We are in for a treat tonight. If I had to make a list of my favorite restaurants, Big Wok would be pretty high on that list. Tonight we're going to attempt to Make Big Wok at Home!
Big Wok is a Mongolian BBQ restaurant in Southern California. If you live in the area, surely you've been to it. If you've ever come to visit us, hopefully we've taken you out to eat there.
Just in case you're not familiar with how the whole Mongolian BBQ thing works, I'll give you the run-down. It's buffet style and your first stop is to grab a bowl. Or if you're feeling extra hungry, since Big Wok is all-you-can-eat, grab two bowls.
Your first stop is the meat section where they have frozen curls of meat: chicken, pork, beef, lamb.
Next you'll find a wide array of veggies and some fruits.
After that, you're on to the sauce station. There's 10 or so different sauces you can use to flavor your meat.
Got your bowl? Ah, I see those curls of meat. Time to take them to get cooked.
You'll get in a line and wait your turn, while watching the cooks shuffle to food around the hot grilling surface.
Once you get back to the table, there's sure to be a basket of freshly baked sesame bread waiting for you.
Whew! It's certainly going to be involved getting all this together. Let's start with the meat.
Tonight, we're having beef. The meat is coming out of the freezer, and when it's still partially frozen, I sharpened a knife and shaved off pieces as thin as I could make them.
And we can't forget about all those sauces. I use a lot of sauces together, but one thing I never leave out is the Dragon sauce. It's made from red pepper flakes and oil. I let the oil heat up along with the red pepper flakes. Dipping my finger in the oil, and yes, it's spicy! Perfect!
And I can't stop at just one. I cut up some garlic, boiled it with water and made garlic water. I peeled ginger root, mashed it and sliced it up, and boiled it with water to make ginger water. Same with the lemon water. Theresa used sauce from this Mongolian Beef recipe from themom100.com to make a Mongolian BBQ Sauce. After making a batch, I cut up a jalapeño and mashed it to release the juices. I put some of Theresa's sauce with it to make a Spicy Mongolian BBQ Sauce. We're well represented on the sauces. Sorry Uncle Jacob, no curry sauce here.
Okay, time for some baking. The Big Wok Sesame Bread is so good. Flaky and perfect with honey. It wouldn't be complete if I didn't make that.
Using a recipe from cookinginchinglish.com for Chinese Sesame Flatbread, I made up a dough and set it aside. On the stovetop I mixed together some oil and cake flour, and brought the paste up to a simmer. Once the mixture started taking on some color and looking toasty, I set it aside to cool.
The recipe says I need to roll the dough out to certain dimensions, so I pulled out my tape measure, grabbed some painters tape, and made sure everything is the right size.
My ingredients. The oil paste, toasted sesame seeds, and dough.
First I rolled things to the proper dimensions.
And spread the oil paste across the top. This is what's going to give us those flaky layers.
Next I rolled it into a log and slice it into pieces.
After that, I joined the ends together and then flattened them out. I joined the ends together again and flattened it out again.
I was left with this little dough ball, which I then tossed into the toasted sesame seeds.
Using my rolling pin I flattened it one last time. This is starting to look perfect!
And after 12 minutes at 425F, these are browning up nicely!
Theresa has assembled our buffet!
Our meat section. I made sure to freeze a few pieces with curls, just to be authentic.
One of the best parts about Big Wok is that there's something for everyone. You can always make it your way. There's a variety of vegetables. Theresa loves getting bean sprouts and mushrooms. The kids like baby corn so much that they've re-named Big Wok to Baby Wok. They want as much baby corn as we'll give them.
More veggies. Broccoli, zucchini, red peppers, and onions.
And noodles are the filler that almost every one gets. Almost. Theresa likes using the rice that comes on the table instead.
Hey Alli, I'm going to need some chef hats. Can you help us out?
She grabbed pieces of paper, checked it for proper size, and then put names on each hat.
That's a good looking chef right there!
Awesome job on the hats Alli!
To be proper, everyone is putting their ingredients in a bowl as they went along the line.
After gathering everything up for him, I handed him his bowl.
Ian - Is it going to be cooked?
Haha, yes buddy, it's going to be cooked.
Alli has a very colorful bowl.
And here to make it for you are your two cooks! Both of us are working a pan on the hottest setting we can.
Next it was time for Grammy and Grandpa to get their ingredients.
Theresa was impressed in how full Chi's bowl was. Someone's eyes might be bigger than their stomach.
No matter, Theresa cooked it up.
My bowl looks identical to what I'd get at Big Wok. Lots of meat, pineapples and onions, noodles, and a whole bunch of sauce.
Big Wok is also awesome because when you receive your food it comes to you steaming hot. You can see mine is steaming in front of my black shirt.
Oh yeah! Those sesame breads look so good!
And we've got a whole plate full of them.
Tearing them in half, I see lots of flaky layers! Awesome!
Those layers are perfect for filling up with honey, just like when we go to the real Big Wok!
The bread is a favorite of everyone!
The kids made sure to get lots of baby corn in their bowls.
Mmm. Bread and honey.
Chi and Richard both thought it was a very tasty meal, especially the bread.
Alli thought it was the best meal we've made at home! Theresa wanted to clarify, was it better than Chicken Dijon?
Alli said yes! She likes it even better than Chicken Dijon! Ian was eating more bread than noodles and meat, so Alli came over and helped him clean up his plate.
It wasn't the perfect recreation of Big Wok, but it was still a really good Mongolian BBQ at home! This might have to make it into our normal meal rotation!