Go to Town On: Revisiting the wok with Grace Young

By Jamie Li | 10/10/12 6:00am

Pro tip (whether you are at Collis Cafe or '53 Commons): put pineapples in your stir-fry. You are welcome. When I got up there, I managed to only get in a quick chat with Grace before she had to turn her attention to assist others with their stir-fry ... what n00bs. Just kidding! What really happened was I finally got up there, had a clean wok set atop the induction burner, and immediately squirted some oil into it — this is wrong. Don’t do this! Grace was quick to correct me. After receiving lessons on working the wok with Grace herself, I make a stir-fry faux pas right in front of her as soon as I step up to the plate? How embarrassing! My ancestors must be rolling in their graves. Dear readers, please learn from my mistake and take these extra pearls of wok wisdom to heart for stir-fry that’ll make even Collis Dave blush:

- Before adding any ingredients, first let the wok sit on the induction burners to heat up. You will know when it’s ready for stir-frying by flicking droplets of water into the heated wok. If the water evaporates within a second, it’s ready!

- Spread your protein across the bottom of the wok to ensure it cooks evenly.

- Be careful about adding in too many ingredients at once as this lowers the temperature in the wok and will cause them to blanch instead of fry.

- The order of ingredients should go: oil, aromatics (minced garlic, ginger, etc), protein, vegetables, rice. Sauces should beswirled in during the last minute of cooking.

And there you have it, tips on how to make an unforgettable stir-fry that takes your Foco date to the next level. Now it’s just a matter of beating that seemingly endless stir-fry line that always seems to form around 6:00 p.m.

Jamie Li