Smoking food in a wok imparts a deep, delicious flavour into foods. You can smoke to cook, or smoke to impart flavour. The methods are very similar, the process almost identical.
Turning your wok into a smoker is simple and very efficient. You will need your wok – a nice big one from an Asian supermarket is best; lots of alfoil, a round cooling rack or bamboo steamer, and finely ground wood chips.
Line the wok with alfoil so it hangs over the edges all the way around, about 3 – 5 cm.
Make sure it’s THOROUGHLY covered.
Place the wood chips (the ones above I have soaked in water and a little liquid smoke) in the bottom. You only need around a cupful.
Fold a second piece of foil into the shape of the woodchips, and cover.
Pop your steamer over this and centralise. If you don’t have a steamer you can use a cake rack or a roast rack – you need it to sit above the chips without touching. If you use metal, make sure you do not pierce the alfoil.
Now pop your food into the steamer. I am smoking eggplants from my garden, and some Patrice Newell garlic.
Cover the basket with the lid, then lay a layer of alfoil loosely over the top.
Tuck the sides of the top layer down and at the same time, gather the bottom layer’s overhang and crimp them together.
You are doing this to create an almost airtight environment all the way around.
Snug as a bug in a rug.
Heat your flame on ‘high’.
Pop the wok over the flame and reduce to very low. Do not wait too long to do this or your wood chips with catch and begin to blacken.
So will your steamer basket.
Trust me. I know this.
Burned bamboo is not the flavour you wish to share with your guests.
You want a nice, slow smoulder.
You will soon see some drifts of smoke escape from your little smoking machine. A slow smoulder in a smoker that allows some of the smoke to escape produces a better-finished product.
You can hot smoke by leaving the burner on under the wok, turning the foil pouch into a mini oven, or you can get cooler temperatures by blasting it with heat for 1 minute out of every ten. It’ll get hot enough to produce smoke, which will get trapped in the foil and smoke the food without cooking it much
Now, before you open the smoking oven, I strongly suggest you TAKE IT OUTSIDE.
Carefully remove the top foil and the lid. It will release a lot of smoke.
Test your foods for done-ness.
Eggplant and garlic for a baba ganoush.