stir fry

The other night we joined @feedmybeast and family for dinner at Lucky Dragon and I got pushed over the edge.  I've wanted to try high temp wok cooking for a while but was a little intimidated by cooking at such high temps.  Those woks fired by high pressure propane cookers look pretty intense, I figured I might just incinerate dinner.

Forging ahead with my recent experience of briquette-fueled searing, I went to Crestview Market and got my cheap steel wok, steel spatula (perfectly contoured to the wok) and got to work.  I washed it and baked it in the oven for a few hours.  Far from seasoned, I had to start somewhere.  I decided on veggie and pork fried rice.  Simple seasoning: pork marinated in soy, sesame oil, Sriracha, ginger and garlic, veggies chopped, a couple eggs and cold cooked basmati rice all ready for sequential frying - in that order. To the outdoors!

Fuel: a 3.3 lb bag of Matchlight.  And to all the Matchlight haters, if this stuff is fully ignited, there's no residual fuel.  At greater than 1,000°F while glowing, if you think you're tasting lighter fluid,  you're wrong.  After this was lit,  I placed my wok holder (came with the oven) and wok atop the fire and let it warm up with the Matchlight (see action shots).

And that's it.  My pan went from an initial 800°F (using an IR thermometer) when I dumped the pork and marinade in for about a minute, removed it and then waited until the pan recovered to about 500°F before the next ingredients went in.  One veggie after another until the rice.   My only disappointment is the recovery from food being dumped out to 500°F took too long.  Next time, I'll use briquettes to start the fire and then short pieces of oak/ash to maintain a live fire the entire cook, this should make the recovery a little faster.

 Ignition and preheating.

 Each vegetable that went in got a tiny squirt of canola oil and then stir fried.  Then it was dumped into a waiting bowl.

 The final dish.  I may have added too much oil during the sequential additions and I think I fried the rice a little too long, but next time ...


mac said...

Very nice, I love cooking in the wok outside. I have used charcoal, but I mostly use a propane ring, I have the same wok from Crestview Market, it has no heat retention. In addition oil I use a squirt bottle of water to calm things and deglaze. Seriously though, the food has different taste and texture when cooked at high temp.


Dave said...

Thanks, I should've known you'd be into this! The propane ring sounds great, but I hesitate to get more equipment to clutter the deck. So, given the experience with the Firedome, I'm looking forward to a full fire to continue. The water in a squirt bottle sounds like a good idea. I would use a splash of soy sauce once in a while. But too much could overseason the food.

I'm also looking forward to adding a chapati in the bottom with some oil and watching it puff to a puri!

Anonymous said...

Did you like lucky dragon? I want to like it because it is so close to me but both times have been mediocre at best.


Dave said...

Hi Stacy,

I've only been once and really liked it, but @Feedmybeast knows her way around the menu quite well. The peashoots were pretty awesome.