I read this book from cover to cover and then I decided to come out with the truth - this book, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge, gave me wok envy! Such gorgeous photos and delightful takes of people and their woks. I thought I would go buy one that was as shiny and glamorous as the ones in the book but then I took one look at my trusted old wok that I brought from India, many (MANY) moons ago. It looked kind of pathetic but it has served me so well over the years. I cleaned it up and used it again. And the results were delightful.
When I cook from cookbooks, I have to admit that I generally will change a few things here and there, leave out an ingredient or not follow exact directions. But when one cooks from a legend's book, it is best to follow the advice. Grace Young's book is full of terrific and effective advise on how to use the wok correctly, her recipes are clear and provide specific directions. I loved everything that I cooked from it and I can tell you it is a keeper.
Recipes posted here with permission from Simon & Schuster -
Classic Dry-Fried Pepper and Salt Shrimp from "Stir-frying from the Sky's Edge by Grace Young, Simon & Schuster, 2010)
2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon salt
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon roasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno chili, with seeds
1. In a large bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the salt with 1 quart cold water. Add the shrimp and swish the shrimp in the water with your hand for about 30 seconds. Drain. Add 1 more tablespoon salt to the bowl with 1 quart of cold water and repeat. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and set on several sheets of paper towels. With more paper towels, pat the shrimp dry. IN a small bowl combine the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, sugar and ground Sichuan peppercorns.
2. Heat a 14-inch flat bottomed wok or a 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the garlic, ginger and chili, then using a metal spatula, stir-fry 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant. Push the garlic mixture to the sides of the wok, carefully add the shrimp, and spread them evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the shrimp begin to sear. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry 1 minute or until the shrimp just begin to turn orange. Sprinkle on the salt mixture and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until the shrimp are just cooked.
Serves 2 as a main dish with rice or 4 as part of a multicourse meal.
Stir-Fried Garlic Shanghai Bok Choy from "Stir-frying from the Sky's Edge by Grace Young, Simon & Schuster, 2010)
12 ounces Shanghai bok choy
1∕4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1∕4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
3 medium garlic cloves, smashed
1∕4 teaspoon salt
1∕4 teaspoon sugar
1. Trim 1∕4 inch from the bottom of each head. Separate the bok choy into stalks. Cut the stalks and leaves into 2-inch-long pieces. You should have about 8 cups. In a small bowl combine the broth, rice wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch.
2. Heat a 14-inch fl at-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet
over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within
1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the oil, add the garlic, and stir-fry 10 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the bok choy, sprinkle on the salt and sugar, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the leaves begin to wilt and just turn bright green. Restir the broth mixture and swirl it into the wok. Stir-fry 1 minute or until the bok choy is just crisp-tender.
Serves 4 as a vegetable side dish.
I had requested a review copy that I have used well! But for my readers, I purchased a new copy that I am giving away here today. Post a comment here and tell me why you want this this book. I will pick a winner at 4:00 pm EST on Monday May 24th.