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hzrt8w's wok and burner shopping project

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176 replies to this topic

#91 Dejah

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 07:34 AM

I LOVE that cleaver.  And the chopping block.  I'm going to have to convince my husband that I need (yet another) chopping block,
I digress again.  I also love that colander.  It looks big enough to lift an entire fish.  Ah Leung, have you decided which dish you are going to cook first to christen the new wok?

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I bought a large round chopping block made up of little pieces of bamboo bound by a metal ring. Made the mistake of setting it up on its edge, and the pieces were starting to edge out! I've got it lying flat now but haven't really used it. I just thought it was unique. Anyone else have this and is using it?

What to cook in his new wok?

From what you said above "that colander. It looks big enough to lift an entire fish., the first dish should be Squirrel Fish! :laugh:
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#92 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 07:50 AM

What to cook in his new wok? 

From what you said above "that colander.  It looks big enough to lift an entire fish., the first dish should be Squirrel Fish! :laugh:

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I didn't want to be so presumptuous as to suggest that, but since you did…
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#93 _john

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 08:18 AM

at this point, I am leaning towards using animal fat and the oven-bake method.  I hope to get an even tan on the wok from it.  I plan to buy some pork fat to prepare the lard.  Or does anybody think the commerically available lard in cans is sufficient to do the job?

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I have used bacon fat in the past. I think making your own lard would be fun and maybe have more flavor. The lard you can buy in the store is refined and has almost no flavor. I think there is a wok seasoning recipe in the breath of the wok cookbook. Pork fat and chinese chives. Make sure to burn off any oil or coating used to protect the wok really well before beginning.

#94 jo-mel

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 08:21 AM

Please, please PLEASE make Squirrel Fish ---- and invite ME!

That is probably my favorite fish dish of all! One time I demonstrated, in my cooking class, how the whole fish could be deep/fried in a regular wok, and completely submerged in the oil. I forgot where I learned the technique, but the fish is simply cut in half across the middle, with a slanting cut "\". When the fish is put on the platter, the two halves simply fit together, and the sauce conceals the sneaky deed.

#95 Transparent

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 08:38 AM

Please, please PLEASE make Squirrel Fish ---- and invite ME!

That is probably my favorite fish dish of all!  One time I demonstrated, in my cooking class, how the whole fish could be deep/fried in a regular wok, and completely submerged in the oil. I forgot where I learned the technique, but the fish is simply cut in half across the middle, with a slanting cut "\". When the fish is put on the platter, the two halves simply fit together, and the sauce conceals the sneaky deed.

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Haha, that sounds really cool. I haven't seen it done before. Sneaky indeed!

#96 trillium

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 12:50 PM

My new "bone chopper" cleaver sitting on my chopping block.  I reserve it for chopping chicken (mostly) and other meats/bones only and will not use it for day to day chopping.

<snippity>

I love this bone chopper.  I tried it out last night chopping a soya sauce chicken (also bought in San Francisco) and it worked out great!  When I buy Cantonese BBQ items, if I don't eat them right away it's best to store them whole in the refrigerator (BBQ pork, chicken, duck, etc.).

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Hey, I thought you were only allowed to cook with white meat from chickens.... has the ban been rescinded??? Will we see Chinese-style bone-in dishes with dark meat soon?

Congrats on the new chopper!

regards,
trillium

#97 trillium

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 12:53 PM

Please, please PLEASE make Squirrel Fish ---- and invite ME!

That is probably my favorite fish dish of all!  One time I demonstrated, in my cooking class, how the whole fish could be deep/fried in a regular wok, and completely submerged in the oil. I forgot where I learned the technique, but the fish is simply cut in half across the middle, with a slanting cut "\". When the fish is put on the platter, the two halves simply fit together, and the sauce conceals the sneaky deed.

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I wouldn't be allowed to do that! Cutting a whole fish in half is a big no-no at our house, bad luck and all that. Hmmm, if Ah Leung can convince his spouse to eat dark poultry meat, could I convince mine that cutting a whole fish in half to cook is ok?

regards,
trillium

#98 jo-mel

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 06:30 PM

I wouldn't be allowed to do that!  Cutting a whole fish in half is a big no-no at our house, bad luck and all that.  Hmmm, if Ah Leung can convince his spouse to eat dark poultry meat, could I convince mine that cutting a whole fish in half to cook is ok?

regards,
trillium

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Is that because of the fish/wealth symbolism, a disected fish would mean that abundance would be cut in half?

Actually -- I was envisioning the beautiful Squirrel fish (松鼠魚 -song shu yu) on a platter with the head at one end and the perky tail at the other ------ but Squirrel fish really isn't the whole fish at all! If it is the one I am thinking of, then it is boned and the head is usually separated and cooked along side the intact unskinned fillets attched to the tail. That fits into a wok just fine.

It is a whole unboned fish that is -- er -- 'fixed' to fit into the frying oil that I was describing.

#99 hzrt8w

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 07:06 PM

Hey, I thought you were only allowed to cook with white meat from chickens.... has the ban been rescinded???  Will we see Chinese-style bone-in dishes with dark meat soon?

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Wow... you remember, trillium! I feel flattered! :biggrin:

No my better half has not changed. She still eats white meat only and, let's just say "influences" me to do the same. :laugh: I still cook mostly with chicken breasts. But every now and then I just quietly throw in a couple of chopped legs or a small thigh (with bones, skin and all) in the skillet. :laugh: I need to make some of the dishes with dark meat all by myself at lunch (and destroy all evidence afterwards). So, let's keep it between us... :laugh: :laugh:

I bought the bone chopper to cut whole chickens. Sometimes we buy it from Cantonese BBQ stores, and sometimes I bake my own. In those cases, she consumes all the breast meat and I have the wings and thighs/legs.

Edited by hzrt8w, 20 April 2006 - 07:06 PM.

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#100 hzrt8w

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 01:07 AM

Actually -- I was envisioning the beautiful Squirrel fish (松鼠魚  -song shu yu) on a platter with the head at one end and the perky tail at the other ------ but Squirrel fish really isn't the whole fish at all! If it is the one I am thinking of, then it is boned and the head is usually separated and cooked along side the intact unskinned fillets attched to the tail. That fits into a wok just fine. 

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I don't know why they call it Squirrel fish (松鼠魚 in Chinese). They do sprinkle pine nuts on top. But does it resemble a squirrel?

This dish is really challenging. You need to criss-cross the fish without severing the pieces, deep-fry, and in the end try to resemble it back to a fish shape.

Edited by hzrt8w, 21 April 2006 - 01:07 AM.

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#101 CFT

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 06:29 AM

In those cases, she consumes all the breast meat and I have the wings and thighs/legs.

Do you think preference for dark meat is a Chinese thing? I prefer thighs, wings and legs, probably in that order. I just can't figure out why the British (I live in the UK) think that breast is best - although it certainly has its place in sitr-fry dishes. I just think that the other bits have more flavour and nicer texture.
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#102 jo-mel

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 08:31 AM

Actually -- I was envisioning the beautiful Squirrel fish (松鼠魚  -song shu yu) on a platter with the head at one end and the perky tail at the other ------ but Squirrel fish really isn't the whole fish at all! If it is the one I am thinking of, then it is boned and the head is usually separated and cooked along side the intact unskinned fillets attched to the tail. That fits into a wok just fine. 

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I don't know why they call it Squirrel fish (松鼠魚 in Chinese). They do sprinkle pine nuts on top. But does it resemble a squirrel?

This dish is really challenging. You need to criss-cross the fish without severing the pieces, deep-fry, and in the end try to resemble it back to a fish shape.

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When the hot fat hits the skin of the fish, the skin contracts -- pulling the flesh into a curl. With the fillets, held together by the tail, it is easy to place on the platter, and the scored, exposed, curled fillets look like a fluffy squirrel tail. Use your imagination! With names like Gold Coin Chicken and Dragon and Phoenix Fighting, Pork with Jingling Bells ---this one should be easy! LOL!

Separate filets with the skin attached, scored and fried in the same way, then placed on a platter without the tail and head, have been called a couple of things that have appeared on menus, in this area, as Lichee Fish or Grape fish.

I have several sized colanders. One is about 8 - 9 inches and is very useful when I want to scoop everything out of the wok all at once. Especially when velveting, and I want to get slices out before they are overcooked.

#103 hzrt8w

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 08:53 AM

Do you think preference for dark meat is a Chinese thing? I prefer thighs, wings and legs, probably in that order. I just can't figure out why the British (I live in the UK) think that breast is best - although it certainly has its place in sitr-fry dishes.

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This seems a cultural thing. My wife is a Chinese too, but she grew up in the USA. She is not used to eating chicken with bones like I am. So she prefers white meat. And, of course, she found all kinds of diet theories recently to encourage eating white meat only to justify the preference. :raz:
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#104 CaliPoutine

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 09:53 AM

Do you think preference for dark meat is a Chinese thing? I prefer thighs, wings and legs, probably in that order. I just can't figure out why the British (I live in the UK) think that breast is best - although it certainly has its place in sitr-fry dishes.

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This seems a cultural thing. My wife is a Chinese too, but she grew up in the USA. She is not used to eating chicken with bones like I am. So she prefers white meat. And, of course, she found all kinds of diet theories recently to encourage eating white meat only to justify the preference. :raz:

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I happen to agree with your wife. My spouse thinks otherwise so its great when we get a rotissiere chicken. I eat the breasts and she eats the rest.

#105 wonderbread

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 03:02 PM

I am in the process of redesigning my kitchen - does anyone have advice on gas versus electric stoves?

I have a relatively inexpensive electric range right now, and I find it gets much hotter than the gas cooktop that my mom has. Her gastop is pretty new - just a few years old.

I am thinking of either getting an electric stove with a glass top or a gas stove.

If you like gas, how much BTU do you find you need to stir fry on the burners to get the wok hei?

#106 prasantrin

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 03:11 PM

Do you think preference for dark meat is a Chinese thing? I prefer thighs, wings and legs, probably in that order. I just can't figure out why the British (I live in the UK) think that breast is best - although it certainly has its place in sitr-fry dishes. I just think that the other bits have more flavour and nicer texture.

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It's not a just a Chinese thing. Most Asians (born and raised in Asia) prefer dark meat, as do many other people of the world (in Morocco, for example, I had a lot more dark meat than white meat, but since I only spent three months there, I can't say if that was their preference in general).

I think most Canadians/Americans/certain Europeans have been brainwashed by the "white meat is better for you" craze of the 80's. Many Asians are still concerned with flavour first, so it's dark meat for them.

#107 infernooo

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 04:59 PM

I am in the process of redesigning my kitchen - does anyone have advice on gas versus electric stoves?

I have a relatively inexpensive electric range right now, and I find it gets much hotter than the gas cooktop that my mom has. Her gastop is pretty new - just a few years old.

I am thinking of either getting an electric stove with a glass top or a gas stove.

If you like gas, how much BTU do you find you need to stir fry on the burners to get the wok hei?

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Hi there,

In my experience, electric stoves are hopeless for getting that high heat required for a good wok sear, especially when the wok maybe a bit too overcrowded. Also, don't forget that with an electric stove, you must use a flat bottomed wok, and you won't have flames wrapping around the side of it. This means that the bottom will be the hottest part by far, and you can't swirl/toss the meat and ingredients on the side and get nice searing on all parts of the wok.

I understand that electric and induction cooktops can get VERY hot very quickly, but I just personally feel they are a bit limited as to what they are capable of. I much prefer being able to see how large and blue the flames are to gauge temperature and output abilities.

Just a few thoughts, hope that helps!

#108 hzrt8w

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 05:04 PM

[...]
I much prefer being able to see how large and blue the flames are to gauge temperature and output abilities.

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Bear in mind that this statement is made by someone named "infernooo"! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#109 jo-mel

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 05:42 PM

[...]
I much prefer being able to see how large and blue the flames are to gauge temperature and output abilities.

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Bear in mind that this statement is made by someone named "infernooo"! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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LOLOLOL!

You are sharp, xiao leung! I never made the connection!

#110 infernooo

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 05:50 PM

[...]
I much prefer being able to see how large and blue the flames are to gauge temperature and output abilities.

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Bear in mind that this statement is made by someone named "infernooo"! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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LOLOLOL!

You are sharp, xiao leung! I never made the connection!

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Haha nice! well said :)

#111 andiesenji

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 06:33 PM

I have a question about wok cooking in China. A friend spent 2 years in Xi'an working on a catalog of antiquities that was going to be on tour loan to museums outside of China. His "keeper" took him on several field trips to rural areas and he wrote descriptions of various places. (He wasn't allowed to take a camera.)
He described a sort of round charcoal stove, made of bricks, with what sounded like a type of bellows to force air through the coals and he said the wok got so hot it nearly glowed and it took only seconds to cook their meal.
My question is, does anyone outside of China use this kind of stove? I would like to find out how much heat it can produce.
I also wondered if stoves like this are used in other parts of China.
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#112 hzrt8w

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 08:51 PM

[...]
He described a sort of round charcoal stove, made of bricks, with what sounded like a type of bellows to force air through the coals and he said the wok got so hot it nearly glowed and it took only seconds to cook their meal. 
My question is, does anyone outside of China use this kind of stove?
[...]
I also wondered if stoves like this are used in other parts of China.

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I had been back to my father's home village near GuangZhou and had seen something similar to your friend's description, but without the air bellow. Most stoves in the rural areas of China are made of bricks with a round hole at the top to hold the wok. It makes sense. If air is pumped through to blow on the burning wood/coal, the heat will be stronger.

In modern days, kerosene stoves are more common. Kerosene is much more available than propane is in that part of the world. Many street food vendors use the kind of kerosene stoves that has a compressor. I never quite understand the physics of the design but the compressor can boost the heat output of a stove significantly. I was hoping to find these kinds of stoves in the USA (they are quite common in Hong Kong) but to date have not seen one. In my next trip to Hong Kong I want to make a point to look for it. :smile:
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#113 trillium

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 04:05 PM


I wouldn't be allowed to do that!  Cutting a whole fish in half is a big no-no at our house, bad luck and all that.  Hmmm, if Ah Leung can convince his spouse to eat dark poultry meat, could I convince mine that cutting a whole fish in half to cook is ok?

regards,
trillium

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Is that because of the fish/wealth symbolism, a disected fish would mean that abundance would be cut in half?

Actually -- I was envisioning the beautiful Squirrel fish (松鼠魚 -song shu yu) on a platter with the head at one end and the perky tail at the other ------ but Squirrel fish really isn't the whole fish at all! If it is the one I am thinking of, then it is boned and the head is usually separated and cooked along side the intact unskinned fillets attched to the tail. That fits into a wok just fine.

It is a whole unboned fish that is -- er -- 'fixed' to fit into the frying oil that I was describing.

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Oh, I didn't mean squirrel fish, I meant any fish you eat whole and unboned, like steamed or deep fried. And yes, as far as I can interrogate a reason out of him, it has to do with breaking or cutting off abundance. It would be a lot easier to just whack a fish in half so everything fits!

regards,
trillium

#114 Sencha

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 06:32 PM

Concerning the dark meat vs. white meat issue,
at least for those of us who prefer dark meat, dark meat can be much cheaper (affordable). I say, let those who prefer white meat pay the extra cost, while we dark meat lovers can get a good deal and pay less for the better product! :cool:

#115 jasie

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 02:01 PM

Is the wok suposed to smoke alot when you first season it over the stove top? I just bought a 14inch carbon steel wok from the wokshop, and tried doing it over the stove top over high heat. There was like tons of smoke... and wondering if I did it right. (Can you tell I've never seasoned a wok before?) All the woks I've used back home in Singapore were already way seasoned before I was born!

#116 Chris Amirault

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 02:06 PM

Jasie, did you wash off the oil coating before you started to season it? If not, that stuff would burn and create some pretty thick, acrid smoke!
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#117 jasie

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 02:26 PM

Jasie, did you wash off the oil coating before you started to season it? If not, that stuff would burn and create some pretty thick, acrid smoke!

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I did! I washed it twice with hot, soapy water and then dried it with a paper towel. That's why i found it strange that it was smoking!

#118 Ben Hong

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 03:18 PM

Some manufacturers coat the woks with a hard waxy coating out of the factory and mere washiong with a cloth and soap won't touch it. Two ways of dealing with it, a)use a steel wool scrubbing pad and lots and lots of elbow grease to remove the stuff, b) burn it off outdoors over a hot flame. If you have a big exhaust system inside, no problem.

Edited by Ben Hong, 26 April 2006 - 03:19 PM.


#119 hzrt8w

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 05:23 PM

[...]
I digress again.  I also love that colander.  It looks big enough to lift an entire fish. 

Ah Leung, have you decided which dish you are going to cook first to christen the new wok?

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I seasoned my wok last night! I used a hybrid method. It has some nice tan now, ready to be of service! :smile: I will have more of that story (and pictures) later.

As what should be the first dish to cook on my new wok...

I really like "fish". Because in Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin), fish (sounds "Yu" in Cantonese) has the same sound as the word that means "having extra" (money typically). It brings good luck. That's why in most Chinese banquets we got to have a fish dish.

I don't have the mastery to handle a Squirrel Fish that jo-mel suggested at this point. But I really want to cook a whole fish on the new wok to:
1) Test out the wok versus pan (skillet) cooking
2) Continue to season my wok through frying/deep-frying while cooking
3) Have a first dish that would bring me good luck, symbolically at the very least. :wink:

I will fry a whole flounder. The last time I tried to fry a flounder on my skillet, the result was dismal. When I flipped the fish to fry the top side, all fish meat fell apart. I am hoping with a wok: 1) I can tilt the wok at different angle to get an even frying on the fish. 2) I don't need to flip the fish. I just ladle the hot oil and pour on top repeatedly to cook the top side. We will see how it turns out...

Edited by hzrt8w, 27 April 2006 - 10:24 AM.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#120 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 06:26 AM

So what time should we come over for dinner? :biggrin:
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