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Why Wok?

Why Wok?


A wok is a round bottomed cooking vessel generally found in Chinese kitchens.  Woks can be made of various materials, including carbon steel, cast-iron, non-stick or aluminum.  They come in various sizes (some are electric) and can be used for different types of cooking.

I have 2 woks (different sizes, one pretty large) and I use the smaller one a lot – generally for stir fry.  The technique for stir frying in a wok is simple.

  1. Heat the wok to a high temperature (not smoking, but you do want things to sizzle and saute when they hit the wok.)
  2. Do not add oil until the wok has reached cooking temperature (this is true when using any type of saute pan).
  3. Once the wok is hot and some oil has been added (not too much, perhaps a tablespoon or 2) add ingredients.
  4. Do not overcrowd the pan.  If you are cooking a lot of ingredients, do it in batches.  You want the ingredients to cook quickly, maybe brown a little and not steam.  A crowded wok will lower the temperature of the wok and result in slower cooking and steaming.  If you add too much, remove a little and add to the next batch.
  5. Add a little oil to the wok before each batch (or you can spray a little Pam)
Note:  If you are trying to limit your oil consumption, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the batch if it gets too dry and starts to smoke.

Woks are fairly inexpensive and handy and a good addition to your kitchen.

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