I like Chinese cooking, and I admire the cooking style and stories associated with different recipes collected by Fuchsia Dunlop. She is my hero. I can advice to anyone who is interested in Chinese cooking to buy all of her books. Worth it.
- get a simple steel or iron wok. no need for something fancy (make sure to season the wok). See entry ‘The Wok’
- if you do not have a gas stove, you would want to get one of the portable induction plates (e.g. Tillreda from IKEA). works really nicely with fine-tuning the heat
- finding a good chili bean paste is difficult, but at ‘Sous Chef‘ you get the best one and many other nice things
- key is good rice. Best buy some “fragrant rice” at your local Asia market
- a rice cooker saves a lot of stress and the rice turns out always delicious
The basic thing you have to have for Chinese cooking is the wok. No need for something fancy. Just a Carbon Steel or Iron Wok for around 15-20 € would do.
You find a selection at the Wokshop (shop in San Francisco, but they ship everywhere), just to have an idea.
You would want to avoid the ones with wooden handles though. It looks nice, but the wood will burn and fall off and without handles the wok will be pretty hard to use. Does not matter if the iron or heat-resistant plastic handles get hot.
Also, 14′ (inches) is pretty good size in my experience. The shape of the bottom is also important and depends if you use an electric, induction or gas stove.
For more info, check here on the wokology 101.
For cleaning, NEVER use detergent. Use just a sponge, no metal scrub.
season a wok
egg-plant stir fry (2-3 persons)
Recipe not in the books of Fuchsia Dunlop:
(“tastes just like my mother would cook it” was the verdict of a Chinese friend)
500g (~2 egg-plants)
100 ml (Groundnut-) Oil
300 ml Water
1 free chilli (red)
3 TBSP Dark soy sauce
1 TBSP Sugar
(everything on quite high flame)
– put oil into wok and bring to smoke (slightly)
– add chopped garlic and chilli until fragrant, but take care not to burn them
– add bite-sizes chopped egg-plants after short time
– wait until all oil soaked up
– add repeatedly 1 TBSP of the water and wait until soaked up to add the next
– do so until only half of water left (150 ml)
– add soy sauce and sugar to the left-over water, mix and put completely to the egg-plants
– wait until it looks “soaked enough”