While cooking food is not rocket science, employing the right kind of tools for the job is also essential. If you try turning the chapati on your tawa with a spoon, that might not be the ideal way to flip, and you may end up burning your flatbread or tearing it up unnecessarily. Similarly, some cooking techniques require high heat, and when such high temperatures are involved, you don't need to cook for long hours like in a wok, for instance.
A wok is a deep-surfaced, thin, round-bottomed pan that is used for cooking. Commonly employed in Asian cuisines like Chinese, it is the same thing that you see being used for stir-frying noodles and tossing vegetables in restaurants. This should not be mistaken for the kadhai, which is frequently used in south Asian cultures like India for cooking.
The latter is different from the wok because it has a wider surface at the bottom and the sides are steeper. Interestingly, a wok is considered to do a better job than a frying pan or a saucepan for various reasons. Before delving into the benefits of using a wok, let’s understand what can be made with this utensil. We’ve established that noodles and similar food items like spaghetti can be easily tossed and cooked in a wok. Apart from that, it can also be used for steaming and boiling vegetables.
Here are some reasons why you should have a wok in your kitchenware.
1. Requires Less Oil
Yes, you read that right. Making anything in a frying pan would require a lot more oil than a wok due to its flat surface. In the case of a wok, adding a little bit of oil goes a long way since the ingredients to be cooked are tossed in the oil from all sides without absorbing most of it, unlike a frying pan. This turns out to be a healthier way to sauté your vegetables.
2. Speeds Up The Cooking Process
In this fast-paced world, people are almost always in a rush to finish one task and move on to the next. In such a case, a wok is your saviour. The heavy bottom of the utensil is nearest to the heat, and when food passes frequently through this part, it cooks quickly and acquires the right amount of browning. Similarly, the steam formed at the top of the food helps to evaporate the moisture and cooks it quickly, too.
3. It Is A Multiple Purpose Tool
The most commonly known function of a wok is to stir-fry, so how can it not be good at it? Almost anything, from vegetables to noodles and meat, can be stir-fried in a wok. The shape of the wok aids this cooking method. Since the wok is round and curved, it requires less oil to sauté food. Not just that, it is also good for boiling, steaming, and sautéing food.
4. Retains High Heat And Cooks Uniformly
Given the heavy bottom surface of the wok, it has the ability to retain high amounts of heat. This means that there is no loss of heat, and the food will be cooked faster. Not just that, it also ensures that the food is cooked evenly on all sides, unlike with a frying pan.
5. Large Capacity
If you want to cook large amounts of food or want to toss lots of vegetables in sauces and spices, then the wok is an ideal option. The round shape and tall sides give it more surface area to accommodate large amounts of food in one sitting. Moreover, there is no worry about food remaining uncooked as it cooks everything uniformly.