How Do I Use My Wok? Making Schezwan Stir Fry

Categories: Ask the Chef

Yesterday we explained how to prepare and maintain a carbon steel wok. Today, forget the take out menu, and try these recipes for basic Chinese marinade and a simple Schezwan stir-fry.
Basic Chinese Marinade
1/8 cup light Soy
1/8 cup dark Soy
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry sherry
pinch of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Whisk to combine all ingredients in a measuring cup
If you are making a "white" dish, use only light soy.
Slice chicken, pork or beef on the diagonal, be sure to slice against the grain
It is best to cut protein into mouth size pieces
Place protein in a bowl, massage the protein with the prepared marinade
Marinate for 20 minutes

Chinese Marinade
Carol Blonder
Chinese Marinade
Schezwan Stir Fry 1 lb shrimp, beef, pork or chicken-sliced 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces 1/2 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced 1/2 can bamboo shoots, drained handful of tiger lily flowers, peeled and soaked in warm water handful of dried wood ear mushrooms (aka black fungus), rehydrated in warm water optional-2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Sauce for Stir Fry
3 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tablespoons white wine or dry sherry
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice-1/2 inch thick fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon dark soy

Hot Chile Oil or Chile Garlic Paste to taste
drizzle of Sesame Oil

Seasoning for wok
4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided in two parts
4 -1/4 inch slices fresh ginger, peeled and smashed, divided in two parts
2 large cloves garlic, sliced, divided in two parts
2 stalks scallion, thinly sliced, divided in two parts

Stir Fry Prep
Carol Blonder
Stir Fry Prep

Marinate the protein for 20 minutes. If using shrimp, omit the dark soy in the marinade.
Place a seasoned wok on the burner on high heat.
Test for readiness by dropping a few drops of water in the wok, a fast sizzle and evaporation means wok is ready
Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil.
Season oil with garlic, ginger and sliced scallions.

Thumbnail image for Seasoning Wok
Carol Blonder
Seasoning

Stir fry seasonings, remove from wok.
Add red and green peppers, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, tiger lilly, and wood ears to the hot oil. Season with a dash of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Quickly stir fry vegetables, using the entire surface area of the wok, including the sides.
Stir Fry Add Vegetables
Carol Blonder
Add Vegetables

Once the vegetables are crisp tender, remove from the wok to a plate.
Repeat preparing the wok by adding remaining oil (you may not need all of the 2 tablespoons), garlic, ginger and scallions. Quickly stir fry and remove seasonings.
Add 1/2 of the protein to the wok, stir fry until seared on the outside. Remove to plate with vegetables and repeat for the remaining portion.
Chicken for Stir Fry
Carol Blonder
Add Chicken

Notes:
Shrimp will cook very quickly, remove when the shrimp changes from translucent to opaque, and turns pink.
Cook protein 1/2 at a time to avoid braising.

Add sauce to wok, stir and allow to thicken and reduce slightly.
For a thicker sauce, mix 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a paste, and use as a thickening agent.
Add hot chile garlic paste or chile oil to taste.
Return vegetables and protein to wok, stir fry until protein is completely cooked and heated throughly.

Stir Fry Add Vegetables
Carol Blonder
Schezwan Chicken

Top with a drizzle of sesame oil.
Serve immediately with brown or white rice.
Schezwan Chicken
Carol Blonder
Schezwan Chicken and Brown Rice


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