Woks have been used in Southern and Eastern Asia for nearly a century. They are very popular for cooking Asian foods. In addition to stir frying, woks can also be used for steaming, frying, poaching, braising, searing, roasting and stewing. The round bottom pans are built to withstand high temperature cooking and need very little oil. This creates fast healthy meals with tons of flavor. That are many woks on the market today of varying quality. Good quality woks are worth the extra money because they will last longer, hold heat and create even heat distribution much better. This creates better tasting food. We have selected the best woks available that provide the best cooking surfaces, strong company customer service and competitive pricing. We have brought together all of the top models and narrowed the list down of the ones we think are the best.
Wok Buying Guide
Though it may seem trivial, choosing the perfect wok is actually a great investment in the long run. A well-chosen wok could live for many years. Just like wine, woks get better as time passes and they are used more. The best woks could even act as the secret tool in the kitchen. Knowing this, a person should therefore ensure that the wok he or she is going to purchase would serve as a long term tool and companion in cooking.
1. Know What the Wok Is Made Of.
Knowing the material or what the wok is made of would greatly help in deciding what to buy. As is the norm, the material of the wok greatly affects how the food would be cooked.
The first are the stainless steel woks. Stainless steel woks also get the most negative comments and feedbacks. The main problem with these woks is that the food would usually end up sticking to the pan. These woks would take an extra long time to heat up because these are relatively and commonly thicker than the ordinary. In effect, these woks also take their time cooling down, making it a bad choice when a person needs to cook those meals that require only quick heat applications. These are also heavy, making it difficult to maneuver around. This is not recommended for those quick deep fried meals and is best for food that has thin soup.
The next material is the cast iron wok. Just like the stainless steel, these wok take a long period to heat up and cool down, however, food does not stick as much on the surface when cooked. The issue with cast iron is it could easily crack when the wok is thin. When it is made thick enough to be sturdy, it would then be too heavy.
The best material and the most common for woks is carbon steel. It is the least expensive out of all the materials and also takes the least amount to heat up and cool down. Heat is also evenly distributed in carbon steel. A person should make sure that the wok is at least 2mm thick because less than that would make it possible for the wok to bend the sides when pressed.
The modern times have also created an electric wok. These are woks that have their personal built in electric heat source. These woks need to be plugged to an outlet to work. Some issues about these electric woks are the uneven heat distribution; these woks have their own hot spot but with still not enough heat.
Traditional non-stick coatings are being replaced now with the ceramic-coated woks. Though they have improved by not letting the food stick to the surface, these woks are still difficult to maneuver and would not have the benefits of a seasoned wok.
Finally, there are woks that are made of aluminum. These woks are suggested for steaming and braising food but are not recommended for high-heat based meals. These woks are typically characterized by a shallower bowl.
2. Match The Heat with The Bottom of the Wok.
It is important to know what kind of heat source will be used on the wok, as this information could be the basis for what kind of wok to buy depending on its bottom. The reason for this matching is that the bottom structure of the wok controls the amount of heat the wok would be receiving from the heat source.
People who have induction and electric based heat sources are advised to buy the flat-bottomed wok, whether it would be made of carbon steel, cast iron, or stainless steel. This will ensure that the pan is near enough to the source of heat. On the other hand, those who own gas stoves should get the rounded-bottom wok. In fact, gas is considered as the best choice for heat source in cooking with a wok and works best when carbon steel is used.
3. Know The Number of People Being Served.
A person should be aware of how many people he would be regularly cooking the food for. The number of people would help a person decide on the size of the wok to be purchased. If he is going to cook just for himself, a 10 inch wok would be enough. However, if he is to cook for two to three people, including him, he should buy the 12 inch wok. For numbers more than three but less than six people, a person should get the 14 inch wok. If he is going to regularly cook for six people or more, it would be better for him to buy the commercial woks.
In determining the size of the wok, the inches mentioned here is the diameter of the wok. There is no need to actually measure one as the size is usually place upon the item.
4. Handles. How Would You Handle the Wok?
There are two kinds of woks depending on the handle. The first, the one-handle wok, usually has a long handle made of metal or wood. These long-handled woks are best when cooking meals that need to be tossed or fired.
The other kind, the two-handled wok, has small loop handles complementing each other. These two handles are sometimes called helper handles. There are also two-handled woks that have one loop handle and one elongated handle. These kinds of woks are best when steaming, boiling or braising. Basically, these are the best choice for food that has sauce in it.
In choosing whether to get the one handled or two handled wok, it would be good for the person to be aware of his cooking style. There are people who prefer cooking with the long handled one as this gives them more control in moving the wok. A person should also take the extra step and ensure that the handle is made of wood. Wood would not conduct heat, making it easier for the person to hold the handle without using a pot holder.
One of the essentials that you should have in your kitchen is your very own wok. There are a variety of woks to choose from on the market today, with varying sizes it’s easy to browse through your options online and to come across something that might work for you specifically.
How To Use A Wok
If you haven ever used any woks before, you don’t have to be afraid. Woks are very easy kitchen tools to use and they can assist you with putting together some really great meals for your self, friends, and family. When you use your wok to heat up or cook food, it’s important to use oil to make sure that your food doesn’t stick. You can use something else besides oil if you prefer, like coconut oil or butter, it’s up to your own personal preferences.
A cast iron wok is probably one of the most popular options. You can use woks to cook a variety of meals, many people use them for stir-fry and cooking chicken fried rice, and other Asian dishes. Woks can come with many different materials, stainless steel is one very popular option. They can easily be expensive, so you should take your time when you are selecting from the woks that you find or come across.
Different Styles of Woks
Some woks you put on your stove to heat and cook your food, others come with their own stands and you can plug them in and cook on the counter. The woks offer a great space for you to toss your vegetables and other food ingredients in a generous manner, making sure that every piece gets some delicious sauce, spices, and thorough cooking.
If you want to find a variety of woks then you should begin by looking online because this is where you can find many different styles. If you cannot find anything from the woks available at your local supermarket or department store, then don’t limit yourself to those locations for your wok selection. Go online and look for other woks and find the one that you will like. A wok is a great kitchen essential that can help you put together some really tasty meals.
Looking For Woks
There are some simple things to consider when choosing your wok. The woks can range from 6 to over 30 inches, anything less than 12 inches is going to be good in cooking for roughly two people. Something that measures roughly 12 to 15 inches is going to be good in cooking for three to five people. If you want to use a wok in a restaurant or cooking more food for a large gathering, there are other sizes that you can purchase.
Woks have flat bottom surfaces or round ones. The flat bottoms are the most common because they can be placed on top of your stove. The rounder woks are traditionally used over an open flame or the have their own set-up. Many accessories are available for your wok, like spoons spatulas, and other items.