Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One-Dish Wok Meals

Wontons and toufu with lettuce, straw mushrooms in soup.

In this post, I want to focus on weeknight dinners. Hence the One-Dish Wok Meals.

There are so many beautiful food blogs to get recipes from (see sidebar), so what I want to do is share a different approach to cooking. It's stress free because you don't have to run out for special ingredients, follow a recipe and there's very little cleanup. Cook the gourmet dishes when you have more time.

Yes, I cook my wontons in my wok.

Single guys tell me they enjoy showing off their wok cooking to their dates! This made me laugh especially when they said it makes them look like they know what they're doing.

My posts: Keep Cooking Simple and Tasty, Wok Up Your Own Creations and Stir Frying Without Recipes will give you the complete scoop on how to achieve this.

Why a wok? Because it heats up fast, cooks fast and washes up fast and best of all, you can use this one pan for cooking EVERYTHING, not just Asian stir frys. Less clutter, less oil, less washing up.

Toufu, green beans, cherry tomatoes, straw mushrooms cooked in CurrySimple's Green Curry Sauce.

(I won't repeat what I've already said in other posts about my preseasoned, lightweight cast iron wok. On my website, I explain in great depth and discuss different types of woks as well as technique to be successful.)

Simple stir fried bok choy and red bell peppers with dash of tamari and sherry.

Buy Char Siu (Chinese roast pork), mix with bok choy dish, dinner!

One-Dish Wok Meals is how my husband and I eat most weeknights and we never get tired of them. It's really a no-brainer, it gives you the right balance of protein and carbs.

That's how I was brought up, lots of veggies, less meat. I cut out eating starch a while back because I'm on the cusp of Type II Diabetes, I discuss this in Healthy and Delicious Snack Ideas. When my doctor first told me to cut back eating so much rice, I thought she didn't realize I was Asian! Asians eat rice at every meal. I cut back a little at a time and finally didn't miss not having it at all. When I understood starch drives up sugar levels, it was easy to give it up and see my energy soar. As mentioned, we'll have quinoa more often than rice or noodles. I get into more depth about Diets on my website.

I hear amusing stories from many husbands who are relegated to washing dishes, so you'll be pleased to know it takes less than two minutes to wash up for a One-Dish Wok Meal.

A typical washup takes less than 2 minutes.

As you can see, I use my cast iron wok for cooking many different things! I'd love to hear what you cook up in your wok?

Yummy Asian meatloaf steamed (ground turkey and omboshi plums)

Tilapia with veggies in soup.


  1. Lovely post Eleanor! I like my wok. It's not the best wok out there. It was a $40 set that has held up quite well with it's uses. It's nothing special though. I think I need to get myself one of your Woks or one that is better in quality than the one I bought about a year ago.

    And I guess your doctor didn't notice that you were Asian. Being part Indian and Spanish, I eat a lot of rice. Probably more rice than most Asians, so if my doctor told me that I couldn't have anymore rice, I would be somewhat devastated.

    Anyway, in my Wok, I don't only like to cook Asian stir frys.

    My uncle's wife is half Jamaican and she mixes her own spices to make a jerk seasoning. She rubs it on some beef and makes a stir fry with that. She often sends me some of her Jamaican Jerk Seasoning to make her jamaican stir fry which is amazing! Yes, I just said Jamaican stir fry. It's phenomenal. I guess you can call it a JamAsian stir fry because it has some Asian ingredients in it. I definitely need to find out what she puts in her seasoning so I can post a recipe on my blog about it...

    Once again, lovely post!

  2. Thanks Kamran. I want to take opportunity to direct people to your incredible blog, The Sophisticated Gourmet. You do an amazing job and think if you are going to do this as your profession, you'll be GREAT!

    My Chinese Jamaican friend, Aston Lue, Ocho Rios provides me a fab Spicy Jerk Seasoning to include in my Wok Star Kit, I sprinkle and use it on everything, incl. salads details:

  3. Great blog! I love the subject matter, especially since I am currently living in Japan.I love wok cooking and can't wait to see more of your ideas!

  4. Thanks Rachael for stopping by and your encouraging support. I glanced at your beautiful blog. You've shamed me into blogging my Penang and Singapore trips.

  5. This looks so delicious and colorful! Thanks for the great recipe :)

  6. I love one-pot cooking. I finally just purchased a proper wok (I had a wok-like nonstick pan that I disliked) this week, haven't even broken it in yet! I do love that you cook without a recipe. I tend to do that naturally...a lot of times, I only measure so that I can blog about it! :) Great, easy approach, I like it!

  7. Great tips, and so true. When I moved away to college (a million yrs ago), I bought a wok for $10 and used it for almost everything...especially since the only other pan I owned was a 10" skillet!

  8. Well, I thought I had responded to comments but obviously not, my apologies.

    Dawn - thx for dropping in.

    tastyeatsathome - great to hear you got your wok and cook without recipes or measuring, it's so much more fun. Glad you got rid of your non-stick, they are terrible for stir frying or any kind of frying. You can never brown or sear meat properly.

    Debi - as a cooking teacher yourself, I so appreciate your support.

  9. Me and my special other are about to be WOK king and queen as we strive to discover simple and nutritious meals with little clean up. Our goal is to give up eating red meat and eat lots of vegetables! Thank you for the great tips and recipes... Take care. -Brett and Lyn

  10. Hi Brett and Lyn, welcome to the world of wok cooking! You're going to love it. Swish with a brush to clean and it's done. A cast iron wok makes veggies so vibrant, crunchy and brings out the best. If you have picky kids who normally don't eat veggies, they're going beg you to make for them. Had so many parents tell me same. Happy Wokking. Do you have a cast iron wok or what?

  11. Dear Eleanor,
    Thank you for replying! Lyn and I do not have a cast iron wok yet, just a cheap alternative "wok" I scrounged up from a friend. Do you have any suggestions about what brand and where to buy one like yours? Thank you so much for your blog!

  12. Hi Brett & Lyn, I sell my own Wok Star Kit with a preseasoned, lightweight cast iron wok set with instructional DVDs, you can visit my site for all the details:

    My site explains in detail why I chose cast iron vs other materials. Explains about having the right heat source and essential tools so you can make your own decision.

  13. You wok arrived! We plan to open it together this Friday night. I will let you know our excitement!
    -Brett and Lyn

  14. I wish I could edit my post, but I meant..."your wok"... ha


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