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Posts Tagged ‘wok’

REVIEW: Man Pans Stir Fry Wok & Steamer Set

Posted by Caveman Cooking on December 2, 2010

Man Pans Stir Fry Wok & Steamer SetRecently, the folks at Man Pans asked me if I would be willing to do a review of one of their pans here on C3. I did some research into their product line and was impressed by what they purported to offer. Turns out that Man Pans is actually the recently formed consumer division of Lloyd Industries who have been providing professional lines of cookware to chefs and restaurants since the mid 1980’s. In fact, if you’ve ever had a restaurant pizza baked in a pan, it was probably a Lloyd pan. I also discovered that all of Man Pans products are made in the USA using eco-friendly manufacturing techniques. None of their pans contain PTFE’s, PFOA’s or Fluoropolymer coatings. Obviously, I readily agreed … besides, I am always ready to play with a new toy!
They offered to send me the pan of my choosing, and that was all the invitation I needed to start scouring their product line for the perfect pan to do a review on. However, being that I was already in the market for both a new wok and a new steamer, I figured the 12″ Stir Fry Wok and Steamer Set was the logical choice – two birds with one stone, if you will.
I was a little hesitant to ask for one of their highest priced items, but they didn’t bat an eye. A few days after informing them of my choice, a package was left on the front porch containing everything you see here. Yep, they even threw in the makings for some St. Marie’s Wild Chicken Soup! Apparently, they send out some free gifts with most of their orders. I couldn’t wait to get my review going, and you probably can’t now either. So, without further adieu, here is what I found as I ran this puppy through it’s paces:

When I first removed the pan from the box, I was absolutely amazed at how light it felt. Usually, you expect pro-level pans to be a bit on the heavy side, conveying a feeling of sturdiness and toughness. While lighter pans have always seemed to be a sign of inferior quality and design. This was certainly not the case with the Man Pans Stir Fry Wok, as we’ll see. Though, as you can see from the picture, I was easily able to hold onto the pan with two fingers and applying very little pressure. I wouldn’t have dared trying this with my old wok, or even with my smaller Calphalon Stir Fry Pan.
Man Pans Stir Fry Wok

I was also impressed by the rather large profile it exhibited. It was only slightly smaller than the wok it was destined to replace, while easily dwarfing my smaller Calphalon model. Usually, I end up making two versions of every Asian meal I cook – a carnivore rendering for the Cavekids and me, and a veggie-friendly version for the Cavewoman. So, two woks are a must in the Cavehold. It seemed as though the new Man Pans wok would easily be able to handle cooking the larger amounts of food needed to fill three Neanderthal palates.
Comparing Woks

The entire Man Pans line contains their proprietary Gem-X2 coating. It is a two layer sapphire/quartz-like natural mineral finish that is permanently bonded to the aluminum pan. It will not flake, chip or rub off and is metal utensil safe, and oven safe to 700° F. Man Pans claims that the finish is so tough you can rub a coin on the surface and not only will you not scratch the finish, but the coin will actually get worn down! I decided not to test that claim, though. 😉
While the Gem-X2 coating does offer a stick-resistant finish, it is a good idea to coat any new pan with some Canola, or other vegetable oil. Other than that, no further seasoning is needed on the Man Pans. Interestingly, I also found that I didn’t need to use any more oil in the cooking processes than I would using any of the traditional non-stick cookware.
Oiling Pan

Of course, the first thing I was going cook in the pan was stir fry. I decided to just do one of my basic recipes, with a Pork loin version in the Man Pans wok, and a Tofu one on the smaller Calphalon. I figured that not only would I make my wife happy, but, I’d also get to run the pans side by side for a comparison of sorts. Both pans heated up quite quickly, though, the Man Pans Stir Fry Wok seemed to get there slightly quicker. Noteworthy, considering that it has much more surface area to heat. I placed my hand into the pan, without touching it, and could feel that the heat was very evenly radiated.
I put the oil into the pan and it deftly got to cooking level. I sauteed the chopped garlic and found that it cooked perfectly, while I struggled to prevent it from burning in the comparison pan. Turns out, that the Man Pans are designed to cook extremely evenly, and use about 40% less heat from the flame to achieve proper heat levels than most other pans. Making them very “green” in the cooking process as well as in the way they are manufactured.
Another nice feature on the Man Pans are the handles. Their unique CoolGrip handle design minimizes the amount of heat that can be conducted from the hot pan. So, while I always need some sort of mitt or potholder with my Calphalon, I was glove free and felt absolutely no heat as long as I kept my meat-hooks behind the “Hot” marker, even when using the high flame necessary for proper stir frying.
Sauteeing Garlic/Handle

I put the pork loin into the pan to start the browning process. It quickly began to sear and it wasn’t long before I was ready to turn the meat. I was going to reach for the spatula, but the steep sides of the Man Pans Stir Fry Wok invited me to go for a flip of the meat instead. I wasn’t sure if the meat would release easily enough to complete such a move, though my fears were quickly assuaged. As you can see, all of the pork chunks readily released for a very easy flip … I just could have done a better job of completing the move! 😳
Flipping Meat

I added the veggies to the stir fry, and wanted to give the food another flip. Again, it all released immediately and effortlessly. As you can see in the background, the spatula just sat there … I didn’t need to use it once while cooking in the Man Pans Wok. FYI, I don’t even attempt to try that move with the Calphalon, it’s sides are too slanted making it very easy to lose some of the contents when attempting the flip.
Flipping Stir Fry

The stir fry came out perfectly. The meat was cooked to perfection, the veggies remained crispy and firm, and the sauce I added slightly caramelized the stir fry’s ingredients perfectly. Over the course of my weeklong examination I ended up making two more dishes calling for a wok: another basic stir fry and a batch of my Chicken Panang (Thai Red Curry in Coconut Milk). Both, ended up being cooked to perfection, as well. However, I wanted to also give the steamer a go. Unfortunately, it isn’t deep enough to steam larger vegetables, like an Artichoke (my lone negative note on this set). I had to give something else a try and decided to make some Veggie Wonton Soup. Rather than boil my Won Tons in the soup, which tends to tear them apart, I like to steam them first then add them to the soup when it comes time to turn things down to a simmer. By using this set, I was able to steam them while the broth and veggies cooked below. I think it helped add more flavor to the Won Tons. Plus, I didn’t have to use a separate steamer – saving a pan of water, the gas necessary to heat it, and the resources needed to clean it. Making the Man Pans Stir Fry Wok, once again, very eco-friendly.
Steaming Won Tons

I must say that cleaning the Man Pans Stir Fry Wok is almost as satisfying as cooking with it. Returning the pan to it’s pristine state is quick and easy with a little dish soap and some warm water. No heavy scrubbing was needed no matter what was cooked in it. Though, if you ever do need to give it a vigorous cleaning, it is recommended that you re-oil the pan before the next time you cook with it.
Cleaning Pan

For years, I have been a Calphalon devotee. But, using the Man Pans Wok side by side with my old faithful has truly opened my eyes. Using a lighter pan certainly made things much easier in the handling department. Using less energy while cooking and achieving the same results is definitely an attractive quality. And, being made here in the USA using very environmentally friendly processes makes the Man Pans an exciting prospect. But, the bottom line is how they cook the food you are preparing … and on this level the Man Pans ran at least on par, if not better, than my trusty old Calphalon. My only complaint is with the depth of the steamer insert. Though, when you combine all of the pluses apparent in the Man Pans product, I feel as though I have found a new standard by which I will be judging cookware from here on out. The only other downside I see is that I now want to try out all of their other offerings! 😉
Man Pans 12

MSRP – $135, seen on sale for $100

Cave Club Rating: 5 Clubs
Cave ClubCave ClubCave ClubCave ClubCave Club

Cave Club Scale
5 Clubs = The Missing Link
4 Clubs = Rock Solid
3 Clubs = Better Than Sharp Stick
2 Clubs = Not Fully Evolved
1 Club = Should Be Extinct

The folks at Man Pans were also kind enough to offer all the readers of this review a generous 20% discount on any purchase made before 12/20/2010. Just enter Coupon Code “2010F&F” on the checkout page of your order and the discount will be applied. You may use that code as often as you like before it expires.
As you know, we only give away products that we believe in and use here on C3. Since I clearly have become a fan of Man Pans, I approached them about the possibility of doing a giveaway here on the blog. Their response was, to say the least, overwhelming! Don’t miss your chance to win some of Man Pans’ finest, as we launch the biggest and best giveaway we have ever undertaken … the Want Pans? Giveaway.

©2010 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at authored by Caveman. This may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

Posted in Tools & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Chicken Panang (Thai Red Curry in Coconut Milk)

Posted by Caveman Cooking on December 31, 2009

Food Buzz Top 9 for Caution: Caveman Cooking

This recipe was honored with a FoodBuzz Top 9!

This is delicious, traditional Thai table fare. It has a little heat, but it gets cut by the Coconut Milk. Definitely worth a try!


2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Can (19 oz.) Coconut Milk
2 oz. Thai Panang Curry Paste (or substitute Thai Red Curry paste)
3-4 Garlic Cloves
2 Medium Carrots, peeled
1/3 Pound French Green Beans, rinsed
4 Large Fresh Basil Leafs, rinsed
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil


NOTE: I usually use peas and red bell pepper instead of green beans, but I saw an opportunity to get two ingredients into the Freezer Food Fest. It also goes to show that this recipe can accommodate just about any tweeks you want to attempt. Try broccoli, snap peas, bamboo shoots, etc. They all work incredibly well and help create variety for each incarnation of this delicious dish.
Chop carrots, mince garlic, and slice basil. Set aside.
HINT #1: Try to get authentic Thai Panang curry paste and Thai coconut milk, if you can. The taste and texture difference from their Americanized counterparts is very noticeable. If you can’t find Panang paste use the widely available Thai Red Curry paste and add some ground Kaffir Lime leaves (again, if you can find them) or zest of lime.

Cut chicken breasts into medium bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Heat oil in wok or stir-fry pan. Add garlic and curry paste, saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken to pan. Cook fully.
HINT #2: If things start to get too dried out in the pan, add a small splash of the coconut milk or some water.

Add green beans and carrots … everyone into the pool!  Stir in for about a minute.

Add Coconut milk and stir in well.

Stir in basil while barely bringing liquid to a light boil (just starting to show bubbles).
NOTE: Notice another great hand-model “headshot”. Though, I’ve decided against a new career in metacarpus modeling … I don’t think I could hang with daily manicures. 😉

Remove from heat and serve over steamed rice along with some Thai Table Sauce (Prik Nam Pla).

HINT #3: This recipe can easily be made veggie-friendly. Just substitute some Extra Firm Tofu for the chicken. Be sure to lightly brown the Tofu in a little bit of oil FIRST. Then proceed as chronicled above.

Tofu Panang

Prep Time = 12 minutes
Cook Time = 15 minutes
Serves 4-6

©2009 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This recipe originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at authored by Caveman. This recipe may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

Posted in Asian, Main Course, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments »

King Crab Wontons

Posted by Caveman Cooking on December 15, 2009

A neo-Caveman’s twist on an ancient Chinese delight.


2 Medium/Large King Crab Legs – Cooked
24 Wonton Wrappers
24 tsp. Cream Cheese
3 Water Chestnuts
1 Green Onion
2 Tbsp. Corn Starch
1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil


Mince water chestnuts and finely chop green onion. Set aside.
Use kitchen shears or nut cracker to open crab legs and remove all meat. Break into small bite-sized pieces.

Split corn starch evenly and spread onto two plates.

Set up a work station with crab meat, cream cheese, green onion, water chestnuts, wonton wrappers, a small bowl of water, and corn starch plates all within easy reach.

Position a single wonton wrapper on a clean, dry plate. Place 1 teaspoon of cream cheese, an equal amount of crab meat, and a pinch each of green onion and water chestnut in the center of the wrapper.

Wet your finger with water and moisten two adjacent edges of the wonton wrapper. Then, diagonally fold the dry edges over onto the wet edges and firmly seal together with your finger. Finally, moisten two opposite corners, fold and seal together. BINGO! You have just made a “Bishop’s Hat” wonton!!

Place completed wonton onto corn starch plate.
HINT: Try experimenting with different shapes of wonton. For example, you can position the wrapper as a rectangle, moisten the edges along the top half, then fold and seal lengthwise. Pinch the ends and make a “George Washington’s Hat” (pictured below with Bishop’s Hats). Just be sure all edges are well sealed or the cream cheese will leak out during cooking.

When all wontons have been made, cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 15 minutes. This helps them retain their shape when placed in hot oil.
HINT #2: If 24 wontons are too many for your immediate needs, before cooking, just place the extras in a container and freeze until ready for use at a later date.
Heat oil in a wok, stir fry pan or large sauce pan. Place 5-6 wontons in oil and cook until edges start to turn golden brown.

Then gently flip them over with a slotted spoon and continue to cook until entire wonton starts to turn golden brown. Gently remove wontons from oil with slotted spoon and place on plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Continue process until all wontons are cooked.

Serve with Chinese Plum Sauce for dipping. I like to spice mine up a bit with several shakes of the Chili Oil bottle.

Prep Time = 30 minutes
Cook Time = 15-20 minutes
Makes 24 Wontons

©2009 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This recipe originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at authored by Caveman. This recipe may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

Posted in Appetizers, Asian, Seafood | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Thai Red Curry (Pad Prik King)

Posted by Caveman Cooking on November 11, 2009

A Caveman’s take on a classic Thai dish. Besides, I had to give you something to put the Thai Table Sauce (Nam Pla Prik) on!


4 Chicken Thighs or 2 Large Breasts
1/4 lbs. Fresh Green Beans
1 Small Crown of Broccoli
1/4 Sweet Onion
4 Tbsp. Cooking Oil
3 Tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
1 Tbsp. Sugar


Skin, then bone chicken and cut into bite sized pieces (approximately 1 square inch).

Chop all veggies into bite sized pieces.

In a Wok or Stir Fry pan, heat oil over a medium high flame. Add curry paste and stir fry for about 3 minutes.

Add sugar and stir in well. Then, add chicken and cook until almost done, stirring often.

Add broccoli and green beans and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Don’t over cook the veggies, or they get too soft and lose much of their nutritional value.

Add onions and stir fry an additional minute.

Remove from flame, and serve with steamed rice and Thai Table Sauce (Nam Pla Prik).
HINT #1: If this condiment is too spicy for you, just use some plain Fish Sauce to add some additional flavor.

NOTE: Traditionally, this dish is made only with green beans and meat, but I like throwing in the broccoli and onions for added flavor and complexity. This dish can also be made with beef, pork, lamb, shrimp or tofu! While you can make your own curry paste, there are several authentic canned Thai pastes available that are great. Trader Joe’s has a decent one (in a small bottle), too.
HINT #2: If making this recipe with tofu, be sure to lightly brown it in the Wok with a little oil before adding it to the curry paste, oil and sugar.

Prep Time = 15 minutes
Cook Time = 15 minutes
Serves 4

©2009 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This recipe originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at authored by Caveman. This recipe may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

Posted in Asian, Main Course | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »