Dahling, oh how much fun we had! Our Wok-fired Lo Mein Cooking Class was such a great time. I’m so glad you came. We mastered a few cutting techniques (chopping, rolling, and pivoting) and became pros at making the batonnet cut. All of that resulted in a flavorful vegetable lo mein that you can quite easily make at home.

Here’s a quick recap of what went down.

Wok-cooking is a true art form. It hones your knife skills and calls upon various methods of food preparation. In fact, finally getting the food in the wok is the easiest part. There’s a lot to get done to get to that point but each step is easy to master. It is also entirely adaptable. During the day’s recap, one of our budding chefs pointed out that his takeaway from the class was that almost everything can be adjusted to taste and preference. BINGO! Once you get the techniques down, you are free to roam the country, dahling. You can add ingredients that you love and leave out some that you don’t. You can adjust the quantities of ingredients to create a specific texture or flavor. How Irie is that?

MISE EN PLACE

The first thing we learned was the art of preparation. Mise en place – a french cooking term meaning “everything in place” –  plays a pivotal role in attaining a great dish. It is particularly important in wok cooking as cooking in a wok goes rather quickly. It means before we ever turn on the stove, we gather and prepare all of our ingredients. The measuring, chopping and organization get done first. It would be quite disastrous to be hunting for the soy-sauce while the garlic is burning away in the wok. Preparation leads to pleasant results, dahling.

KNIFE SKILLS

We learned 3 basic cutting techniques that will make your prep experience much more efficient. We covered CHOPPING, where the knife goes up-down, up-down, and the full blade leaves the board which is perfect for getting the thin slices of onion for our lo mein.

We also covered ROLLING, which is perhaps the most efficient and rhythmic cutting technique. The blade of the knife rolls through the food, allowing the sharpness of the blade to work its magic.  You drag the tip of the knife back towards the food as you the lift the heel, then push it forward again creating a backward circular (rolling) motion. The knife is always kept in contact with the cutting board. The rolling technique makes efficient use of longer pieces of food like celery and carrot.

Finally we covered the PIVOTING technique, which is particularly useful with herbs and garlic. By anchoring the tip of the blade with your fingers, you then rotate the knife as you chop, using the tip as a pivot point.

BATONNET CUT

Food cuts are really just specific measurements to ensure uniformity and to achieve a particular texture. The cut of the food greatly affects its final texture or mouth-feel and look. For example, a small dice (1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4 inch) of carrot has a different look and feel than say a batonnet cut (1/4 x 1/4 inch thick by 2 inch long strip.) Here’s how you achieve this Batonnet cut.

BLANCHING

Finally, we covered blanching which was our last step before firing up the wok. By blanching vegetables (briefly cooking them in boiling water then immersing in  an ice bath) we are able to get tender-crisp vegetables that retain a vibrant color. This ensured that harder vegetables like broccoli and carrots can cook at the same time as onions and peppers while giving a providing vibrancy to the finished dish.

We also had a ton of fun learning the art of tossing! Perhaps we ended up with more food on the floor than in the pot, but that was part of the fun, I’m sure. Everything requires practice, dahling.

 

Wok Class

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WHERE TO GET SOME OF OUR ITEMS

  • Fresh lo mein is often food at Asian grocery stores (if you are in Orlando, there are lots of options along Colonial Road, particularly on the West side). Be sure to get the ones without egg.
  • Shelf-stable lo mein noodles are available at your local grocery store, usually in the Asian-foods aisle.
  • Sambal oelek – a spicy, South Asian chili paste can also be found at your local grocery store, along with other Asian products.

Here’s the recipe for our Vegetable Lo Mein that you can make at home. Give it a try, adjust the ingredients to your heart’s desire, then write a comment below letting me know all about it. Dahling, let’s cook together!

 

Print Recipe
Jenn's Flaming-Ginger Lo Mein
Bright flavors of ginger and a kick of Sambal Oelek make this stir-fry dish hard to beat.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Asian
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 6 oz packet dry lo mein noodles make sure they are egg-free
  • 3 cups red cabbage shredded - divided into 3 batches
  • 1 cup carrots cut in batonnet (see video above) - divided into 3 batches
  • 1/2 cup broccoli stalk
  • 1/2 cup onion julienned -divided into 3 batches
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper julienned - divided into 3 batches
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper julienned - divided into 3 batches
  • 2 tbsp garlic finely minced - divided into 3 batches
  • 6 tbsp coconut or canola oil divided
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Green onion/ Escallion thinly sliced for garnish
Sauce (yields about 3/4 cups. Use 1/4 cup per serving):
  • 2 inch square ginger finely grated
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1/4 cup water
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Asian
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 6 oz packet dry lo mein noodles make sure they are egg-free
  • 3 cups red cabbage shredded - divided into 3 batches
  • 1 cup carrots cut in batonnet (see video above) - divided into 3 batches
  • 1/2 cup broccoli stalk
  • 1/2 cup onion julienned -divided into 3 batches
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper julienned - divided into 3 batches
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper julienned - divided into 3 batches
  • 2 tbsp garlic finely minced - divided into 3 batches
  • 6 tbsp coconut or canola oil divided
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Green onion/ Escallion thinly sliced for garnish
Sauce (yields about 3/4 cups. Use 1/4 cup per serving):
  • 2 inch square ginger finely grated
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. Ensure all the ingredients are lined up in order of use and close to stove.
  2. Blanch lo mein noodles:
  3. Follow packet instructions to blanch noodles. This typically involves immersing the noodles in rapidly boiling water for about 3 minutes.
  4. Rinse to remove excess starch and to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside, separating into 3 batches.
  5. Blanch broccoli and carrot. Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt. Add broccoli and carrots for 2 minutes. Remove from hot water and immediately put in bowl filled with ice water. Allow to cool for 2 minutes in ice water bath, then remove and drain. Pat dry to remove excess moisture.
Create Sauce:
  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl. Whisk vigorously. Set aside.
Stir-Frying:
  1. Pre-heat the wok over high heat. Add oil. Swirl 2 tbsp coconut/canola oil in wok to ensure the entire surface is coated.
  2. Add 1 batch each of cabbage, broccoli and carrots. Sprinkle a small bit of salt and pepper. Stir to combine for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add 1 batch each of red pepper, green pepper, and garlic. Sprinkle a small bit of salt and pepper. Stir to combine for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add 1 batch of noodles. Quickly stir to combine.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of sauce around the edge of the wok. Stir to combine and allow to cook for 1 minute.
Finishing Up:
  1. ​Remove from heat. Transfer to plate. Add fresh onions/escallion and serve hot.
  2. Wipe out wok with a thick towel. Repeat process twice.
Recipe Notes

Wine Pairing Suggestion:

  • - Sake
  • - Riesling
  • - Pinot Grigio
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