Tag Archives: Sola wok

Indoor Potjiekos in a Wok

Indoor potjiekos in a wok
Lamb potjie in a Sola wok

Cooking potjiekos indoors in a wok might sound like a total misnomer, but it’s as easy as cooking pot-food the traditional way, and just as delicious.

For the uninitiated, traditional South African outdoor fare, potjiekos (an Afrikaans word) is literally translated as pot (potjie) food (kos), and it is cooked open an open fire in a cast iron, round-bellied, usually three-legged pot.

Indoor Potjiekos in a Wok
A traditional three-legged potjie manufactured by the British firm, Falkirk.

While there are flat-bottomed versions of the traditional potjie, the beauty of three-legged pots is that they can be placed over and above the fire. Alternatively, they can be hung over the fire – which many South Africans like to do when preparing a traditional braai (or barbecue). The shape of the pot ensures that the heat is evenly distributed in all directions, and the juices sit in the base of the pot while the food cooks – with the aroma moving upwards.

Round-bellied pots have been used for centuries, though its origins in southern Africa aren’t certain. Some say that the Voortrekkers used them to cook potjiekos when they travelled, hanging them on their wagons.

However, evidence is that original pots were imported, possibly from Sweden, and definitely from Britain, from manufacturers like Falkirk (which still produces them) and Cannon.

Cooking Potjiekos in a Wok Instead of a Potjie

While I do have a genuine cast iron potjie, I have to confess it isn’t well used. But on Friday, when one of Magic 828AM’s presenters started waxing eloquent on his idea for cooking potjiekos and drinking red wine this weekend, I was tempted to follow suit.

Not knowing quite what to cook, I grabbed a pack of lamb (a mixture of chops, neck and knuckles), and a packet each of baby potatoes and baby onions. Everything else I figured I needed I knew I already had.

And then it started to rain – with a vengeance.

My first thought was to simply make a stew of sorts instead – in a regular pot.

Ping! Why not use my large Sola wok instead? Not my usual choice for cooking stew, it’s got a sort-of rounded bottom, and these days I cook on gas. That could work… And it certainly did, even though the wok isn’t made of cast iron, but rather from forged aluminium that is finished with a tough ceramic coating. The bonus would be that because it has a glass lid, I’d be able to see exactly what was going on during the cooking process.

So out with the recipe books, including a couple of specifically potjiekos titles written by so-called potjiekos pioneer, Matie Brink in the 1980s.

Uninspired, I remembered the baby potatoes and onions, and decided to just do my own thing.

Potjiekos in a Wok My Style

Feel free to use my recipe, or to just be inspired by the idea and create your own. Quantities are approximate:

  • 2 large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 750 g lamb (2 x neck, 4 x chops, 8 x small knuckles
  • Stock (I used two x 25 g sachets of Ina Parma’s concentrated liquid veggie stock)
  • 150 ml water
  • 50 g tomato paste
  • 1 tblsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 150 ml (or more) red wine
  • 12 pickling onions, peeled
  • 10 baby potatoes
  • 4 large carrots, trimmed into chunks
  • Fresh herbs (1 large sprig each of thyme, rosemary, basil, or whatever else you have)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil and lightly fry the chopped onion over medium heat. Move the onion to the sides of the wok and brown the lamb in batches. As each batch browns, move it to the side.

Add the stock, water, tomato paste and Worcestershire Sauce. Stir and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add the wine.

Throw in the veggies. You need a bit of liquid, but you don’t need to submerge the onions, potatoes and carrots to cook them.

Place the herbs on top of the meat and veg and grind black pepper over the top.

Reduce the heat to low and allow to cook for one to two hours, until everything is cooked but still relatively intact. You can adjust the temperature while you are cooking – which of course you cannot do if using a genuine potjie.

Once your potjiekos is done, serve on its own or with a salad.

Cheers – Enjoy

 

Cashew Chicken in a Sola Wok

Sola wok

The First Wok-Cooked Meal in My Sola Challenge

Though I’ve never been to Thailand, I am totally sold on Thai cooking. I’ve always enjoyed eating Thai food, but the challenge of cooking it only goes back about five years when a friend returned from a holiday in Thailand and shared her experiences gained in a traditional Thai cooking course, together with some fantastic recipes.

I almost always use a recipe when cooking – and almost always don’t stick to it. This recipe is no exception, but it is based on a traditional Asian recipe.

I have cooked Cashew Chicken many times, and always in a wok. But the Sola wok, challenged Willem Huisamen, isn’t just any wok. So what better way to test this assumption than to cook something I know well?

Ingredients for about 6 people

Sola wok
Dried red chillies
  • 500g (about 1 lb) raw chicken breast off the bone, sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or any other vegetable oil you prefer cooking with)
  • 2 large (more if they aren’t large) cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 or more dried red chillies, chopped (I dry my own)
  • 1 large red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (preferably naturally brewed Tamari)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • 4-6 spring onions, coarsely chopped
  • 175 g (about 6 oz) raw cashew nuts
  • Coriander leaves (also known as cilantro and dhania) to garnish (optional)

How to Make Your Cashew Chicken

Sola wok
Heat the coconut oil in your wok and then add the garlic and chillies; cook until golden
Sola wok
Now add the chicken and stir-fry until it changes colour. Add the sliced red pepper and continue stir-frying for a few minutes. You can add a few splashes of water if you need to – but if you’re cooking in a Sola wok you won’t need to.
Sola wok
Now add the sauces and sugar and stir-fry till almost done.

The nuts and spring onions are the last ingredients to add to the Cashew Chicken. I like to use raw cashew nuts and let them cook in the sauces for a short while. If you prefer you can use roasted cashews and simply sprinkle them on top with the spring onions and coriander as a triple garnish.

Serve hot with a mixed salad on the side. You could also serve with coconut rice, or even noodles.

Okay, so I agree wholeheartedly that the Sola wok isn’t just any wok!

Sola wok