- Food and Cooking
What is the Best Wok?
Choosing the best Wok to buy can be a challenge and for most picking up to first Wok you see will often leave you with nothing but a black charred poor excuse of a Chinese meal that may end up in the bin!
To be honest a good Wok has multiple uses in the kitchen and really is a versatile tool that can help you to cook everything from noodles, fried rice, meat stir-fry, deep fry, steam, and even cook your morning scrambled eggs.
When looking at the different Wok style you will instinctively head towards a stainless steel Wok. But hold-on, keep on reading before you jump in and part with your hard earned cash. The best wok may not be what you think.
Before we jump in head first just what is a Wok?
What is a Wok?
A Wok is basically a Chinese pan, very much like their version of the western frying pan. The characteristic of a classic Wok are a rounded bottom, slanting sides and deep. Typically they are made out of rolled cast iron, aluminum or stainless steel and you can find many of the best Woks come in a variety of sizes and styles with electric Woks now becoming popular too.
Woks really are the best cooking pan for making stir-fry as the bottom gets extremely hot in a very short time, which in turn allows you to quickly cook and sear your ingredients.
With a Wok you can make an entire meal in one go, once your ingredients are cooked just push them to the side of the Wok and carry on cooking the rest of your meal in the center of the Wok.
My Personal Favorite Wok
What is the Best Wok to Buy?
Choosing the best wok to buy really depends on what you plan to use the Wok for and how often it will be used. A stainless steel Wok or non-stock woks are going to fall into the cheaper category but they won’t give you an authentic Chinese taste, but if you are on a budget these are perfectly fine for home use. If you want the best Wok, cast iron or a carbon-steel wok are really the only way to go.
With the cheaper Woks you will find that you get a burnt layer forming over the top of you cooking surface which comes away and becomes part of your dinner, which, let’s be honest, is not the best way to present you Chinese meal creation.
Now with the traditional cast iron or carbon-steel Woks this doesn't happen, but these Woks do take some added work at the beginning to season correctly before using but will go over that a little later on in this article.
Best Wok Type
As mentioned above this really is down to personal preference but basically it can be broken down like this.
A Stainless Steel Wok/Aluminum Wok/Non-Stick Wok are the best Woks for anyone on a budget and if look after correctly will last for many years.
Now for the person who is after an authentic Wok and has a bigger budget the cast iron Wok or carbon-steel is the best option.
For those that prefer a modern touch on the traditional Wok you can pick up some great electric Woks made out of all of the above materials. The electric Woks are great for placing in the center of your dining table when entertaining guests.
With an electric Wok you can let you guests pick their favorite meats, vegetables, and tofu and get them to cook right there on the spot.
Best Wok Size
After you have chosen the best Wok type it is now time to choose the best size of Wok and the type of handle you prefer (yes you even the handle make a difference).
For home use any Wok ranging from 10”, 12”, or 14” is going to be the best pick. A 10”or 12” is going to be the best option for cooking up a 2 person meal and if you need Chinese food for more than 2 the 14” Wok would be ideal.
When it comes to choosing a Wok handle you will notice that some Woks have two handles and some have only one. There is no right or wrong answer as to which is the better option and again it really boils down to personal preference as to how many Wok handles you prefer.
However having two handles on a large Wok will help you with control and if you intend to make soups or dishes with a lot of sauce the two handles make transferring your food a lot easier.
How to Season a Wok?
Okay, so you decided to buy a cast iron/carbon-steel Wok before you start to use it you have to make sure you season the Wok correctly. What you do know will determine how the Wok will perform from here-on.
Before you do anything make sure you scrub and clean your new Wok with hot soapy water to remove any of the factory costing that may still be present.
Once rinsed thoroughly place your Wok over a high heat until any excess water vaporizes, now it’s ready to season your Wok.
Put 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or peanut oil into your Wok, add about half a cup of sliced unpeeled ginger and 1 bunch of fresh scallions in your Wok and reduce the heat. Just like cooking a stir-fry stir around the Wok making sure to press the mixture to the sides as much as possible.
Keep on doing this for around 15 minutes making sure you cover and press all over the Wok. Once done remove the scallions and ginger and let your Wok cool.
Your Wok is now seasoned and you are all set to start cooking some great Chinese meals – Happy Wokking!
Best Wok - My Top Pick!
If you are not sure which is the best Wok why not try this, Joyce Chen Classic Series 4-Piece Carbon-Steel Wok Set is the best I have tried and at this price you just can't go wrong.