Post by my friend by Annabel. In the early evening, the School of Wok’s light casts out across the road. Inviting passersby to gaze in to see what is happening on the other side of the glass. Inside we were waiting for our introduction to the WorldFoods authentic ready-made range of sauces. Ours was the chance to cook a couple of the dishes and taste the prepared offerings to maximise our sampling of this new and exciting range of ready-made sauces with authentic Asian origins.
With 100% natural ingredients, these sauces have been devised to enable people to deliver authentic Asian taste sensations at home. Thai, Malaysian, Chinese and Indian flavours have been developed and perfected from local ingredients, herbs and spices. They also have the added benefit of suiting the dietary needs of vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs.
The School of Wok team devised a varied menu for the cookery lesson using a selection of the 51 different sauces that are available – dipping sauces, pastes, noodle sauces, stir-fry, cocking sauces, marinades, chutneys and salad dressings. Jeremy Pang showed us the basics of stir-frying. From the preparation of the ingredients, to creating the right sizzle in the wok. Top tips to follow later.
Stir-frying is a quick form of cooking once you get to the hob. Thinly sliced ingredients make for a faster cooking time. If your stir-fry is taking a long time, then you are not cooking it properly.
The School of Wok suggest a cooking clock to know when to put your ingredients into the stir-fry. At 12 O’clock place the ingredient that needs the longest time to cook, for example carrots or peppers. Then place the other ingredients around the plate in order of their cooking needs or place in the cooking method.
Some of the ingredients that are harder to source can be bought and frozen. For instance Kaffir lime leaves can be bought at an Asian supermarket and frozen. Take a few out as you need them. Steaming the leaves so they are ready to use for a salsa or accompaniment.
Top Stir-fry Tips
- Use a carbon steel wok that will circulate the heat
- Have all the ingredients ready prepared and vegetables chopped to the same size
- Use your plate as a clock to put your ingredients in the order that they will be added to the wok
- Always bring the oil up to smoking point and remove any excess oil before adding the first ingredient(s)
- If your pan is too hot there are three ways to cool down your ingredients:
- Stir the ingredients
- Fold in the ingredients with your spatula
- Tossing the ingredients in the wok – a shallow lift away from the hob and a flick of the wrist. A couple of tosses and return the wok to the heat
- If your stir-fry is not sizzling, then you are not stir-frying. Don’t lose your sizzle!
- If the wok has a glossy look then you have enough oil. If it has a matt look then add a touch more oil
- When you add the meat, or additional vegetables if making a vegetarian recipe, fold the initial ingredients on top of the meat or vegetables so that they do not burn or cook further
- Clean your wok with hot water on a high heat, bringing to the boil which will help deglaze the wok. Ensure your wok is completely dry before wiping with a light layer of vegetable oil before storing away
Having learnt a raft of new stir-fry skills, I was ready to head home and rustle up a meal of my own. Once home, I took the opportunity to experiment with one of the pastes. Panang Curry Paste with Lamb Meatballs. I used a traditional lamb meatball recipe, the recipe I used had cumin undertones. Add the cooked meatballs to a sauce made from chopped shallots, Panang Curry Paste and coconut milk. Ensure that the meatballs are warmed through and serve with boiled or ‘sticky’ rice.
The sauces that we tried at the School of Wok taster evening had a real depth of flavour. These are easy to incorporate into your cooking and keep in the fridge for up to a month. Authentic flavours made easy.
WorldFoods Fusion of Flavours sauces are solely available via the internet at www.worldfoodsdirect.co.uk. We were guests of World Foods and the School of Wok