Stir-Frying Without a Wok

Genevieve Ko wrote about achieving wok hei in her recipe for stir-fried brussels sprouts.

By Sam Sifton

Good morning. I loved this column Genevieve Ko wrote for the newspaper that we sent to the plant yesterday, printed overnight, stuffed into blue bags and hurled in the direction of our home-delivery subscribers’ front doors this morning. It’s about how she’s keeping the culinary traditions of her immigrant parents alive, adapting Western kitchen equipment to the Cantonese recipes she grew up with and achieving the smoky deliciousness known as wok hei, or “breath of the wok,” using a skillet, oil, water and a lid. (Our gadget-mad colleague J. Kenji López-Alt uses a propane torch to achieve similar results.)

So I’d like to make her stir-fried brussels sprouts (above) this evening, perhaps to accompany a plate of classic kung pao chicken or, if I can remember to get some fuel for my Bernzomatic 8000, Kenji’s ace smoky lo mein with shiitake and vegetables. Won’t you join me?

There’s so much I’d like to cook this week, as it happens. With a little chill in the evening air where I stay, I’d enjoy a bowl of this excellent cannellini-bean pasta with beurre blanc for dinner some night, perhaps with a little boule of simple crusty bread. In a similar, comforting direction, there’s roast chicken with maple butter and rosemary, which I like with simple mashed potatoes and some Vichy carrots.

Or maybe pan-roasted fish fillets with herb butter, fantastic beside a mound of rice? Crispy lamb meatballs with chickpeas and eggplant (and warm pita, please)? And if time becomes an issue, the commute runs long, you might consider this quick tomato soup with grilled cheese? Those soft and quiet flavors are perfect for fall.

Thousands and thousands more recipes to fit your needs and delight your palate are waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. You need a subscription to access them, it’s true, and I’m guessing you know why: Subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. I hope, if you haven’t already, that you will subscribe to New York Times Cooking today.

And if anything goes sideways along the way, either with your cooking or our technology? Please ask us for help: [email protected] Someone will get back to you, I promise. (If not, bark at me: [email protected] I read every letter sent.)

Now, it’s nothing to do with parsnips or shiso leaves, but Joseph Finder got me to read John le Carré’s last novel, “Silverview,” and I’m glad I did. Moral ambivalence is quite delicious, as it happens.

Here’s our Priya Krishna with a thought-provoking video exploration of the question, “Why Do Grocery Stores Still Have Ethnic Aisles,” on our YouTube channel. (You also follow us on Instagram, right?)

True crime in New York Magazine this week: Greg Donahue on “The Murders Down the Hall.”

Finally, do take a few minutes to read Katherine Rosman and Elizabeth A. Harris in The Times, on the succession battle at the Scholastic publishing company. Dramatic! Enjoy that, and I’ll be back on Friday.

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