Healthy dinner in a wok

February 26, 2008 5:25:47 PM PST
Elham Shahmohammadi from Sur La Table showed us how we can cook a healthy dinner with a wok, for our family.

Wok-Flashed Salt and Pepper Chicken
Serves 4

    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
    1 teaspoon ground Szechwan peppercorns
    2 tablespoons coarse sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
    5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    8 scallions, green and white parts, finely chopped

In a large bowl, combine the ground peppers, sea salt, and cornstarch and mix. Dredge the chicken in the salt and pepper mixture. Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the ginger, garlic and scallions and sauté, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and stir-fry 4 to 6 minutes. Mound rice on an oval platter, top with chicken and serve.

Lemon Basmati Rice
Serves 4

    2 cups basmati rice
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    4 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped and reserved separately
    Zest of 2 lemons plus juice of 1
    2 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh ginger
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
    3 cups low-sodium canned chicken stock

Place the rice in a large bowl, add water to cover, and swish rice to wash. Pour off the water and repeat washing until water is clear. Drain well. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat bottom of the pan. When oil shimmers, add white scallion pieces and lemon zest and saute, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add rice and ginger and cook, stirring, until rice is opaque, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and stock and cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to slow and simmer until the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender-firm, 20-25 minutes. Remove the rice form the heat and allow to rest, covered, 25 minutes more. Fluff rice with a fork, correct seasoning, sprinkle with scallion greens and serve.

About Elham Shahmohammadi:
Elham has been a cooking instructor for the past eight years. She began teaching at Viking HomeChef and is now a private instructor in addition to teaching a variety of classes at Sur La Table. She has always had a passion for cooking which really shows in her creativity and technique for teaching.

Elham is the owner and Executive Chef of Blue Sage. Blue Sage offers exceptional catering and event planning services, gourmet cooking lessons, and private chef services, for discriminating clients throughout the greater San Jose and San Francisco areas. For more information and sample menus, please visit her website at: