If you love Chinese foodand you have a gas hob in your kitchen, rejoice! A traditional Chinese wok must be one of the simplest and most versatile cooking vessels ever invented, so much so that you may well find that you won’t need many other saucepans – the wok can do it all. Use it for shallow frying and deep frying, braising and steaming, boiling and poaching.
In our Western kitchens, a wok is primarily known as a large frying pan, and it’s perfect for cooking with gas. Immediately available at the turn of a knob, and eminently controllable, the gas flame transfers the heat upwards to the underside of the wok straight away. Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t use a wok on induction hobs too – but some would argue that you need a real fire to bring the wok alive.
If you are rediscovering your wok, here is an easy and satisfying dish to start with.
Sweet Chilli Prawn Stir Fry
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 piece ginger (3cm), cut into matchsticks
1 tsp chilli flakes
400 g raw king prawns
150 g tender stem broccoli
150 g mangetout
4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 lime, juiced
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Toasted cashew nuts
In the wok, heat the oil to a high heat and stir fry garlic, ginger and chilli for 2 minutes. Add the prawns and cook until they’re pink (about 2 minutes), then set them aside. Next, add broccoli and a splash of water to the wok and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mangetout, lime juice, chilli sauce and coriander. Finally, combine with the cooked prawns, sprinkle with cashew nuts and serve on a bed of rice with lime wedges.