The Wok: Recipes and Techniques

Norton. Mar. 2022. 672p. ISBN 9780393541212. $50. COOKING
Clocking in at over 600 pages, this cookbook is a fitting follow-up to López-Alt’s James Beard Award–winning The Food Lab, which covered an array of techniques but no wok-based recipes. Using a similar, science-informed approach, López-Alt demonstrates here not just how to use a wok but why certain tools, techniques, and approaches work better than others. The recipes include Chinese-, Korean-, Thai-, Vietnamese-, and Japanese-inspired dishes and incorporate precise directions for preparation, cooking techniques, and kitchen organization. An extensive introduction provides guidance on selecting a wok and stocking a pantry with essential and optional ingredients. Sidebars, reference charts, and ingredient-specific guidance ensure that budding chefs will develop the skill and understanding to confidently produce stir-fried, steamed, braised, and deep-fried dishes. Readers interested in the science behind a successful wok-based meal will appreciate the way López-Alt experiments with techniques to determine how to achieve the best results in a home kitchen. A section of no-cook sides at the end of the cookbook ensures that even a wok novice can produce a balanced menu.
VERDICT López-Alt’s latest is an essential addition to any cookbook collection, providing both insights and inspiration for cooking.
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