October 2023 Cookbook of the Month: Woks of Life Cookbook and Blog

I don’t know which book this is from, but my teenage son and I found this recipe online and made it for dinner tonight as we had the right size of chicken to fit in our steel pot.

It turned out really well. I made the chicken and rice components and my son made the 3 sauces.

I had half a jar of Tean’s Gourmet brand ‘Paste for Hainanese Chicken Rice’ left in the fridge so I used that in the rice (instead of minced garlic).


Hand torn cabbage stir fry. Fast, easy, delicious. It was a last minute veg addition to some other leftovers. I didn’t use any meat in the dish and used napa cabbage because that’s what I had. This is going to be one of those back pocket recipes that is so handy to have.



I’ve had this dish on my wish list since I ate it in flushing chinatown last year.

Simpler than I expected, and very flavorful.

My changes:
— Turkey instead of pork, but 10% fat, not lean).
— Added black mushrooms which were in some other recipes.
— No egg, just cornstarch to bind.
— Instead of deep frying, I used my appe pan.
— I wanted a soupy outcome rather than a sauce, so I used chicken bone broth instead of water and skipped the cornstarch.


Time for December nominations!

After eating some and giving a pint to my daughter, there was a lot left so I gave to my hairdresser (Chinese) and nail lady (Vietnamese), they loved it.

Tried this again but without chicken. Noodles got a bit more crispy but not like from restaurants, maybe this brand of fresh noodles or my technique.


The restaurants are cooking much hotter than we can achieve on our home stoves.

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Additionally I don’t think of these noodles as crispy at all. Toothsome, sure, but if I think of crispy chow mein I’m thinking this:

However, if you are using fresh noodles, perhaps steaming the noodles as in this video might help you, as well as his method. I think this is the kind of crispness @Aubergine is referring to:

(Definitely only like 15 seconds when he gives them a dunk in water. I’ve done this and it really does work great.)

ETA: I just went back and saw you rinsed in cold water after boiling. I find it’s better to not do that for this type of noodle. Even if you boil them, you’ll get better texture if you spread them out to cool rather than rinsing.

Yes, recipe said to boil for one minute (I do two) drain, rinse in cold water. I was only trying for crispy noodles because that’s what my daughter prefers, the way she gets from Chinese restaurants. I like it just fine not crispy.

How is it called on the menu when she gets it? Because that goes back to what type of chow mein is being ordered. The crispy kind (liangmianhuang aka Hong Kong style chow mein) is usually called “pan-fried crispy noodles” or something similar, whereas stir-fried chow mein like what you’re making isn’t known for being particularly crisp. You’re making the second dish they mention on the website and it sounds like your daughter is getting the third one.

Just from this recipe description, I wasn’t getting the browning and crispy noodles they mentioned.

Still tastes good.

When my daughter gets take out the noodles are really crispy, brown, stuck together. Personally, I prefer the way these noodles turned out.

That’s Hong Kong chow mein. It’s the dish I linked above from Souped Up Recipes and Serious Eats.
This is another link from Chinese Cooking Demystified:

It’s made completely differently from what you’re making.

You’re making something more similar to the Made With Lau recipe I linked. Hong Kong chow mein is not stir-fried noodles.


Late to the party, as usual. I find these review links very helpful, though, so I thought I’d add a quick post about a recipe I tried this weekend. (And I have a good excuse for being late-- I was traveling in China in October, now going through serious Chinese food withdrawal).

These wontons are quite small, much smaller than potstickers, and boiled. I think their main function is as a delivery mechanism for spicy chili sauce, so I also made the HOMEMADE CHILI OIL recipe which Tex mentions above. Both were delicious. No wontons left at the end of the meal. I will probably make the wontons again, though I think I would reduce the sugar in the accompanying sauce (added to the chili oil). Now I have chili oil for more tasty dishes.

Sorry forgot to nab a photo before all were eaten.


VEGETABLE FRIED RICE from their blog. Didn’t have bean

sprouts, left the snow peas whole. I wanted to try their SUPREME SOY SAUCE FRIED RICE so I sort of combined the recipes, using the sauce mixture on the veggie fried rice. I like it a lot.

Before I moved to California, I ate Chinese food in Boston, NYC and Michigan and the fried rice was delicious, very brown from being cooked with soy sauce. Here, the rice is just white. So, I really prefer this recipe.

I had 5 cups of cooked Basmati rice, the sauce mixture was as follows:

3/4 teaspoon fish sauce (I used Red Boat)
1 3/4 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 3/4 Tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon oyster sauce



I forgot to put these on my original list. The flavors here are good, tastes like dim sum black bean ribs. So simple – just marinate and steam.

This time I tried a technique that some other recipes recommend, for soaking and massaging the ribs to tenderize and clean the flavor. Did it make a difference? I don’t know, they were pretty good the last time too when I didn’t do any of that. And cornstarch helps tenderize, so I don’t know that I needed to massage anything. But who’s to tell without a side-by-side.

This marinade works works great with chicken too.


Nominations for summer 2024 are live now:

Checking back in on this thread because I made the Soy Sauce Butter Pasta with Shrimp and Shiitakes Cremini Mushrooms. I made tweaked it a little tonight:

  • in place of 3 T. of low sodium soy sauce, I used 1.5 T. low sodium soy sauce, .5 T dark soy sauce, and 1 T. oyster sauce
  • 2 T. cider vinegar and 4 T. water in place of the white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 T. butter (some nights you just need TPSTOB)
  • 8 oz. fresh linguine (Whole Foods store brand)

If the combination of butter and soy sauce is decadent, let me suggest to you that you try the combination of butter and oyster sauce. It is, as Martha Stewart would say, A Good ThingTM.


Tonight I made the veggie fried rice and added wild pink shrimp from WF, on sale … roasted in 400° oven about 10 minutes, Ina’s recipe. So, mixed in at the end.

I’m not going to admit how long this took me. At least I cooked the basmati rice day before yesterday, yesterday did the shrimp. There’s a lot of veggie prep and my knees and now hip ache so had to take a lot of breaks.


That looks delicious!

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It was! I cooked the carrots separately (ones with greens on top have better flavor) frozen baby peas. I made a lot, about 7 cups of cooked rice. I gave some to my Chinese neighbor and her family.

I’m going to try freezing some cause I can’t eat it every day for a week!

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