Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts from Chris Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine

Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts will turn Brussels Sprouts haters into LOVING them and vegetable eaters into die hard Brussels Sprout addicts!  They have 3 qualities I always talk about: flavor, texture, color in that order. Wok Charring is a fail proof technique that’s quick and easy and will get you perfect results every time. Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts go with anything whether it’s a western dish with meatloaf, BBQ ribs or an Asian cheat dinner like mine with Mui Choy Pork Belly and Roast Duck, see below.

Tada, the yummiest wok charred brussels sprouts!

Tada, the yummiest wok charred brussels sprouts!

I learned how to make Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts from the charter issue of Milk Street magazine, published by Christopher Kimball, yes, that Christopher Kimball. Ex-America’s Test Kitchen TV and radio show host and the man behind Cooks Illustrated that pivoted him into the stratosphere of a “cooking god!” Below is the recipe by kind permission from Milk Street’s Editorial Director, J.M. Hirsch (previously AP food editor.)

If you hurry, you can still get a free charter issue and yearly subscription discount here.

You’ll want to hear more about his new project, Milk Street Kitchen, it’s very exciting because we share a lot of the same philosophies and the project deserves a separate post, working on that.

Cooking isn’t about following a recipe, so don’t just skip to the “recipe,” take a moment to understand WHY certain ingredients or techniques are used.  When you understand WHY,  you will have more chance of success and this is one philosophy Chris Kimball and I share!  I’ve made Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts three times, all were successful and delish. My hubby whose my tester adores Brussels Sprouts devoured them and couldn’t stop saying, umm…

What you need to know…

1. Smaller is better…
Cutting sprouts smaller creates more surface area = more charring = more flavor!  I pride myself as a Wok Star to think and do things outside of the norm but I didn’t think of the obvious which is to cut them smaller so they cook faster, what a revelation, it changed the whole cooking process and flavor profile.

2. What ingredients do…
– lemon juice “wakes” up any ingredient and make it shine
– honey caramelizes and gives charring color, however, I used only half of honey in recipe and didn’t add honey at the end, I find honey/sugar masks the natural flavors of vegetables, we like vegetables with a bit of bite.
– extra-virgin olive oil handles high heat
– pepper flakes gives a wonderful kick but do NOT include at beginning of your stir fry or fry in oil, they will gag you, sprinkle in at the end

3. Wok Star Way
– adapt to the recipe with what you have e.g. I had no anchovy, so I used fish sauce for umami flavor or use tamari.
– no fresh lemons, try a sprinkle of rice vinegar which has a sweetness or just leave out

4. Wok Char vs grilling vs oven roast
– a lightweight, round bottom cast iron wok is BEST for charring sprouts, its wide opening and shape makes it easier to move sprouts around vs a flat skillet
– a steel spatula used with a wok can turn lots of sprouts vs using tongs to flip each sprout
– wok charring give sprouts an even and overall char vs grilling which has hot spots and oven roasting for me has never resulted in crispy sprouts, maybe it’s my oven.

WokChar-BrusselsSprouts-porkbellyHere’s recipe…


I eliminated step 2 (frying the seasonings) and 4 (adding more honey etc.) altogether and tossed sprouts in bowl with everything except garlic which I added to the oil with some shredded ginger like I always do when I stir fry vegetables.

I’d love to hear how your Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts turn out, whether you’re using Milk Street Magazine’s complete recipe or used some of my tips?

Here’s a short video to show just how fast those sprouts cooked!

How about trying my Ginger Honey Brussels Sprouts, it’s hard not to compare with charred version, trust me!


Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts with a bowl of spicy beef stew!

Perfect side to King Palace's Mui Choy Pork Belly and roast duck from P.K. Market. These sprouts would go well with any dish but especially grilled ribs, umm!

Wok Charred Brussels Sprouts, a perfect side to King Palace’s Mui Choy Pork Belly and roast duck from P.K. Market. Yes, a cheat dinner. These sprouts would go well with any dish but especially grilled ribs, umm!





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