!
dad was away with work the other day and as usual mum and i were trying to decide on something to have for dinner.
lucky for us Ching was on hand (in book form) to guide the way to a delicious meal!

we decided to go for a chicken and cashew nut chow mein and let me tell you...it was YUM!

for the chicken
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp cornflour
pinch sea salt
500g skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced
300ml groundnut oil

for the stir fry
1 onion, sliced
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
1 red pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
1 carrot, peeled and cut into stripes
3 tbsp chicken stock
2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 large spring onions, sliced
4 tbsp roasted cashew nuts
sea salt and ground white pepper
ready cooked egg noodles

start by mixing the egg, cornflour and salt in a bowl until combined. at this stage my experimentation head took over and i decided to mix in a small amount of Chinese 5 spice. this is completely optional but i found it gave the chicken a bit of warmth!

pour this over the chicken and make sure to get every little bit of the chicken covered.

"Wok on, oil in" as Ching would say. for this recipe i went for my trusted non stick wok because it has a flat bottom and is steadier than my new one.

allow the oil to heat to a high heat, a great test for this is to throw in a small chunk of bread, if it just sits there the oil is not hot enough, if it sends the oil into a bubbling frenzy...its ready!

next gently place the chicken into the oil, make sure to place it in away from yourself as you will find it will start to spit hot oil everywhere. i did the chicken in 3 batches as my non stick wok is quite small and i didn't want a mass blob of chicken.

once the chicken is golden remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel to get rid of any excess oil.


drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok and place back on the heat. throw in the garlic, ginger and chilli and give it a quick stir. quickly throw in the onion for a minute or so then add the peppers and carrot and stir fry until they have softened slightly. throw the chicken back in the wok and stir fry for a few minutes.

next add the chicken stock and the soy sauce, allow it to simmer for a few minutes.

at this point add the noddles, cashew nuts and a hand full of spring onion. stir fry for a few more minutes to allow the noddles to loosen up. season to taste and serve!