wok

Wok Cooking

The woks versatility not only makes it a great addition to any kitchen but also makes it especially nice for someone who doesn’t have a lot of cookware. The Wok is often associated with stir frying but it can also be used in sauteing, steaming, deep frying or even making soup. Multi-tasking cookware can be a really nice thing to have.

 Wok Styles: Woks can be found in two styles, round bottom or flat bottom.

Round Bottom Wok: Great for tossing foods. The round bottom distributes cooking oils more efficiently so that cooking requires less oil. Commonly used with a ladle and a long handled spatula. A ladle fits well with the rounded bottom.

  • Wok Ring – Yes
      Wok Rings are often used with this type of wok to provide stabilization to the round bottom.
  • Gas Cooktop – Yes
      The round bottom wok works best on gas cook top. The flames can get close to the wok and form around the round bottom to provide excellent heat.
  • Electric Cooktop – No
      Electric cooktops don’t make enough contact with the rounded bottom of the wok so they don’t heat the wok as well.
  • Induction Cooktop – NoTop Induction cooktops
      don’t make enough contact with the rounded bottom of the wok so they don’t heat the wok as well.

Flat Bottom Wok: Created in the original woks image for better use on flat cooktops. Because of the flat bottom ladles are usually not used during cooking.

  • Wok Ring – No
      The bottom is already flat and stable therefore there is no need for a wok ring.
  • Gas Cooktop – Yes
      The flat bottom wok will work fine on a gas stove however many seem to prefer using a round bottom wok if they have access to a gas stove.
  • Electric Cooktop – Yes
      Flat Bottom Woks are designed specifically for use with flat cooktops.
  • Induction Cooktop – Yes, depending on the material your wok is made from
      Flat Bottom Woks are designed specifically for use with flat cooktops however cookware must be ferrous to work with induction cooktops. For more on Induction Cookware click here.

Construction: Woks are made from many materials however, today’s woks are mostly crafted from carbon steel or cast iron like some of the best rated cast iron skillets.
Cast Iron:

  • Heavy in weight
  • Very Durable
  • Doesn’t react quickly to heat
  • Excellent heat distribution and retention
  • Not good for tossing
  • Usually have loop handles
  • Must be seasoned

wok

Carbon Steel:

  • Light in weight
  • Reasonably Durable
  • Reacts quickly to heat
  • Okay heat distribution and retention
  • Good for tossing
  • Must be seasoned

Anodized Aluminum:

  • Medium in weight
  • Very Durable
  • Reacts to heat in a reasonable amount of time
  • Excellent heat distribution and retention
  • Good for tossing
  • Doesn’t need seasoned

Non-stick Coated: Non-stick woks can be made from many different materials and many different types of coatings. These factors will play a role in the weight, durability, heat retention and heat control. Some non-stick coatings don’t support the high heats used during stir-frying so be informed on the recommended heat levels before buying a decent non-stick cookware for stir-frying.

Wok Cooking Tips:

  • When frying, stir-frying or sauteing be sure to preheat the wok to the actual cooking temperature. Preheating the wok at medium to medium high heat will make your food begin cooking properly once it touches the pan. If the wok is preheated on high you will lose heat control.
  • By rubbing a stick of butter to the inside of the wok you can tell if the wok is preheated. If the butter bubbles it is ready. If the butter turns brown the pan is pre-heated to high and needs to be lowered.
  • Don’t add all of your food at once, this can cause uneven cooking and prevent things from browning properly. Cook meat first and remove it from the wok. Cook vegetables and then add the meat back in at the end.