The other week I attended an event at Tower Bridge (more on this coming up soon) and I was introduced to the people from School of Wok while Jeremy Pang, the founder, was giving a demo in the extreme heat and with the wrong flour. The next week they got in touch and invited me along to try out Chinese Unchopped, one of the newer offerings at School of Wok and this time, ran by Jeremy himself. I eagerly accepted and got my crab claw ready (you’ll see).
Jeremy recently released his first book (also called Chinese Unchopped) and the class was based around a few of the recipes from the book. On the menu for tonight was Braised Aubergine, Vegetarian Gyoza and a Steak in Black Bean. It was great to spend the evening in the company of Jeremy as well as a few familiar faces like Erica and Rosie. Jeremy’s whole philosophy is based around prep being the key. You’ll only spend a short time actually doing the cooking as long as your prep is done in advance and just right. He spent the first chunk talking us through the different chopping techniques and knife choices. This is where the crab claw comes into play. He’s very particular about no one losing any of their precious fingers (who’d have thought it?) and is all about the crab claw technique; position your hand on the table in a claw like position, keeping your fingers bent slightly and keeping your middle finger ahead of the others (you never want the back fingers to go in advance of it) and rest the blade of the knife against it, always slicing (not chopping) by pushing away from you and all the way through to the board.
Once we’d traversed our way through chopping (without losing any fingers) Jeremy talked us through assembling a gyoza. I’ve been wanting to make gyoza for absolutely ages, and now I’ve (just about) got the technique down I
want NEED to make more (in fact I was chatting with Vani from Chopstick Panorama about us organising small blog classes where a few of us get together and teach each other stuff like this that we’ve learnt). It’s all down to the Mickey Mouse technique if you want a simple gyoza and after about 5 I was starting to get the hang of it (Rosie got there a wee bit faster).
After all the prep (once the knives were away) we had a chance to enjoy a glass of wine while he talked us through the cooking steps in the kitchen in the back. He cracked out his Wok Clock (see the book, but basically it’s all about laying out your ingredients in the order you’ll need them) and we got to follow suit to finish up with our food and have a chat over a meal which we’d cooked.
My visit to School of Wok was a lot of fun, and it was great to have Jeremy talk us through everything. He talks with real passion for his craft and it really shows. His book is worth checking out and so is a trip to the school. He isn’t always there to do the teaching but he has a select few that take his place and more than hold their own. He’s a host of other classes so if this one isn’t for you I’m sure you’ll find something else to interest you. Also don’t forget to check out his new book, which you can grab here.
There are a whole host of other photos on my flickr, so please go and look. I’ll also be blogging the recipe for the Gyoza soon as I am keen to make them again.