I’m trying to develop my rudimentary cooking skills with the stoves I produce charcoal on- I currently use a stainless steel wok for everything including boiling water for coffee. The one fact of life is: you can’t turn down the fire, so what’s evolved so far is that I cook in loads of water, watch it boil away and add more as required, so that when I cook bacon, it’s succulent rather than crispy. I have had a bit of success with Pasta alla Carbonara, appropriately enough: boil the pasta of choice to taste, drain and put aside, chop the rashers of bacon into pieces and cook in water as described, drain and add cream, stirring constantly until thickened, add the pasta back in and mix- don’t let it stand still for a second. Serve with parmesan to taste. Very fattening.
Any other, more healthy suggestions?
Make some trivets to put under your wok. That is what was used on the old wood cook stoves to control the heat. They raise the pan off the stove so there is no direct contact.
Brian, select the stove based on what you want to do with it. For most of my cooking, I use stoves with a six inch diameter fuel container. I sometimes use a small cpu fan to increase the power output. Here is a video I made, where I am making 32 Pita breads in one session, using a pair of heavy duty cast iron frying pans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOuoE2KAbQI
The fan shown in this video is from a 386 CPU. It is mounted in an olive can. I also have a very large cast iron wok, and this stove will hardly handle it, because it does not have enough firepower. Big Woks takes lots of heat. Read the comments on the bottom of the video screen for more information. Also, a two page .pdf is downloadable if you want to make some Pita Breads. When I am done cooking, I dump the charcoal into a bucket of water, and eventually wash it to get rid of the ash. Then, I let it dry for several weeks and throw it in with the rest of the charcoal to be screened and graded.
I agree with Richard C., increase the distance from the flame to lower the amount of heat that your pan/wok catches.
As for healthier food choices, use your wok as it was intended: stir fry! Chop up some veggies and set them aside. Chop your meat choice up into small chunks and set aside. Get you wok hot above a “medium” heat. Dump in your meat chunks with some oil (sesame is best) and brown them. Toss in your veggies with some soy sauce, minced garlic, maybe “thai sweet chili sauce” and stir like crazy until they are done (as soon as they are toasty on the outside but still some crisp on the inside is good). One could probably make steamed rice in a wok, if they are careful with the heat.
Ray: I use a computer case fan salvaged an old desktop to boost my small campfires for cooking. I got a thing from Radioshack that lets me power it from 8AA batteries (Each AA=1.5v, 1.58=12v that the fan wants) while in the hills.