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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lodge cast iron wok

This is the Lodge cast iron wok. It's used for stir frying, fried rice, and other varieties of Asian food.

It replaced the earlier Lodge stir fry skillet.

There are cheaper cast iron woks available, but with Lodge, you know you're getting a good quality wok. I don't regret for a second, choosing this one.

I love Chinese food, and wanted to learn how to cook it. So I looked online for three specific recipes: Chop Suey, Chow Mein, and Lo Mein. I quickly realized that those three recipes are exactly the same, the difference being what they are served with. And, since I already knew how to make a stir fry, I was already 90 percent there.

Chop Suey is served with rice; Chow Mein is served with crunchy noodles; Lo Mein is served with soft noodles. Other than that, the recipe is exactly the same.

Use any meat you want. I used crawfish tails, because that's what I had in my freezer.

You can also pick your veggies. I used shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, minced garlic, peanuts.

Chop Suey is loosely translated as "mixed pieces"; Legend has it that a chinese restaurant decided to chop up their leftover meat and veggies, pour sauce over it, and serve it with rice.

Then make the sauce: Mix corn starch in with soy sauce, add ginger (fresh if you have it, dried if you don't), onion powder, garlic powder, and sugar. You could also use "oyster sauce" or "stir fry sauce," available in the Asian food section.

Then have your spices ready. I use 5 spice powder, ginger, onion powder, garlic powder.

Heat up olive oil in the wok, add your meat and stir fry, then add your veggies one by one while continuing to stir fry. Add your sauce, then your spices.

Serve with either rice, crunchy noodles, or soft noodles.

I've made fried rice twice; Once in a rice cooker, and once in this wok. It definitely turned out better in the wok!

Have all your ingredients chopped and ready before you start to fry.

Cook the rice ahead of time, in chicken broth. Use whatever meat you want, or none; Chicken or pork should be pre-cooked.

FROZEN peas and carrots (heat up ahead of time)*, green onions, celery, onions, minced garlic.

*I've had fried rice before, with canned peas and carrots. Frozen is just as easy, and much better!

A couple of eggs, soy sauce or stir fry sauce, and the same spices as for chop suey.

Heat up olive oil, add your meat, then your chopped veggies one at a time. After all the veggies are cooked down, add your rice, mix it all together, then break a couple of eggs in it, keep mixing. Add your sauce and your spices.

Curry is made in a very similar way.

You start with the rice pre-cooked in chicken broth, onions, minced garlic, peas, peanuts, eggs, curry powder or paste, and turmeric. Meat is optional; Chicken or pork should be pre-cooked.

Heat olive oil in the pan, add the meat, then the onions and minced garlic, cook down, add the peas and peanuts, then the rice, then break the eggs in it and mix, then the spices.

If you have any other leftover veggies in your fridge, there's no reason you can't add it to your fried rice or curry. Chinese food is a wonderful way to use leftovers.

I just learned that, while you don't normally use a lid on a wok, the Lodge 14 inch camp oven lid fits this wok perfectly, if you would like a lid.

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