Any great cook will attest to the fact that excellent dishes are complementary to the right cookware. A pow wok is unique hand-hammered cookware with a long handle for high heat cooking like sautéing, searing, and braising.
The long handle can be wooden, metal, or bamboo. Besides, it can also have a helper handle. A pow wok makes it easy to toss your ingredients and food as you cook. We trace back the origin of pow woks to Chinese craftsmen and chefs.
Pow woks vary in construction material, bottom types, handles, craftsmanship among other features. So, let’s walk you through all you need to know about woks.
If you need a wok, it is either carbon steel or cast iron wok. However, stainless steel woks are also available but may not be as popular for some reasons. A stainless steel wok tends to create hotspots. That’s not the case for the other two.
Now, cast iron woks are pre-seasoned at buying, and with frequent use, they form a patina which makes them nonstick. They have a thick and heavy bottom and are therefore excellent at heat distribution and retention. If you need to brown your fish or meats, they are a perfect choice as they maintain the flavor and cook food evenly.
On the other hand, carbon steel woks are also a great partner for professional chefs. With a heavy-gauge bottom, they also distribute heat well without hotspots or burning your food. However, you need to season this wok to utilize its full stir-frying potential.
Round Bottom woks VS Flat Bottom Woks
Whether to buy a round wok or a flat one is an endless debate. But you need to know that either way, your needs are catered for. Round bottom woks come with a ring. The wok ring makes the wok sit snugly on the stovetop so heating goes on as usual.
But, flat-bottom woks touch the stovetop and heat uniformly without any rings. They are also compatible with electric stoves, gas, and open fires. However, some customers complain about slow heating for both woks on ceramic and induction stoves.
Loop VS Long Handles
The traditional Chinese wok uses a long bamboo or wooden handle for ease of flipping your food. But others have both long and helper handles which are metal or with plastic, rubber, and silicone covers. The comfortable handles ensure you don’t burn as you cook under high heat.
The Mammafong pow woks have a long handle that makes your tossing job easy.
Hand Hammered or Machine-Crafted Woks?
Skilled Chinese and Japanese craftsmen make some of the best hand-hammered woks. The round bottom woks with metal and wooden handles are a beautiful creation that borrows a lot from the Chinese wok culture.
But, the machine-crafted (spun) is also efficient at any wok functions. They are thicker and expensive compared to hand-made woks. The USA is one producer of these woks. There are also Indian and other Asian communities that skillfully craft and use woks.
Seasoning or Pre-Seasoned Woks
A pre-seasoned wok does not require later seasoning as it’s done at the factory. The wok is infused with vegetable oils during high heat baking that makes it form a nonstick layer. This is the case for cast iron woks.
A carbon steel wok requires seasoning before you use it. Seasoning is a simple procedure that makes your wok not to stick food, or create hot spots. Here’s a 4-step procedure on how to do it.
How to Season a Wok
Your carbon steel wok will work well without getting sticky or rusty if it’s properly seasoned. Here’s a simple way to achieve your wok’s seasoning.
Step1: Wash your wok with warm water and a soft sponge without any dishwasher or cleaner soap.
Step2: Dry it with a towel then put it on a low-heat stove until it dries.
Step3: Spray your wok with a vegetable, sunflower, or canola oil and let it heat till it starts to darken. Don’t let the oil get to a smoky point.
Step4: Remove the wok and ensure the oil spreads against the whole wok surface before you wipe it out with a towel. The darkening is what’s called the patina and your wok is ready for use.
Woks with Lid
Not all woks come with a lid. But the real Chinese woks have a dome-shaped lid for steaming purposes. They may also have steaming racks; it depends on accessories from the manufacturer.
On the other hand, flat wok lids are also available. The lids may be tempered glass with a steam vent or stainless steel. What’s good about woks with lid is that they retain the natural taste of food and keep the steam within so that your food cooks fast and even.
Wok size depends on the bottom diameter. Now, the diameter sizes range between 10-inch to 16-inch. With the small size (10 and 11”), you can make proportions for 1-2 persons. 12-14-inch is the medium size.
So, the medium size woks are good for family meals, are convenient to store, and also economical to purchase. The 16” and above are mostly for commercial purposes.
Pow Wok VS The Regular Pan
The regular pan may not heat up evenly and may create hotspots. A pow wok is excellent for cooking at high heat, strong, and durable. You can pass it down to your generations for decades if you give it the right care.
Pow wok also heats up faster so that you can use less oil to cook crunchy fries at super high heat. Also, they are sturdy and not subject to warping at high temperatures.
Pow wok is a chef’s number one partner in making delicious and high-quality crunches and fries. Having the right information about woks should guide you towards getting the best wok for your kitchen needs and recipes.
They are affordable, sturdy, and durable so all you have to do is to find a genuine supplier and enjoy your kitchen experience.