Cooking with a Wok

Happy Year of the Rabbit!  This week, as you probably know, marks the start of the Chinese New Year.  In honor of the holiday, I would like to share some tips for cooking with a wok.

The wok is one of my favorite cooking utensils. I usually stir-fry once a week, saving this type of meal for when we’re in a pinch for time. It’s a healthy, easy, quick meal to prepare, and great for so many different taste buds. If you have never cooked with a wok before, I would highly recommend trying it out. Whenever I stir-fry, I always keep these steps in mind.

  1. Pour yourself a glass of something…wine…sake…scotch.
  2. Do all your slicing and dicing first (definitely before the scotch). Have everything chopped, cleaned, and ready to go ahead of time.  Sometimes I even do this during the day when the kids are at school.
  3. High heat is a must-the hotter the burner, the better.
  4. Cook each vegetable and proteins separately, then set them aside on a tray.
  5. Once all the components are cooked, combine everything together for one last, quick “stir-fry.”  This makes sure that your veggies aren’t over cooked or soggy, and it reheats the meal quickly before you sit down.


My mom taught me this technique, which she learned from Roz Lee. Roz is the wife of Sammy Lee, a 3-time medal winner (2 gold and 1 bronze) in Platform and Spring Board diving. When my mom moved to the U.S from Belgium in the 60’s, she lived with the Lee family. Sammy was her diving coach (he would go on to coach other greats including Greg Louganis), but she learned to cook from Roz. It’s kind of funny to think of my mom as the Belgian girl who could only cook Chinese food, which she learned in California. But, I guess that’s what living in America is all about.


Though the veggies will change with the seasons, these are the ingredients I generally always use for stir-fry.  All of them can be found at the grocery store.

  • Grape Seed or Peanut Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Kikkoman Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Mirin
  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Fresh ginger and garlic