Buy The Right Wok, If You Want Your Cooking Perfect
- Deepali Verma
Updated : July 31, 2022 06:07 IST
These different types can help you buy the right type of wok
If you like to prepare Chinese food, you've probably wondered what the best wok to buy is. Purchasing the ideal wok may improve both the fun and efficiency of your cooking. The wok, or the charismatic front hero of the band, if you will, is the most significant of the Chinese cooking implements. Therefore, it only makes sense that we highlight how to choose and purchase the appropriate wok.
A wok is a broad, rather shallow, domed pot that, when heated properly over a decent flame, becomes extremely hot. Avoid starting a fire, but don't be hesitant to heat that thing up! Your carbon steel wok should be heated until it is "just smoking," as many of the recipes instruct you to do. Chinese cuisine has a unique, savoury edge known as wok hei or wok hay—the "breath of the wok"—and it comes from this high heat searing.
Aside from the occasional dash of MSG, wok hei is the primary factor behind the claim that restaurant food is superior to home cooking. However, with the correct equipment, we can work to replicate such flavours at home as well!
A lot of folks are also unaware of a wok's versatility. In addition to stir-frying, your wok is a fantastic tool for any kind of deep-frying, steaming, or boiling. Noodles, even pasta can be boiled quickly because woks heat very quickly. Additionally, the large surface area makes pre-searing meats a delight.
The Best Wok
Chefs in Chinese restaurants swear by and only use carbon steel woks. Depending on the task at hand, many types and sizes may be used. Cooking stir-fried items to order calls for smaller ones that are closer to the size you would use at home, whereas cooking enormous amounts or steaming large plates of fish demands a large wok (20+ inches).
However, if you asked a Chinese chef "what is the ideal wok to buy," he would always say carbon steel, whether you were asking him about cooking in a restaurant or at home. But there is more variety in the area of carbon steel woks! Shopping for a wok involves a lot of trial and error and personal preference, but it's important to consider your stove, your maintenance preferences, and the number of diners you'll be feeding.
There are many brands and sizes to pick from because Teflon-coated or non-stick woks are widely available and can be obtained in almost every big box store. The non-stick surface, simple cleanup, and lack of need for wok seasoning are the attractions. Teflon woks do not work well for cooking at high temperatures, though. 500°F/260°C is stretching it even with the top non-stick wok brands. Teflon-coated woks should not be used for high-temperature stir-frying. Many recipes frequently state to "heat your wok until nearly smoking." For a teflon-coated wok, you shouldn't adhere to these instructions.
Woks made of stainless steel have benefits. They are non-reactive, which makes them suitable for preparing dishes that are acidic or vinegary. Although some of the tri-ply woks can be rather hefty, stainless-steel woks are lighter than cast iron ones and won't rust. You don't need to heat up your wok to dry it after cleaning it or to add a small layer of oil to it like you would for a cast iron or carbon steel wok. Simply wash and dry it after each use. The wok can also be used in the oven to keep meals warm if it has a metal handle.
Cast Iron Wok
Chinese woks are among the cast iron cookware that is among the oldest still in use. Traditionally, cast iron woks had two tiny metal handles and were used in every home throughout China for many years. Cast iron is hefty and needs special attention and seasoning after each usage. These woks' tendency to be thicker and require more time to heat up is another drawback. While they do a good job of retaining heat, adding a lot of liquid or veggies might cause them to cool down rapidly. The wok won't heat back up for a time at that point, which is bad for stir-fries because they cook quickly.