I have a confession to make.
I’m a gadget junkie. I love pretty shiny new things, especially when I think they’re a worthwhile purchase (and even when they’re not…I’m STILL regretting the purchase of my blue suede stiletto boots).
However, buying anything new for our kitchen these days usually descends into a battle of epic proportions between my mother and myself. You see, my tendency to purchase the shiny new pretty things has resulted in our kitchen quite literally bursting at the seams with pots and pans and gizmos and gadgets of all sorts. Only last week, I opened one of the kitchen cupboards to have a baking tin tumble onto my foot. You’d think that a baking tray is fairly light so wouldn’t cause my pain, right? NOT SO.
*cue nursing of injured foot and pride*
Anyway, when the wonderful Pip contacted me on behalf of Bessemer and offered me a free product to test, I literally did a dance for joy – after all, my mother could hardly say no to something that was being offered for free, right? I was standing in a car dealership at the time so I got some rather funny looks from the salespeople, but what did I care? And I knew exactly what I wanted – my current non-stick wok (I just don’t like the look of the traditional ones) was dying a slow and painful death and needed replacing, so the timing was absolutely perfect!
Then came the agonizing days of waiting, till I finally arrived home from work to be confronted by a GIGANTIC box! I tore it open and there it was – a wok big enough to bathe a baby in (not that I recommend it be used for this purpose). Quite literally salivating, I read the instruction manual, seasoned it up and set about thinking about how I would break it in.
You see, a wok is a multipurpose tool. Traditionally, they’re used to fry, stir fry, even boil and deep fry, so a proper wok should be able to withstand all of these vastly different cooking procedures. In the end, I decided that the best way to go about it would be to create a symphony of stir-fried dishes as that would be what I’d use it most for.
The question was, what would I stir fry? Having just done a post on my stir frying method, I certainly couldn’t use my usual stand by recipe, so I needed something different. After poring over my cookbooks and talking to a variety of friends, I finally managed to decide on the three recipes I’d use to christen my newest addition to the kitchen – sweet & sour green beans, carrot & snow pea stir fry, and peanut butter beef & cabbage stir fry.
Not only did all three recipes prove to be absolute WINNERS, but the Bessemer wok dealt with the cooking without breaking out in even the mildest sweat. A common problem with stirfrying is that it is difficult to reach and maintain the high temperature required to cook the food and evaporate any liquid that forms, but even on a low flame, it was laughing it’s way to the finale.
Now, the three recipes for this post are listed below, but that’s not all! You see, the wonderful Pip and generous folks at Bessemer Australia have also provided me with a Country Kitchen 28cm Deep Fry Pan for one of my lucky readers!
I don’t know whether the one that you’ll receive will actually be this adorable green, but it’s a nifty little bit of kitchenware anyway! To find out how to enter the draw, read through to the bottom of the post
Peanut butter beef & cabbage stir fry
400 beef (sirloin or flank), cut into thin strips across the grain
2-3 large pak choi, cleaned and seperated into leaves
6-7 large Napa cabbage leaves, cleaned
2 onions, peeled and trimmed and cut into eighths
7-8 mushrooms (button or oyster), brushed clean and chopped into thick strips
1-3 Thai birdseye chillies (depending on your tolerance)
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
Rice and finely chopped spring onion, to serve
1. Mix together the peanut butter, kecap manis and chillis in a small bowl, then use half of it to marinate the beef. Make sure that you massage the marinade in well, it’s a sticky sauce so it will need to be thoroughly mixed in by hand. Once the marinade is thoroughly mixed in, heat up the wok with a dash of oil, then stir fry the beef till cooked. Once cooked, transfer it to a plate.
2. Roughly chop your pak choi and Napa cabbage, seperating the leafy green bits from the crunchy stalks. Heat the wok up with another dash of oil, then add the crunchy stalks and the onion and stir fry till just cooked (you want them to be softened, but still retain their CRUNCH!). Add the rest of the marinade and stir fry till well coated, then turn off the heat and add the leafy greens from your Asian cabbages as well as the beef and stir through till everything is well combined!
This dish is perfect to be served with a bowl of steamed rice, but there’s no reason you couldn’t serve it atop of noodles instead!
Carrot & Snow Pea Stir Fry
2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and trimmed
300g snow peas, trimmed and strings removed
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 small knob of ginger, roughly chopped
1. Peel your carrots and chop them into halves, then cut lengthwise into thin strips. Heat your wok with a dash of oil, then add the garlic and ginger and fry till softened.
2. Add the carrot and fry while vigorously stirring/tossing to ensure that it all cooks evenly. Once the carrot is just cooked (softened but still crunchy), add the snow peas and cook for another 2-3 minutes or till the snow peas are slightly softened and have turned bright green.
You might think that just plain garlic and ginger aren’t enough to flavour this dish, but you’d be wrong. Both carrots and snow peas are traditionally ‘sweet’ vegetables when they’re fresh, and this is what this dish relies on. Make this with fresh produce (and resist from adding salt or any other flavourings) and you may find yourself surprised by how sweet and tasty these veggies are!
Sweet & Sour Green Beans
300g green beans, trimmed (any super long ones should be cut in half)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1. Top and tail your beans, removing any strings if they have them, then bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Once the water is rapidly boiling, tip in the beans and blanch for 2-3 minutes or till just beginning to go soft.
2. Prepare a bowl with ice water and a pinch of salt, then tip the blanched beans into the ice water to halt the cooking process. Once they’ve completely cooled down, pour them into a colander to drain as much as possible.
3. Mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar and pour into the wok. Once the mixture starts to simmer, add the beans and stir fry, making sure the beans are cooking evenly. Once the marinade has reduced and begins to thicken and coat the beans, add in the toasted sesame seeds and toss to combine!
This trio of dishes work together marvellously, and are amazingly quick and easy to put together – in fact, you should be able to go from start to finish in about 30 minutes. Not bad for such a variety of dishes, if I do say so myself
Now, to the bit you’re all waiting for!
HOW TO WIN THE BESSEMER FRYING PAN!
(Please note that this competition is only open to readers living in Australia)
In order to enter the draw to win this adorable frying pan, just leave a comment detailing what recipe you’d use to christen the frying pan with if you win it! The draw will be open for 1 week, and will close at midnight on Wednesday 17th March, to be drawn randomly the next day!
The winner will also be offered the opportunity to write a guest post on my blog showing off the recipe that they’ve used in their new frying pan…or at least send through a picture of them with their new goodie!
[tags]stir fry, peant butter, beef, rice, Asian, Bessemer[/tags]