I bought a wok. Since my apartment did not come with a stove and as theoretically we are not supposed to have gas burners, my only options was this glorified hot plate thing. I have no idea if there is another name for these things. The only reference I have is a hot plate. But I associate hot plates as being capable of only heating up soup and making mac ‘n cheese. People who live in Motel 6 have hot plates. These hot plates are of a higher order; they are multi-function hot plates.
Back to the wok. It came with my hot plate and another standard saucepan sort-of-thing. I was enthusiastic about being a wok owner. I set up my hot plate and looked at it for a few days. We were getting used to one another. Since the manual is all in Chinese and so are all the buttons I was a little hesitant to have a go at it.
My first endeavor was modest: pasta with garlic and onions. After cooking the pasta I thought I’d grill my onion and garlic in the wok and then toss them with the pasta. Errr. Not a success. As I scrubbed encrusted pasta off my wok I pondered what had gone wrong. Did I need more oil? Sometime the next day I remembered the cast-iron pans at my brother’s house—heavy pans with years of intentional crustiness. The internet confirmed my suspicions and the next day I “seasoned” my wok by coating it with oil and cooking it a number of times. My next attempt was much tastier and easier to clean up.
One thing I really want to learn how to cook Chinese-style is vegetables. I think stir-fried veggies are just delicious; I could handle being a vegetarian if I knew how to cook veggies like that. So now that my wok is ready to go, that’s the first thing I want to work on. Wok on!