A few years ago, I acquired Jeremy and Jacqui Mansfield’s wonderful cookery book, Zhoozsh! Not only is Jeremy one of South Africa’s best-known “shelebs”, he’s also a home boy, being Grahamstown born and bred. And an old Rhodian. With each recipe comes a story; it is full of people, places and experiences. So in a way, it is for me, in parts, an almost vicarious memoir.
In addition to some fabulous recipes, Jeremy (he’s the cook), says that he does virtually all his cooking in a wok. Having bought a wok around the time that we re-vamped the kitchen in our Cape Town home, from this
to this (and a gas hob),
I thought I’d give it a go.
Wok One was a Jamie Oliver-endorsed non-stick job. Boy, did it work hard. I discovered Jeremy was right: you can cook virtually anything in a wok. So Wok One became the chosen pan for not just stir fry, but for any dish that begins with sautééd something.
It’s also a great deep fryer – it uses less oil – so every time I make a batch of koeksisters* or chips, Wok is on duty.
Anyway, Wok One’s non-stick surface had long been not that, and a while ago, I decided that it should be replaced. No point, I thought, in having a non-stick surface: the high heat one must use for Asian stir fries and deep frying soon destroys it. So, perhaps I should get a proper, old fashioned wok.
Wok Two is pukka Chinese, acquired from a Chinese-run speciality shop in Cape Town. It is far larger than Wok One, so it takes up half the kitchen and three-quarters of the stove, so I’ve had to learn how to navigate it and I’ve had to hang Wok Two rather than house it….when it’s not in action.
Three of the photos below (spinach, the beginning of a mutton curry and koeksisters) were Wok Two’s inauguration – all on the same morning!
Since Wok Two arrived, I’ve been wok-king back to happiness….
* a traditional, South African deep fried, sweet confectionary that I make about twice a month for the McGregor Market
© Fiona’s Favourites