We recently had some friends over for dinner, we didn’t want a takeaway, but we fancied Chinese food, but how to provide a nice variety of dishes with only one wok? Our little boy keeps us busy, so there would not be hours and hours to get ready either. It turned out to be reasonably simple, but preparation was the key! We settled on the following menu…
Duck rolls – with plum sauce
Pork and Prawn dumplings – with sweet chilli sauce
Chicken Fried Rice – with shallots, ginger, spring onion and peanuts
Sweet and Sour Pork – with onion, red pepper and pineapple
Satay Beef – with carrot, spring onion and mange tout
Egg Noodles – with sesame seeds and spring onion
One of the brilliant things about living where we do is the close proximity of not one but two oriental supermarkets – with a wide range of ingredients and sauces we really are spoilt for choice right on our doorstep. The starters were simplicity itself, needless to say we did not spend hours hand making dumplings and duck rolls, the duck rolls were Tesco and the dumplings frozen from the oriental supermarket. Served with sweet chilli and plum sauces the starters presented no issues!
After prepping all of the veg and meat for the main courses, the question arose how to cook it fresh with only one wok?!? We discovered this was easier than we thought…
The satay sauce and sweet and sour sauce were (I am afraid to say) purchased ready-made from the oriental supermarket, but they taste just like their takeaway versions! The chicken fried rice however was from a recipe with all the sauce and spices added by hand. So we settled on the following method; we fried the beef and accompanying veg in the wok with groundnut oil then once done transferred to a sauce pan on a low heat and added the sauce. We then did the exact same thing for the pork dish. This left us with a relatively clean wok (apart from groundnut oil residue) which we needed for the chicken fried rice dish anyway! By prepping in advance and using this ‘wok to pan’ method we managed to cook all three main courses whilst our guests were here in about 12 minutes – definitely not too long to wait between courses (especially with prawn crackers for nibbles)!
All of the desserts were made well in advance and we even cheated on the banoffee pie cases using ready-made pastry cases! We like to think we put a lot of effort into making the evening run smoothly by making sure there was little effort required to execute everything well!
Our guests seemed to enjoy it anyway…