(Make that two; her moment, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, won a James Beard Award.) Known in certain circles as the"Wok Therapist," Young wants you to rethink what you know about stir-frying, starting with the term itself. According to Young, the gist of stir-fry was lost in translation. In the first Cantonese, the word for stir-fry, chau, refers to a motion more akin to tumbling.
"The objective is to always toss bite-size ingredients in a small quantity of oil in a wok over high heat to ensure each morsel is continually exposed to the hot wok," Young says. "The result is a light sear-ing of ingredients that allows them to cook both quickly and without burning or charring."
It's about stirring and also more about exciting motion and interaction with the hot wok's surface. A wok spatula, with its shovel shape, is great for it, but any metal spatula is going to do. And it's absolutely an excellent, and accessible, technique for a home cook. Choosing the proper wok makes all of the difference, therefore Grace shares her finest choices below, and also three foundational, and tasty, recipes to get you started.
Pro Tip: Working with a brand new, unseasoned wok? Young's favorite way to season a wok quickly is to make popcorn. The high-heat frying and spray of oil from the exploding kernels help fortify the patina of a wok, leading to either a bite and a well-seasoned pan.
No matter your cooker, Grace has your wok needs covered. Watch her recommendations to get the best wok to purchase below according to your cooktop: