Dragon’s Breath - Wok Hei at Home

Ok so it’s not quite Smaug burning up Lake-town level of scorch, but this technique involves heat, lots of heat.

Wok Hei (literally the breath of the wok) refers to the complex smoky flavours that a searing hot wok imparts to food during stir frying. Some argue that it’s almost impossible to achieve at home but you can still get a good result following some basic hawker stir fry hacks.


1. Prepare your ingredients in advance, making sure they are as dry as possible. Pat with paper towel if needed. Don’t be greedy, work in small batches. Crowding your wok means the food won’t sear and blister and instead steam.

2. Use a seasoned wok or cast iron pan. You need to gradually heat it up so it’s screaming smoking hot, then (and only then) add a drizzle of oil. Adding the oil too early means it’ll burn and too much oil results in fried food. Nobody wants that.

3. Add your ingredients. Appreciate the loud hiss as they hit the oil. Don’t panic now and stir fry frantically. You’re a wok boss, not a newbie. Let them sear for a moment, then stir and repeat.

4. Finally, for the Foodie Fanatics, if you have a gas torch, char your stir fry on the top. But remember Health and Safety rules. We don’t want you singed, only your food.

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