If you are a fan of traditional Oriental cuisine, especially Chinese, the Wok Festival is something you will absolutely enjoy. The brainchild of Wan Hao’s chef Dawa Lama, this festival promises a wide range of Oriental specialties which are made quickly and most importantly are healthy to eat not just because of the carefully selected ingredients that are tossed, but also because of the cooking methods used.
As the festival name tells you, it’s all about food cooked in a wok. Now the wok is a versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel which traces its origins to China. A popular feature in Oriental cuisine, woks are used for just about every cooking technique be it stir-frying, steaming, pan frying, poaching, boiling, smoking, stewing, searing, braising, deep frying, roasting and even for fermenting rice wine. Here, chef Lama, who specializes in Oriental Cuisine, is using the wok to stir-fry a whole range of delicacies from the region. “All the dishes on the festival menu are stir-fried and hence, healthy because they are not cooked for long. To ensure perfectness, I have opted to use leaner and softer cuts of meat that will cook faster,” he explains.
From starters to the soups to the main course to the desserts, the specially created menu has a wide range catering to both, the vegetarians as well as the non-vegetarians.
You can start your meal with some grilled curried mushroom parcels. Using three varieties of mushrooms button, Shitaki and oyster, marinated in an oriental curry masala, the mushrooms are first grilled and then stir-fried and packed in foil parcels. Open the parcel and the aroma of the curry spices is sure to whet your appetite for the rest of the meal. The wok seared fish tossed in chili ho-sin sauce is another winner at the start itself. The delicious flavours of the sauce bring alive both, the delicateness of the fish and consequently, the whole dish. You can also try out the wok seared wantons or the Thai spiced prawns or the dim sums. If you are a soup person, take your pick from the lemon chili coriander soup or the fish and spinach clear soup or the tomato tofu and mushroom soup or the spicy prawn clear soup all of which are just bursting with a whole range of flavours.
For the main course, you can choose between a range of rice or noodle preparations like wok seared hakka noodles, pan fried noodles, braised E Fu Noodles and ginger coriander fried rice, in vegetable, chicken and prawn options. There are a range of vegetable, chicken, beef, prawn and pomfret dishes to accompany the rice or the noodles. The quick fried chicken in black pepper sauce was a sure winner for us. The spice of the black pepper sauce and the sweetness of the onions perfectly coats chunks of succulent chicken. The pan fried fillet of pomfret tossed in a chili oyster sauce is also worth a try as is the wok fried beef in a barbeque onion sauce. The wok braised eggplant (brinjal) in a fiery looking but actually very subtle chili garlic sauce and the beans, chestnuts and mushrooms in pepper sauce are good options for the vegetarians. If it’s seafood you are craving for, try out the wok tossed prawns or the wok fried snapper.
Top off your scrumptious meal with some delicious mango pudding or a toffee banana and you’ll leave a happy foodie thanks to the delicious and healthy fare you’ve just been treated to.
The Wok Festival is on at the Wan Hao oriental restaurant, Goa Marriott from June 16 to 27