Everyone likes to eat fast food outside. These tasty and spicy foods bring water to everyone’s mouth. One might have noticed big cooking pots in restaurants or any street carts. That big semi-circular cooking pot with a very large surface area is called wok. These are mostly not included in regular Kitchen sets available in the market. Woks have gained popularity because of the ease they provide to cook most fast foods. The flat-bottom woks are even more popular and can be seen in typical kitchens. One should consider buying a wok if they are interested in making fast foods just like street foods.
A Wok is a semi-circle-shaped, deep round-bottom cooking pot. It originated from China and dated back to the Chinese Han Dynasty when it was used to dry grains. Later, during the Ming Dynasty, the wok came out to be the desired pot for stir-frying. Woks are employed in various types of Chinese cooking techniques. Cooking with a wok is usually done with a long-handle spatula to protect the cook from high heat.
The most distinguishable feature of wok is its shape. Vintage wok consists of a round-shaped bottom, perfect for big stoves and older forms of cooking stoves. Nowadays, woks are sold with a flat-bottom. Flat bottom woks are mainly manufactured for use with modern elective stoves as the traditional round-bottom woks will not make proper contact. Flat-bottom makes it similar to the deep frying pan.
A cook can easily use the typical round spatula with the semi-circle shaped wok to pick up the food from the base. It also makes it easier for the cook to toss the food in the round bottom wok.
Woks are manufactured using various materials. The two most common materials are carbon steel and cast iron. Carbon steel is the most widely used material for making woks. It is inexpensive, lightweight, reasonably durable, and provides quick heat conduction because of its low heat capacity. Mass-produced woks usually have low-quality material that is not suitable for cooking. For the best quality woks, one should consider buying handmade ones.
Cast iron woks are mostly Chinese-made. The material used is very thin, but it weighs a little more than carbon steel, one of the same size. However, cast-iron forms a thin layer of stable carbonised seasoning, resulting in less stickiness. Non-stick woks are also available. These are made up of steel and are coated with a thin layer of PFA or Teflon. Food cooked in non-stick woks doesn’t taste as good as compared to the other woks as they necessarily lack the carbonising and seasoning of the classic steel. They tend to retain juices, resulting in the browning of the pan.
Woks are now also made from aluminium. Aluminium is a good conductor of heat. It is somewhat inferior as compared to carbon steel or cast iron woks. This is because aluminium loses heat much faster when compared to its counterparts. However, anodised aluminium can be used for making woks as they can stand up for constant use. Aluminium is mostly used for making lids of woks.
Handles are also included in woks. The bigger woks typically use loop handles that are attached to the opposite sides. For smaller woks, a normal long handle is sufficient. But in the case of medium-sized woks, a mix of handles are used. A long handle on one side and a supporting loop handle on the opposite side.
Author: Alison Lurie