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hpr1946 :: Wok Cookery

I prepare a vegetarian version of Chow Mein for my son's visit

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Hosted by Dave Morriss on 2016-01-18 is flagged as Explicit and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
cooking, wok, stir-fry, chow mein, noodles, Quorn. 7.
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Duration: 00:20:37


Cooking techniques, recipes, recommendations and cooking equipment

Wok Cookery

Not for the first time I'm following in the footsteps of Frank Bell. Frank did an HPR episode entitled "A Beginner with a Wok", episode number 1787, on 2015-06-09. On it he spoke about his experiences stir-fry cooking using a wok.

Frank got a lot of comments about his episode and there seemed to be an interest in the subject. I have been interested in Chinese, Indonesian and other Far Eastern cookery styles for some time, and do a lot of cooking, so I thought I'd record a show about one of the recipes I use.

My son visits around once a week and eats dinner with me. I offered to cook him my version of Chow Mein, which since he is vegetarian, needed to use no meat. This is my description of the recipe I used.

I loosely based this version of Chow Mein on Ken Hom's recipe in his book Chinese Cookery, page 226. This is from his 1984 BBC TV series, which I watched. I also learnt many of my preparation techniques from Ken Hom's books and TV shows.

I have written out a long set of notes to accompany this episode and these are available here


Apologies for the sounds of a mouse scroll wheel in the audio. I was trying a new microphone position and didn't realise how sensitive it was to these sounds.


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Comment #1 posted on 2016-01-18 20:04:26 by Frank

Interesting. I haven't tried a noodle dish. I'll have to give this a try later this week.

The beans you picture are indeed what in the States are called string beans or green beans and the peas are called snow peas.

Ironically, at least in these parts, string beans don't really have strings--they don't need to be "de-strung"--and snow peas do.

Comment #2 posted on 2016-01-18 21:37:38 by Dave Morriss

String or no string

Thanks Frank. It's interesting how names change so much from region to region.

I had always assumed that the "string" in string beans referred to the way they were grown, draped over a taut string. At least I have often seen them grown that way to keep the mature beans off the soil. They grow fine by themselves of course, unlike what we call runner beans which need sticks, stakes or hanging strings to grow up. These ones become very fibrous as they mature and take a bit of skill to de-string when preparing!

As to mange tout/snow peas the ones I buy very rarely have any strings in them. Maybe they are just harvested very young for the UK supermarkets.

Anyway, I hope your noodle cooking experiences turn out well.

Comment #3 posted on 2016-01-19 03:36:53 by Frank

I always thought that the "string" in string beans referred to their shape. They are also sometimes called snap beans, because you can "snap" the ends off to prepare them for cooking.

The Wikipedia article says that it refers to the "string" along the seam on one side of the bean, but, as I said, I observe that much more often in snow peas.

Oh, well, they've probably all been cross-bred to oblivion anyway.

Comment #4 posted on 2016-01-19 10:44:31 by Mark Waters


Just wanted to say thank you for this episode , I will certainly be trying your recipe out.

Comment #5 posted on 2016-01-20 14:47:14 by Dave Morriss

Thanks Mark

Glad you liked the show. Let us know how you get on with the recipe.

Comment #6 posted on 2016-01-21 04:52:44 by Frank

My experiment was a qualified success.

I did not use the same ingredients as you. I used carrots (inspired by you--I agree with Dennis the Menace as he sampled a carrot cake: "Nothing that tastes this good could come from carrots"), snow peas, mushrooms, celery, five cloves of garlic, three scallions, tofu, and a banana pepper (I should have used half a banana pepper).

I was too lazy to go to Grand Mart, the local international supermarket which does indeed absolutely rock (google it), so I ended up using Thai noodles, because they were there in my local plain-jane American supermarket.

I used too many noodles for the quantity of other ingredients and the dish was a little bit too spicy (should have used half a banana pepper, rather than a whole one), but, as I said, it was a qualified success. Susan liked it, despite the hotness. It will be better next time.

Thanks for getting me to try something new.

Comment #7 posted on 2016-01-21 19:56:29 by Dave Morriss

Banana pepper

Great to hear about your latest stir-fry experiment Frank. I must try some fresh chillies in the ingredient list some time. I have mainly used sauces added when eating the dish since my daughter is not a great fan of chilli. Personally I love hot food, though I have never eaten a banana pepper. I must look out for some.

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