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High Heat Wok Cooking Problems

Thanks for your reply. From what you've posted I gather my wok may be improperly seasoned? If I scrub my wok with a soft sponge and hot water should I be able to remove any of the patina at all? Also what would be the best way to avoid sauces getting burned into the surface?

Nov 28, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

High Heat Wok Cooking Problems

I purchased an outdoor turkey fryer type propane burner that I use to cook with my carbon steel wok on very high heat, I've had very hit and miss results. Thusly I'm turning to the hounds for tips and tricks with cooking on such high heat. Heres a little background info to help yall figure out what I'm doing wrong.

- 60,000 BTU flame output on burner (usually cranked to 3/4 power while cooking)
- Carbon Steel Wok (purchased from Wok Shop and seasoned multiple times in oven with lard)
- Peanut oil used for most stir frys.
- Cleaned with just water (no soap)
- Coat with a little peanut oil in between uses.

My problem is that when I go to whip up a stir fry my food gets a residual dark brown color to it. A bunch of black flecks of what I assume is bits of the patina also seem to cover the food. I'm not sure if this is coming from the actual patina flaking off or if these are burnt spots from cooking over too high of heat. I've given up on trying to use chicken in my stir frys because of how un appetizing it looks when completely covered in the brown/black flecks and liquid.

The smokey flavor or 'wok hei' is definitely there, no complaints in that department.
I'm still working on perfecting my actual technique of having both proteins and vegetables cooked properly but this is the basic technique used;

-Wok on till oil is smoking lightly
-Proteins until seared on outside then removed and set aside
-Aromatics (IE garlic, scallions etc)
-Vegetables in order of cooking length requirements (longest time first, shortest last obviously)
- Proteins back in to finish cooking
- Sauce (usually oyster sauce based brown sauce)
- Wok Off.

I've tried scrubbing a bit harder with a soft sponge in between uses and it doesn't seem to help with the amount of discolor the food gets. I feel if I scrub any harder the actual patina may come off. Should I be blanching my vegetables before cooking? Any tips on basic technique, and discoloring issue will be much appreciated.

Nov 28, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

Sauces for Fish

I do a play on a Vietnamese style fish dipping sauce (nuoc mam), and its always a crowd pleaser when I prepare whole grilled or fried fish.

1- Fresh young coconut
1- Tbs fish sauce
1- Tbs sugar
1- Whole fresno pepper finely chopped (de seeded and membrane removed)
3- whole cloves garlic smashed and finely chopped
3- stalks of green onion chopped
Optional - Pickled carrots shredded or julianed (little less then 1/4 cup)

Heat coconut water in a small pan and combine sugar until dissolved. Pour into serving bowl and let cool. Combine rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours for best results. Taste and adjust amount of sugar or fish sauce if necessary.

Nov 28, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

Dry Brining

Good point as well! This is not a 'brine' in the literal since. Though curing maybe the term that more accurately describes this technique, I still feel like the original term posted definitely gets the point across. Personally, the word curing brings to mind aged (sometimes dry) meat. The post was made to share an alternative to an actual brine, not so much preserving/ aging meats with salt. I do appreciate the correction though.

Nov 01, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking
1

Dry Brining

You bring up a good point! I suppose its unnecessary to cover because the salt keeps things sanitary. I never even thought about it to be honest. I also didn't know the trick about not rinsing, I'll have to give it a try.

Oct 31, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

Dry Brining

I read on a BBQ forum one time about dry brining and decided to give it a try. I have to admit this is as easy as it sounds and I've gotten awesome results (for the most part). The end result is very much similar to a water brine but, with improved texture IMO. I've only done it with a whole chicken but I'll be trying it out on some rabbit pretty soon here. For anyone interested, heres how its done;

-Thoroughly rinse and dry whole chicken (or whatever it is your brining)

-Liberally apply salt. (Heres the tricky part, the only time I've screwed this up was when I was WAY too generous with the salt application. You want to add more than you usually would when seasoning using salt, but you don't want the meat to be completely caked in a layer of salt.) Also less salt is needed with skinless meat.

- Cover, and refrigerate. (Total time allowed to rest with salt on will greatly affect the taste of the brine. If you were heavy handed with the salt don't let the meat rest for more than 24hrs, likewise if you were a bit shy on the salt you can give it a little longer) I usually let the meat brine over night and cook the following afternoon.

-Rinse. Simply give the meat a nice thorough rinse and pat dry. Your ready to season and cook per usual recipe. (Obviously you to skip the salt if your normal recipe calls for it)

DONE!

I'll never go back to water brine method after giving this method a few tries. This makes for a much less messy and more convenient brine. I hope yall give it a try next time you plan on brining.

Oct 31, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

Italian food for a bunch of 8 year olds...

Three words. Meat Ball Sub. They are easy to make, affordable to buy in bulk and will save you alot of clean up work.

Jul 01, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

Preparing insects pre-cooking?

Give them a clean habitat and a little space and you'll be surprised at how less offensive the aroma becomes. I worked at pet stores as a teenager to my early twenties and know that the over crowded and humid conditions they are kept in can contribute alot to the foul smell most people associate with them. I've deep fried crickets in a wok using the above mentioned method, and they tasted and smell fresh.

Jun 18, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

Preparing insects pre-cooking?

I'd suggest finding a local pet store that sells large live crickets and the like for feeding reptiles. Bring them home and put them in old tupperware with holes poked in the top and sides for ventilation. Feed them sweet potato until their excrement is orange. If your feeling adventurous you can check out some of the other bugs they sell like mealworms, wax worms, night crawlers etc. Make sure to purge them using the same method above!

Jun 18, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

Himalaya Restaurant Houston report

This story makes me sad. I've put up with some less than ideal attitude and service in the name of food, but this takes the cake. Chef Kaiser is going to rub the wrong person the wrong way one day.

Jun 17, 2011
KungPao in Houston

Butter Coconut "Cookie" Recipe

I'm on the hunt for a recipe that can help recreate the OJO brand Butter Coconut Cookies that you can find in asian super markets. I use them to make some cookies ironically enough and want to try to bake and sell them locally and online. I have a feeling I'm going to have a hard time getting permission from OJO to use their cracker like cookies, so I figure I'll try to make them too. I would appreciate even educated suggestions when it comes to a recipe. Many thanks in advance hounds.

May 31, 2011
KungPao in Home Cooking

Brunch in Houston?

I've had pretty good brunch at Churrascos on Westheimer, but it has a been a while. Also Hungrys on Rice is not too shabby, the eggs benedict with crab cake calls me back. Benjy's, also in the Rice Village area, makes a mean Habanero infused bloody marry. Nice atmosphere to boot and no complaints on the food. For something out of the ordinary Doneraki does a casual tex mex brunch buffet on the weekend that I enjoy.

Edit: I forgot to mention that each of the eateries mentioned above excluding Doneraki are not buffet style.

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Churrascos River Oaks
2055 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77042

Apr 08, 2011
KungPao in Houston