August 20, 2003 |
On a summer night long ago, the woman I should have married and I went to a restaurant in her apartment building at 47th and Pine. Not far from where we sat, a cook prepared a pasta dish I've tried to replicate but never equaled (much the same way I've never met anyone to replicate who I was with that night, but that's another sad story). The cook whipped up a linguini dish made with plum tomatoes, fresh garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. But the key ingredient might have been the electric fry pan he used, combining three ingredients in the hot oil in the pan to make the linguini taste like Italy on a summer afternoon.
July 15, 1992 |
Many of us have experienced the joys of cooking with a wok. But much of the time this big metal bowl remains buried with the fondue pot and grandmother's chafing dish. But there is a cookware item that doesn't need to be stored in the remotest regions of your kitchen: the 10-inch glass pie plate that you have thus far used only to bake pies. It's the best tool we know of for preparing wok-style dishes in a microwave. If you don't have one, it is certainly worth the modest investment.
September 17, 1999 |
Stunning decor and soothing music are the new signatures of Wok, the Center City Chinese restaurant that shut down for a five-month makeover recently so it could keep stride with its fashion-statement Restaurant Row neighbors. If you remember the old Wok, you'll be impressed. A vaulted ceiling now is a graceful ceremonial presence, mahogany-stained chairs add a sense of conservative elegance, and colorful Chinese murals contribute a soothing touch of aesthetics. What hasn't changed are the old, classic Chinese dishes we once could find only in the standard Chinatown restaurants.
June 23, 1989 |
If you're in the mood for good Chinese food, and you're looking for it in Center City, with prices more closely related to Chinatown, try Wok, at 1613 Walnut St. Luncheon specials, from $5 to $6, are substantial. Except for a lo-mein dish and one with fried rice, all are served with steamed rice. And dinners aren't going to send your budget to a financial trauma unit. Entrees average $7 to $8.50. Wok has something for just about everyone. What I particularly like is the fair number of vegetable dishes, and the sauces with definitive tastes that are used to flavor them.
August 31, 1994 |
By now, many of us are bored with burgers, sandwich suppers and meal-size salads. But there are sure to be more 90-degree days ahead. What's the designated dinner chef to do when high temperatures sap the desire to cook? Consider a stir-fry supper. Stir-frying is nothing more than cooking food over high heat, stirring constantly so it cooks quickly and evenly. Meats and vegetables are cut into uniform pieces beforehand, so cooking is completed in a flash. With cooked rice or pasta for the base, dinner is ready with little effort.
April 19, 1989 |
Stir-frying is the Chinese technique of cooking sliced or chopped meats, vegetables and other foods very quickly in a small amount of oil at very high heat. When done properly, the result is a dish that is crisp, full of color and filled with flavor. Proper stir-frying - for which a wok and shovel-shaped Chinese spatula are the best tools - demands constant motion, coordination, organization and timing. The idea is to cook foods only to the point where they reach their peak of flavor, texture and nutritive value.
February 20, 1994 |
Chinese food has been criticized lately for its high fat content, but to me that applies only to restaurant fare. Home cooks can try healthy stir-fry recipes that use low-fat cooking techniques yet preserve authentic Asian flavor. The secret of success is twofold: Use a well-seasoned wok and stir-fry in flavorful broth or wine instead of oil. Stir-frying is a high-heat, quick- cooking method that leaves vegetables colorful, crisp and full of flavor. Woks are popular for stir-frying because they are usually made of carbon steel, a metal that heats fast and very evenly - two requirements to make successful Asian recipes.
September 27, 1995 |
Those who love Chinese food are aware that the ingredients often have symbolic meanings attached: Jade-green broccoli signifies youth; long noodles signify long life; the hollow tube of scallion signifies an open mind; lotus root is served as a wish of prosperity upon guests. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, a food writer and culinary arts teacher who grew up in Canton, brings those reminders to the table in her newest book, "From the Earth: Chinese Vegetarian Cooking" (Macmillan/$25) - as well as some surprises.
April 3, 2008 |
Don't let unfamiliar ingredients or foreign techniques keep you from enjoying favorite foods at home. Kylie Kwong, Australian-Chinese chef and restaurateur, demystifies the traditional Cantonese dishes learned from her mother and some of Australia's top chefs. In Simple Chinese Cooking (Viking, $34.95), Kwong gives easy-to-follow recipes using common ingredients. Among her tasty preparations is this for jumbo shrimp fried in a cornstarch and egg batter. The crunchy coating contrasts with the sticky, salty sweetness of her honey-garlic sauce.
August 14, 1996 |
YO, CHEFS! I would like to know how Harmony Vegetarian Restaurant in Chinatown makes its orange beef. Helen T. Diehl Philadelphia Dear Helen, Peter Fong, the former chef at Harmony, is now the manager of Singapore Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant, also in Chinatown. He gave us this version of orange "beef," which is a popular dish at both places. Fong makes all his "meat," "poultry" and "seafood" dishes from tempeh, or soy gluten, a protein substitute that is available at most Asian markets and health-food stores.