If you have indulged in Chinese cuisine, you know the great taste and aroma that comes with it. As such we wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted to bring that goodness to your home and share it with others.
Well, you can! With a wok, you can make stir-fried meals effortlessly. The traditional wok comes with a curved bottom that comes with numerous cooking benefits. Wouldn’t you want to know these benefits? Here you go.
Benefits of Using a Wok
You can never go wrong with a wok because it comes with a host of benefits for your kitchen and cooking experience.
First, you get to use less oil when cooking with a wok. You see, when you pour oil into a wok, it pools at the bottom allowing you to sauté or sear your food without having to use a lot of oil.
Another thing is that most woks heat up fast and distribute heat evenly. What that means is that you get uniformly cooked food all the time.
Other than that, the curved base of woks allows you to toss and turn your ingredients without having to worry that they will end up on the floor. As if that is not enough, you can also flip your food and trust that it will fall back into the wok.
What Size Should you Buy?
Woks come in different sizes and that is a good thing. Here’s why. You probably want to cook for your small family or you intend to host a lot.
It wouldn’t make sense to buy a bigger wok if you will be cooking for a few people. If you cook a little food in a big pan, you are likely to end up with bitter-tasting food since your cooking oil will burn. We would therefore advise picking a wok with a diameter of 12-14 inches for a smaller family.
Go for a bigger wok if you will be cooking commercially or hosting a lot and even as you do that, consider the storage space you will need for your wok once you are done cooking.
You also want to keep in mind that larger woks that exceed 14 inches in diameter will not readily fit the average cooktop.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Wok
For you to get the best wok for money, you want to consider several features before settling on one. Here are some of those features.
Most modern woks are made from stainless steel, carbon steel, or cast iron. All these materials come with their pros and cons.
For instance, cast iron will retain heat for longer but it takes quite some time to heat up and is heavy. We would recommend picking a carbon steel wok simply because the material is lighter and heats up fast. The only issue you are likely to face here would be seasoning your wok frequently because the material is prone to rust.
The traditional wok comes with two small handles on either side that look like ears. Now, the problem with these is that they are often metallic and will therefore transmit hit as you cook hence increasing your chances of ending up with burned hands.
On the other hand, most modern woks come with one long wooden handle and a smaller auxiliary one that makes lifting easier. Your chances of getting burned while using such a wok are less so we would recommend picking one just like that.
You also want the handle to be non-slip, ad comfortable to hold if you want a seamless cooking experience.
When it comes to woks, it is a constant battle between modern and traditional. The traditional wok comes with a round bottom that allows for effortless mixing of ingredients but it is not ideal for modern stovetops. Of course, you can always get a wok ring to facilitate that.
Nevertheless, if you prefer placing your wok on the cooktop and cooking directly without the hassle of having to buy a wok ring and install it you want to go for a flat-bottomed wok.
The flat bottom provides great contact with your cooktop so that your food cooks evenly. Now, even with that, a flat-bottomed wok does subtract from what makes the wok.
Coating and Safety
We believe you will appreciate a wok that comes with nonstick coating because that translates to effortless food release as well as an easier clean-up process.
That said; you want to keep in mind that some of the coatings used can be toxic. Stay away from Teflon nonstick coating as it breaks down into your food at high temperatures.
If you are unable to make the right choice, we would suggest that you go for a wok pan that requires manual seasoning because it guarantees your safety and will develop a natural nonstick coating over time.
The main aim of wanting a wok is to flip and toss your food right? We would therefore not expect you to go for a heavy wok as it impedes your ability to do that.
Now, cast iron is a great material because it does retain heat well, but it is quite heavy so unless you intend to have your wok sitting on your cooktop the entire time you will be cooking, we would write it off here. Instead, you want to opt for a lighter material such as carbon steel or aluminum that allows for maneuverability and easy lifting.
If you are looking to make authentic Asian cuisine or stir-fry your food, you have to get a wok. This piece of cookware can heat up wickedly to give that aroma and crispiness you are looking to get from your food.
However, making the right choice is not going to be the easiest of jobs. You will be required to consider several factors before making your purchase and just like the lifesavers we are, we have promptly discussed that.
With that in mind, we believe that picking the perfect wok for your needs is not going to be so hard after all. Wouldn’t you agree?