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Help an asian select a wok

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by kissmybASS01, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. While I'm not asking for specific brand names, (too region specific) I'm more interested in what to look for.

    Mainly we would be using it for stir-frys, but also for making Japanese tempura which involves deep-frying in hot oil.

    Locally, we have a few different stores that carry a variety of "models." Some are stainless steel with flat bottoms, most are the non-stick coated varieties, while some of the asian markets
    have more of the traditional style of either iron or aluminum that requires "seasoning" - a process that I've read about but never tried.

    Do any of these match what I want to do? Can non-stick woks be used at high temp for deep-frying?:help::)
  2. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
  3. Register_To_Disable

  4. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
  5. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    I would avoid the non-stick type. Traditionally, woks are made of steel, but cast iron is nice. Not sure if they still make them, but ScanPan made very high quality ceramic, bonded to aluminum woks at one time, but they are very expensive. Cast iron, while not traditional, has the advantage of straying hot when cold ingredients are added. Peanut oil, and high heat make for quick cooking. I bought a stainless steel electric wok, (West Bend brand) at a yard sale that works well. The bottom line is that traditional woks have been made very inexpensively out of whatever steel is available.
  6. i am not chinese...but my wife is

    and as a result, we have gone through a few....here are my thoughts

    basically, what phalex said, although whether you have a flat or round bottom is up to you....it depends on the type of stove you have and if it came with a flame ring or not

    definitely go with carbon steel, NOT stainless

    we prefer the long handle on one side and the ring on the other....there are some good ones that don't have a long handle, but have rings on both sides....these can be good, but i definitely prefer to ones with the long handle- see the link below


    that one in the link from phalex also looks great, except it does not have an offside ring for carrying it with 2 hands....your choice

  7. I like the classic variety you can get for $10 at any Asian market. Flat-bottom if you have electric, round-bottom (with ring) if you have gas. I find the style that has a long handle on one side is more familiar/comfortable for me.

    As far as keeping them seasoned, it's actually pretty easy, the more you use it, the less care is required. I use mine several times a week so I don't need to worry about oiling it or anything, I just gently wipe it clean (no soap) after each use and then dry it on the stovetop.
  8. oh....and get a larger one rather than a smaller one...you can cook small in a large wok, but you can't cook big in a small wok...:D

  9. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I don't use a spatula if I don't have to, and that handle on the opposite side just looks like it would get crusty........
  10. You people are making me HUNGRY
  11. Regarding seasoning the wok - I'm sure that the wife would want to make more use of it, but even that it would still be maybe every couple of weeks :( So, if you don't really "wash" it after use and just rinse and wipe it out, isn't that kinda bad for cleanliness?

    I'm assuming the round bottoms (with the ring) can still be used with an electric range, but would just be less efficient with the heat, right?
  12. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yep. Carbon steel. Non stick are ridiculous because you really want your wok to 'season' in similar way to a cast iron frying pan... so note that means you'll need to pay attention to how you clean it as well.

    I prefer the flat bottom for modern stoves. Even with gas stoves make sure that a round bottom with ring is recommended and safe. I like having a lid, if just for keeping things covered and warm when done cooking, but non-lid works too.
  13. I think the high heat cooking temperature eliminates any food-safety concerns.

    I wouldn't use a round-bottom wok on an electric stove, personally.
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    If you're uncomfortable with just oiling it, you can do what we do if it gets something extra stuck to it (it shouldn't if its well seasoned)...fill 'dirty' wok with H2O...bring to a simmer to loosen up any grub. Drain and dry by heating on the stove again. Re-oil and bring up to temp again before wiping excess oil off and putting away.
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Nope. The seasoning is basically oil that's burnt onto the pan. This makes for a nice non stick surface. Soap is made out of oil, and will not only remove the seasoned coating, but can also bind to it and create soapy flavors.

    You can use water, and either a stiff brush, or a plastic scrubby thing to get any stuck on bits off. So long as you get down to the smooth black surface of the seasoning (and add a layer of oil to protect it) the pan is clean.
  16. On the rare occasions I get little bits of food stuck to my wok (unmarinated tofu is the worst offender), I just turn the heat up until they become dried and crispy. Then they just flake right off with a plastic scraper.

    If you oil the wok while it is hot, then the oil absorbs into the metal when it cools down. Then you wipe off the excess, and the wok stays seasoned, without looking/feeling excessively oily.
  17. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI

    I've found that tofu will release itself from the pan once it's nicely browned. If it seems stuck, leave it. At least that works for me.
  18. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    This works for tofu alternatives too...like beef and chicken. ;)
  19. Wow. Great tips. Who knew the TBOT crowd were such foodies
  20. Cool, good tip, thanks!

    Lately what I've been doing is simply baking the marinated tofu in the toaster oven while I make the rice. Then I just drop the already cooked tofu in the wok with the veggies.
  21. Carbon steel for sure.

    As has been mentioned, the oil you use will form an excellent non-stick coating over time!