Use code SIDECHEF for $10 off your first shoppable recipe order.

Blogger Spotlight: Easy Asian Recipes with Wok & Skillet

Meet Char of Wok & Skillet and learn her tips and tricks for easy Asian recipes you can make at home for your family.
Sandie at SideChef
Director of Content Management, which is code for looking at delicious food all day and solving cooking problems so you don't have to.
Love This Recipe?
Sandie at SideChef
Director of Content Management, which is code for looking at delicious food all day and solving cooking problems so you don't have to.

Meet Char (short for Charmaine), the recipe developer, author, and photographer behind Wok & Skillet, where she ‘takes the mystery out of Asian cooking so that you can make your favorite takeout dishes at home’.

Aside from her blog, she works full-time and is a busy mom of two boys. She currently lives in Malaysia with her husband David and her sons, Jayden and Brennan. Although she was born and raised in Malaysia, Char lived in the United States for 15 years after attending university in Oregon.

Some of her favorite things in life include french fries, going to the beach, Midori sours, and listening to true crime podcasts. She’s like the friend in your head, am I right?

Having spent many years in both the United States and Malaysia, how did these two cultures shape your food journey?

I am so lucky to have lived in both of these countries. With Malaysia being a melting pot of multicultural and multi-ethnic cuisine, I was already somewhat exposed to a lot of American and ”Western” food but when I moved abroad, I still experienced a bit of culinary culture shock…but in a good way!

I learned how to cook and discovered that I really enjoyed it! I watched Food Network all day, every day to learn as much as I could about cooking.

Over time, I started to really miss authentic home-cooked Asian food. I regretted not spending more time actively helping my mum and my grandmother in the kitchen when I was little. But I started to learn and found myself really drawn to Asian cooking so this became my focus.
Now that I’m living in Malaysia again, I often prepare the dishes I enjoyed in America as I reminisce about my time there.

How did you start Wok & Skillet?

While I was living in the States, I started Wok & Skillet as a creative outlet and as a way to challenge myself to improve my cooking skills. Living so far away from my family and the foods that I grew up with, I started on this culinary journey to learn how to cook for myself, and to attempt to replicate the foods that I missed so much. I also had an interest in photography so I figured that starting a blog would be a good way to combine these two passions. Thankfully, my cooking skills did continue to get better over the years, and now, I’m so excited to be able to share these recipes with the world.

Introduce us to some of your favorite traditional foods and drinks from Malaysia?

I loved Malaysian Satay ever since I was little. There are several versions of Satay here in Southeast Asia. The Malaysian version features spices like fresh lemongrass, turmeric, ground coriander seeds, cumin, and a touch of sugar for sweetness.

Another popular dish here is Nasi Lemak. Coconut rice is served with spicy sambal and an assortment of other ingredients like peanuts and fried anchovies. There are almost no boundaries on what foods should be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner here, so although Nasi Lemak is typically enjoyed for breakfast (even though it is spicy!), it really can be eaten at any time of the day.

I live in Penang which is a small island on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Penang is known for its street food and a must-try dish here is Char Koay Teow. Flat rice noodles are stir-fried in a flavorful soy sauce mixture with shrimp and bean sprouts over high heat in a really well-seasoned wok.

What are your favorite Asian recipes to make for your family?

When I’m not testing recipes, some of the dishes that often make an appearance at our dinner table include Korean Beef, Mongolian Beef, Teriyaki Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, and Soy Sauce Braised Pork Belly.

I usually serve a protein dish with a side of vegetables stir-fried with garlic, and of course, steamed rice. Sometimes, I would add crispy fried egg topped with soy sauce.

Due to my busy schedule, simplicity is key.

What are your go-to pantry-friendly Asian ingredients?

Soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, ground white pepper, garlic, and ginger. These ingredients set a good foundation to make great Asian meals.

I have prepared a list of essential Asian pantry ingredients here in this blog post.

For those new to Asian cuisine, what are the basic skills you recommend everyone should learn to create the perfect Asian recipe?

The wok is the central tool in Asian cooking so to create the perfect Asian dish, you will need to learn how to use your wok. Get comfortable with stir-frying and learn to control the heat from your burner. Also, learn how to season and maintain your wok.

Stir-frying is a super-fast cooking process so make it a habit to have all of your ingredients ready before you even turn on the burner to heat up your wok. Your hands will be too busy stir-frying and you won’t have time to measure the sauce ingredients. Having all the ingredients ready ahead of time makes stir-frying so quick and easy!

What’s next for you and Wok & Skillet in 2021 and beyond?

More recipes, more videos, and I’m working on overcoming my shyness in order to get in front of the camera more often for live videos, cooking demos, etc. My Mum and I have also been dreaming of writing a cookbook together.

I hope that Wok & Skillet will continue to grow and be a go-to resource for those looking for Asian recipes and that it will inspire more people to try Asian cooking.

If you loved this interview, check out some of Wok & Skillet’s recipes you can cook and shop on SideChef.

PEANUT-FREETREE NUT-FREE

Penang Char Kway Teow

Wok & Skillet
Sign Up for the SideChef
Newsletter
Get weekly recipes, grocery shopping, meal planning, and home-cooking inspiration sent straight in your inbox
Will be used in accordance with our PRIVACY POLICY.
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
How I Made Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme at Home
WHAT'S IN SEASON
What’s in Season in September, and How to Cook It
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
The Tremendous Tale of Taco Tuesday: Trademarks, Trends, and Tribulations
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
Tacos Are Trending on Tinder and Other 22 Taco Facts You Didn’t Know
TIPS & TRICKS
How to Make the Perfect Sushi Burrito
CULINARY PARTNER FEATURE
Blogger Spotlight: Jon Bailey of 2DadsWithBaggage
TRENDING
How To: Poke Bowls
RECIPE REVIEW
Here are the Winners of Our Mac and Cheese Taste-Off
FOOD & SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainable Superfoods: Seaweed
TIPS & TRICKS
Meal Planning on a Budget
TRENDING
Mastering "Meatless": A Beginner's Guide To Eating Less Meat
CULINARY PARTNER FEATURE
4 Professional Bloggers on their Supermom Powers
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
How I Made Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme at Home
Bring the drive-thru to your kitchen with this customizable copycat of a Taco Bell classic. Loaded with seasoned ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream it is worth every calorie!
WHAT'S IN SEASON
What’s in Season in September, and How to Cook It
A list of fruits and vegetables in season in September alongside recipe recommendations.
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
The Tremendous Tale of Taco Tuesday: Trademarks, Trends, and Tribulations
Have you ever wondered why we all know to look for the best Taco Tuesday deals? Or why it’s a thing to make tacos for Tuesday dinner? Why is it Taco Tuesday and not Thursday? What does Lebron James have to do with tacos? And who invented the Taco Tuesday tradition we all enjoy? Get ready for a crazy story.
WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK
Tacos Are Trending on Tinder and Other 22 Taco Facts You Didn’t Know
We all know that tacos are delicious. We all know you can have tacos for breakfast, tacos for lunch, tacos for dinner, for munchies, for a game night, for after-hours… you should know that you can have a taco bar for your wedding (number one on my #WeddingGoals pinboard). But I bet you didn’t know most of these taco facts.
TIPS & TRICKS
How to Make the Perfect Sushi Burrito
The instagramable fusion food turned into a perfect weeknight meal.
CULINARY PARTNER FEATURE
Blogger Spotlight: Jon Bailey of 2DadsWithBaggage
Take a glimpse into doting father Jon Bailey’s insights on food and how they’re raising two teenage girls.
TRENDING
How To: Poke Bowls
Poke bowls are a delicious, compact way to enjoy a burst of Hawaiian flavor. Packed with fresh fish, tons of veggies, and a sprinkling of savory toppings, they are super nutritious and easy to put together. Get ready to say aloha to your new favorite meal!
RECIPE REVIEW
Here are the Winners of Our Mac and Cheese Taste-Off
Extra cheese, please! In our first culinary partner throwdown, Marley’s Menu’s classic mac and cheese recipe gets high honors
FOOD & SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainable Superfoods: Seaweed
Learn more about all the ways seafood is changing the game, and how to start working it into your own diet!
TIPS & TRICKS
Meal Planning on a Budget
Cooking at home can spare you money, calories, and even time if you play it right. We're here to guide you through the art of meal planning!
TRENDING
Mastering "Meatless": A Beginner's Guide To Eating Less Meat
Ready to take your first meat-free steps in the kitchen? We have you covered.
CULINARY PARTNER FEATURE
4 Professional Bloggers on their Supermom Powers
Motherhood is hard work, but the amazing moms of our Culinary Partner Network sure make it look easy!
You're one smart cookie! 🍪
By using this site, you agree to the use of cookies by SideChef and our partners for analytics and personalized content. ACCEPT
SideChef: 18k Recipes, Meal Planner, Grocery List, Personalization
INSTALL APP
Make cooking easy
Discover personalized recipes, organize your meal plans, shop ingredients, and cook with confidence alongside our FREE, step-by-step cooking app.