ON the eve of Australia Day, I am reminded of how our nation has absorbed many facets of our immigrants.
In many kitchens, for example, a wok is a well-used cooking utensil.
But a wok is a rather large cooking utensil and so, in my kitchen, where it doesn't easily fit in a cupboard with the other saucepans, it stays on the stove.
This means I never forget I've got a wok and I use it for all sorts of cooking, from steaming vegetables, to making sauces and soups and for stir-frying.
Traditionally, woks have rounded bottoms because they were originally used on large cast-iron stoves.
They also had two handles on the sides for lifting and carrying them.
These days, most modern woks are made of stainless steel, copper or aluminium, and they also have flat bottoms.
Many modern stoves come with a wok burner, as do more sophisticated barbecues.
The important thing to remember about stir-frying in a wok is speed, so it pays to have everything prepared before you turn on the heat.
This simple dish has only a few ingredients but, nevertheless, they should be ready and waiting before you start.
When I cook the dish, I'm always mindful of a tip given to me by a visiting Chinese chef: If the wok isn't hot enough, the food will stick.
Eggs can be especially sticky, so you want to make sure the wok is good and hot before adding the oil and beginning to cook.
The rapid-fire nature of this preparation, in particular, requires undivided attention.
It's a great breakfast treat, or a casual lunch dish.
TWO-MINUTE TOMATO AND EGGS
- 4 eggs
- 4 tbspn canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, cored, each cut into 8 wedges
- 1 tspn sugar
- Salt, to taste
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced crosswise
Break the eggs into a medium bowl and beat lightly with a fork.
Heat a wok (or stainless-steel frying pan) over high heat until the wok begins to smoke.
Add a tablespoon of oil around the edge of the wok and swirl to coat the bottom and sides.
Pour in the eggs around the edges of the wok.
Cook, stirring once or twice with chopsticks or a spoon to break the eggs into large curds, until the eggs are fluffy but not browned, about 60 seconds.
Transfer the eggs to a plate and set aside.
Wipe out the wok with paper towel and return to high heat until smoking.
Now add the remaining oil around the edge of the wok, swirling to coat the bottom and sides.
Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook, tossing constantly, until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 1 minute.
Stir in the sugar and the reserved eggs and cook, stirring and tossing often, until the eggs are heated through, about 30 seconds.
Season with salt and garnish with the spring onions. Eat immediately.