When days lengthen and temperatures start mounting in our jungle kitchens, less time slaving away at the stove and more time enjoying our island home becomes priority number one.  This recipe employs the use of a timeless kitchen tool whose sole purpose was to make cooking fast and efficient: the wok.  

With generously high sides and a very relatively small cooking area, the key to a successful wok experience is having all your ingredients cut, stacked, and ready to go.  To top our bowls, we will add a healthful, nutrient-dense sauce to bring it all together.  

Grab your favorite veggies, your choice of aromatics, and your grain of choice, already steaming away in your rice cooker.    I prefer Jasmine rice or if I need a real hit of healthy protein, a combo of French lentils and quinoa. You can substitute your favorite noodle or even cubed roasted sweet potato for the grain.  

Recommended aromatics:  

  • Minced or micro-planed fresh ginger
  • Minced or micro-planed garlic
  • Chili flakes (if you like heat)
  • Green onion/scallion
  • Oil of choice (a neutral fruit oil, my go-to is avocado oil) 

Moving quickly with a heat-proof pair of tongs, grab a pile of your aromatic blend with a little oil with each veggie that passes through the cooking zone of the wok, pull the finished, par-cooked veg up to the sides, and move onto the next veggie until you’ve done all the vegetables. Please note, the veggies will be still exposed to some heat, so good glossing in that fragrant oil and a  quick sear, carryover cooking will occur and finish them off.  

Recommended veggies:  

  • Sugar snap peas
  • Red bell peppers
  • A hearty green like kale or chard
  • Broccolini
  • Zucchini
  • Julienned heirloom carrots
  • Purple daikon/watermelon radish 

Variations of color, texture, and cuts make for visual interest. Remember, we eat with our eyes.  

Next make your sauce, in your blender mix: 

  • Tahini Miso sauce
  • 1/4 cup red or white miso
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Tahini
  • 6 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 micro-planed garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp micro-planed ginger root
  • 1 tsp harissa paste (if you like a little kick, if not, omit) 

Top finished bowls with some peanuts, crispy fried garlic or shallot for extra crunch, and some fresh herbs like Thai basil or cilantro. 

Chef Maja Liotta is a private events chef and Maui-based mother of three.  Additionally, Maja is passionate about sharing the holistic benefits of food and cooking, providing nutritional consultations and private cooking classes for clients looking to broaden their practice of using foods to optimize their well-being.