Welcome to the “What’s cooking in my cast iron wok?” series.
This is a series of recipes I make in my wok. I am still new to this, so I will share the good and the bad.
Hopefully, I will have more good than bad and can give you ideas on dishes to make.
I will also share tips I learn along the way.
Are you new to cast iron wok cooking too? Or do you have tips and recipes you can share in the comment section below?
Cooking in a wok is mainly healthy because you use lots of vegetables and a small amount of oil.
Wok dishes often include rice or noodles and meat as well.
So, let’s get started.
What’s Cooking in My Cast Iron Wok?
Today I am making Vegetable Stir Fry in my cast iron wok, a traditional wok dish. Although this meal also has meat, beans, and tofu, the primary ingredient is vegetables. Vegetables are healthy, and by combining several different kinds each time you make this dish, you get new flavors. Additionally, the flavor changes depending on the sauces, meat, or beans you choose.
Getting Your Wok Ready
Getting your wok ready is a tip I learned from Tak’s YouTube channel, Wok With Tak.
It’s seasoning your wok right before you cook, and it’s pretty simple. Tak calls his method spot seasoning.
Other methods involve seasoning the entire wok, which seems unnecessary since you are mainly frying on the bottom. So only the base needs consistent seasoning and nonstick properties as you cook.
To get started, add 2-3 Tbsp. of oil to the bottom of the wok, and turn your burner on high.
When it starts to smoke (usually 2-3 minutes), immediately reduce the heat to low for 15-30 seconds.
You are now ready to add your first ingredients.
Watch the video below for a more detailed explanation of why his method works.
Spot Seasoning: Seasoning Your Wok in 5 Minutes
Preparing Your Vegetables in Advance
You will be much more likely to make stir fry if you already have vegetables cut up ahead of time. Preparing your vegetables in advance has two primary purposes: to save you time overall and give you variety.
Additionally, you will eat more vegetables because you won’t want the work you did and pre-cut vegetables to go to waste.
I spent an hour on Sunday afternoon cutting up carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower. It’s a start, but I could do even more for a better variety in the future.
Template Cooking for Vegetable Stir Fry
Another thing Tak teaches is template cooking. This method means you can make many dishes using the same pattern.
Tak doesn’t always include the amount of each ingredient, though, preferring to teach others to judge for themselves according to what they like.
For vegetable stir fry, the template includes:
- cooking oil
- 6 kinds of vegetables
- 1 type of meat
- 2 types of tofu (optional)
- 1 kind of beans
- 2-3 sauces
- cooking oil
- Chinese sausage
- Fermented Soy Beans
- Brussel sprouts
- Purple Cabbage
- Cherry tomatoes
- Regular fried tofu
- Fermented fried tofu
- 2 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
- 1 tsp. Fried Chili in Oil sauce
- Get your wok ready by adding 2-3 Tbsp. of oil to the bottom of the wok and heating it quickly
- Turn the heat down once it starts to smoke and wait 15-20 seconds
- Add your first two ingredients: Chinese sausage and the fermented soybeans, stir and fry for about 1 minute
- Next, add the Brussel sprouts and cauliflower, stir and fry, approximately 1 minute
- Add the zucchini, carrots, and purple cabbage, continue stirring
- Then put in the two kinds of tofu, keep stirring and add more oil if needed
- Squirt water from a bottle several times (if you have one) to help steam the vegetables
- Finally, add the cherry tomatoes, stir
- Finish by adding the three kinds of sauces, stir
Note: You can buy some of the above ingredients at your local Asian grocery store if you have one.
Tip: Squirt bottles for your oil and one for water makes all the difference, in my opinion.
Another note: Should you prefer ordering the oyster and Hoison sauces on Amazon, they offer a package that’s a bit less expensive than buying separately.
Vegetable Stir Fry Dish
The Way I Made It
Using the template for vegetable stir fry, here is how I made mine.
I used summer sausage in place of Chinese sausage and canned pinto beans instead of fermented black soybeans.
My vegetables were cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, celery, and mini peppers.
I didn’t put in any tofu.
And all I had was soy sauce, so that’s what I used.
I followed the directions above pretty closely, except for adding my beans at the end since they were already soft.
Hopefully, I will remember to get a few more sauces so we can have different flavors.
Altogether, this dish made about 4 cups cooked, which came out to 2-3 servings (two for us).
I thought it tasted fantastic. And the only thing I added was pepper.
However, my husband added rice, salt, pepper, and more soy sauce to his. Plus, he ate some cornbread leftover from the other day.
As you can see, Vegetable Stir Fry in a cast iron wok can be a meal you make over and over. And each time, it can be a little different.
Today was the first time I made it, and I was pleased with the results.
First, I preheated the wok, then I made the stir fry.
However, I had already cut up most of my vegetables in advance to make it quicker and easier. So, instead of an hour, it took less than 30 minutes to make.
And I still have more cut-up vegetables for the rest of the week.
Furthermore, I can use different vegetables, meat, beans, and sauces to make it seem like a completely different meal next time.
Template cooking is a win-win. And so is preparing your ingredients ahead of time.
If you would like to see what else is cooking in my cast iron wok, check out the following: