Tag Archives: Grace Young

Stir-Fried Chili Scallops with Baby Bok Choy

Recipe was from: “Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge”; copyright 2010 Simon & Schuster; by Grace Young; p. 154-155.

After choosing my new wok at The Wok Shop, I found the most adorable baby bok choy in a tiny market in SF Chinatown, so selection of this recipe was ingredient driven.  See Grace Young’s cookbook above, for the recipe (buy the book!)

The final result was like going to a terrific Chinese restaurant. The ingredients were perfectly cooked and not a bit overdone. The sauce had a lovely shiny glow:

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I learned some basic wok skills while preparing this meal:

1. Get all the ingredients assembled before starting.  Wok-ing is fast!

2. A basic starting routine is to heat the wok, add oil, then aromatics garlic and ginger.

3. Push aside aromatics, then sear protein undisturbed in an even layer for half its cooking time; stir-fry until done, then remove protein to a platter.

4. Stir-fry veggies in oil, then add the protein back in, cover with the sauce, and stir until finished.

I goofed when cooking, because I could not read the entire recipe and simultaneously keep up with the cooking. When the protein was half-cooked I added the veggies and sauce all at the same time and I never moved the protein to a platter.  Oops!  It did not seem to affect the taste any. Everything tasted perfectly prepared. I used prawns instead of scallops.

Next time I plan to reduce the high-sodium ingredients in the sauce because the taste was much too salty for my taste buds.  Typically I cook without added sodium.  I calculated that this meal had almost 2,600 mg sodium and I already had omitted the added salt and used low-sodium broth instead of regular broth.  The above sodium count does not include sodium that may be in the brown rice.

I have been mulling exactly how to reduce the sauce ingredients and still capture authentic Chinese flavor. It must be possible because Chinese restaurant food is less salty than this dish using the recipe as written.  I am not certain how to do it, though.  I plan to research recipes in my 1979 cookbook, “The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook”, by Gloria Bley Miller and see if I can figure that out. I remember thinking that book was very expensive, though in 1979, it was $14.95 for 926 pages.

Tonight I am cooking the same recipe with scallops instead of the prawns I used the first time, and I will alter the sauce to reduce the saltiness, then edit this post to report my experiment.  The easy answer could be to cut salty sauce ingredients in half, but I may try to compensate in some way.

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Seasoning my new WOK

I was a little intimidated to season my carbon steel wok, but Tane at The Wok Shop had assured us that woks can almost always be resurrected, despite mistreatment, so I went forward.

The method I used is shown in the video, “Walking You Through Seasoning a WOK”,  by Tane of The Wok Shop:

Step 1 is to scrub the wok using dish detergent, then dry over heat.  I thought I was thorough, but when I applied oil in the next step, I noticed a grey-black carbon that accumulated on the paper towel when I spread the peanut oil  That made me wonder if I had scrubbed long enough and hard enough to remove the industrial oil.  I used a natural bristle brush from The Wok Shop, plus Palmolive.  If I did it again, I would use the steel scrub brush that Grace Young uses instead, and I would scrub it 3-4 times instead of twice, just to be sure the industrial oil is gone.  However, if I have industrial oil on mine, it is buried under a layer of peanut oil by now!

Step 2 is to coat with peanut oil, inside and out, then bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.  After the wok cooled, I scrubbed with tap water, then repeated the oil and bake step. It looked like this after 2 cycles of oven seasoning:

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Step 3 involves cooking chives or scallions and ginger in a few TBSP of peanut oil until the aromatic produce is fully charred, moving the veggies up onto all portions of the sides of the wok during the process.  Keep stirring! Here is the pan after stove seasoning:

After cooking my first wok dinner it looked like this; well on its way towards developing a mature patina:

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Grace Young’s video on how to season a wok is also terrific. but she skips the oven seasoning part of the process:

An article on Grace’s method is here, which has information I have not seen elsewhere:

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-season-a-wokcooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-171893

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