Getting it Right with Woks
The popular bowl-shaped utensil is a key kitchen tool for any serious cook seeking to explore a variety of cooking styles. They are most popular for their ability to save on fuel as well as minimizing oil when deep-frying burns. If you are interested in making the best Chinese meals, you need to get yourself a wok.
Perhaps the most confusing things when seeking to purchase a wok pan is the cost. Original woks are made of carbon steel and are amazingly cheap. Most people get confused because they expect to pay more for better quality like for most other products. This misconception is not applicable to finding the best cooking wok. There is simply no substitute when it comes to a good and reliable carbon steel wok.
Today, there is a myriad of cooking woks on the market to choose from by users. Although some of the new items are advanced such as a non-stick wok and stainless steel products, experienced and skillful Asian cooks still prefer the original carbon steel product for a wok. This tells you where the fun is. Other designs include aluminum and copper types.
Types of woks
Flat and round bottom woks play different roles. For example, for a western electric range cooker, a flat bottom wok is most appropriate. In this case, a round bottom wok will reflect too much heat back to the element to damage it. You should prefer a flat-bottom as opposed to round-bottoms on gas stoves too.
Depending on the task, the size of the wok has a wide range of options. For example, restaurants prefer huge woks with several feet in diameter. Other factors such as the stove you own and the amount of wok and time you will spend determine the type of wok. Some people just prefer huge woks as a household item.
Since there is a high demand for low-fat cooking these days, there is an increase in non-stick woks. The coating style determines the overall performance of product. Make sure you trust the manufacturer or you will be getting wok that cannot last you long enough to enjoy your cooking. For example, Calphalon is among the most trusted heavy gauge manufacturers but specialize in aluminum woks. It is also important to remember that although non-stick pans are the latest, they are not as efficient as the original carbon steel.
It is critical to take a lid for every wok you purchase. Lids will boost your cooking especially if you are trying different styles of Chinese foods. Metal lids are the best especially when simmering or smoking. Covering food will help circulate the heat and steam to mix the ingredients completely.
Care and Maintenance
Before you begin using your wok, it is vital to first season it. This process will help eliminate the preservative oil used by oil manufacturers to keep it from rust. Replace the layer with a light coat of cooking oil. Remember to also thoroughly clean your wok after each use to give it the longevity of service. Although there may not be specific instructions for seasoning and cleaning procedures as there are many types of woks, original carbon steel woks are easiest to maintain.
After washing a carbon steel wok, dry it immediately to oil it before you store it. This will help it stay away from rust. Keep this routine until it turns blacker with time. As a wok gains more of the black color, it becomes more non-stick effortlessly.
Cooking with woks
The traditional concave shape makes a wok the perfect bamboo steamer. The metallic lid helps to absorb excess moisture and rip condensed water back onto the food to dilute its flavor. For the best results of steaming, first heat the water to boil before adding the food. Be careful with the steam and use tongs while handling food to stay clear of the dangerous heat. Note that steaming my remove the thin patina on your wok. In case this happens, re-season the product.
Smoking is perhaps what woks were meant for. It is an ingenious a for wok cooking. The depth and breadth of the pan helps to accommodate indoor smoking for household use. There is ample room for the smoke to circulate food in all standard woks. Most importantly, wok smoking is a simple cooking technique. All you need to do is scatter tea leaves, sugar, and rice at the bottom of a foil-lined wok. The rice acts as a fuel source, the sugar caramelizes it to give it the lightly color as well as sweetened, and the tea gives the aroma. It is after you het the mixture to smoking point that you cover it to trap the smoke inside.
Carbon steel works may be the best option for best traditional recipes but they also have their downsides. For example, for home use; you should be aware of material used to protect it from rusting. This means the product should not be washed with ordinary dishwashers.
Initially, carbon steel woks emit the unmistakable metallic odor when heated. Continuous care and maintenance helps to gradually suppress the odor. You will be amazed to find out that experienced users actually find it pleasing, though.