What is the best wok to buy? First , let’s understand what is wok cooking. Stir-frying and searing in hot oil is a popular cooking technique among the cooks throughout Asia. The most important piece of cookware in their kitchen is the highly versatile Chinese wok
or skillet pan, sometimes referred to as Asian wok. In the olden days, woks were round bottom and made of cast iron. Chinese wok cooking has a 2000 year history. In fact, most olden Chinese homes have just a wok and an earthen pot as their entire best cookware set, dishing out delicious, sophisticated everyday meals for the entire extended family members.
Why is cooking with a wok so versatile, so practical, so flexible? What is the best type of wok to use?
The secret lies es in its concave shape. It heat up quickly and evenly and retains heat well. It can be used to steam, stir-fry, simmer, braise, make sauces, deep-fry or boil practically any Chinese dish, all done in an energy efficient way. Very little oil needed when stir-frying, is another attractive feature of the Chinese wok. Yes, it has almost unlimited uses, a highly efficient kitchen utensil.
The carbon steel wok, 18/10 stainless steel, non-stick, preseasoned cast-iron and electric woks, are preferred by the modern cooks, for convenience and aesthetic reasons but Chinese chefs swear by their iron woks.
A heavy cast-iron wok or stainless steel wok that does not tip over easily, or hard-anodized non-stick that do not scratch when used with metal spatula, are good buys. Carbon steel woks are cheaper, lighter and if properly seasoned, make great durable non-stick woks. Teflon-coated ones are not highly recommended as they scratch easily and cannot withstand high heat needed for successful stir-frying.
Buy a flat bottom wok to fit the modern gas or electric stove tops or get a wok ring to put on the gas stove if you prefer a round bottom one. The disadvantage is that the bottom of the wok would be slightly raised above the flame. High heat is the key to successful stir-frying, so the closer the wok is to the flame, the better the results.
A round bottom wok has a wider area to work with compared with a flat bottom wok. The sloping concave sides means you can safely stir-fry without worrying about food splashing or spilling out of the wok, besides being easier to scoop out the cooked food with the wok spatula. Deep frying is also much easier with less oil needed to cover the food in a round bottom wok.
Best Wok To Buy – How To Season A New Wok
An iron or carbon steel wok needs to be seasoned before it can be used. After rinsing the new wok, just apply a thin layer of vegetable oil and heat the wok for one hour, preferably in the oven.
Preseasoned cast-iron wok by the manufacturer takes the trouble out of doing it yourself, such as the Lodge Pro Logic cast iron wok. If properly seasoned, it will result in a natural, non-toxic, non-stick surface. However, whether carbon steel or cast-iron, these type of woks tend to rust easily and it is recommended to dry it thoroughly over heat each time after using and re-seasoned it each time after use.
In stir-frying, a little oil is added to a heated hot wok, then flavor enhancers are added, such as garlic, shallots or ginger, lending a fragrant aroma to the dish. Main ingredients are then added one by one, depending on their cooking time, rapidly stirred to mix them up, and cooked in a very short time. It is very important to have all the ingredients prepared ahead of time as the whole process is over in a matter of minutes. Ingredients must also be cut to around the same size so that they cook evenly.
So, invest in the best wok to buy for your needs and start woking!