Tips to Cooking with Wok

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When you start out cooking with a wok, it can be daunting. But really, it is not. The wok is one of the most versatile cooking tools you will ever use. It can be used to stir-fry, bake, deep-fry, steam, grill, simmer, stew, etc. The key is to choose a good Wok, use quality ingredients, be well prepared and dare to try new flavors and cooking methods. There are many different types of Woks on the market. The best Woks happen to be the least expensive. The larger, more expensive woks are very heavy and difficult to handle. Some people opt for a cast iron wok, but the best type is carbon steel. It allows food to heat quickly and evenly and it can be used with both electric and gas stoves. You can also choose a flat or a round bottom; either will work well. Try to find a carbon steel wok that is at least 2mm thick. Hand-hammered woks are very useful because food can be pushed to the sides more easily without slipping into the middle.

Spun woks, which have a concentric circle pattern, also work quite well, so I would recommend purchasing either a spun or hand-hammered wok. You will also find stamped Woks, but they do not have indentations that the food can remain inside of, so the food will slip into the middle. If you decide to go with a carbon steel wok, try your best to clean it after every use. This will allow the wok to last longer and the process only takes around 15 minutes. First, rinse the wok in hot water. Then use a regular scrubber that is not abrasive to remove any remaining food. Rinse the wok and then dry it well. Finally, place it over medium heat and wipe it with a bit of vegetable oil, which prevents rusting. However, if you do use the wok a lot, this last step is unnecessary. Store it until you would like to use it again. Never put your wok in a dishwasher and if rust appears, season your wok again and don’t worry about using soap.

A well-seasoned wok develops a natural ‘nonstick’ surface. This allows you to cook with less oil while preventing foods from sticking to the pan. If you want your Wok to develop a nice, non- stick surface, you have to season the wok before using it. Seasoning serves two main purposes- it prevents your wok from rusting and as mentioned before, it also prevents food from sticking to the pan. There are only 3 steps to follow when seasoning your wok: Clean it with detergent and a scrub brush. You can also use coarse salt and a rag. This will help get rid of the manufacturer coating. Secondly, heat the wok on medium-high heat with a layer of vegetable oil until it smokes. Turn the heat off, and when the wok has cooled off, wipe it with a paper towel. Repeat this 2 or 3 times until your wok is black and glossy. Your wok is now ready to use. when you begin using the wok, try not to cook food that sticks easily. This will allow your wok to be worn in and for the non-stick properties to develop. Before you start cooking, it is very important to chop your ingredients according to the directions.

For most wok recipes, this means finely chopped vegetables and thinly sliced proteins. when you start cooking, use a curved utensil such as a wok spatula or a wooden spoon; this will let you reach the very bottom of the wok. For simmering and braising, you can use a wok ladle and for deep frying, a perforated wok ladle or a slotted basting spoon works very well. You can find all of these utensils in kitchen supply shops and/or in Chinatown. In order for food not to stick, tilting the pan frequently is useful. Woks are often used for stir-fries, however, they can also be used for deep frying, and if you have a deep-fried recipe you’d like to make, less oil will be required than a normal frying pan. When you add ingredients to the wok, you should hear a sizzling sound, which means the wok is at the right temperature. Be sure to watch your ingredients carefully because your dish should be ready fairly quickly.

Make sure you have fresh ginger and garlic on hand as these are often used in Asian cooking. For frying, I recommend using grapeseed oil because it is less likely to burn at a high temperature. it is also one of the healthier oils on the market and since its flavor is neutral it will let the ingredients shine. you will also want to have good quality sesame oil for flavoring. In terms of vegetables, seasonal vegetables are the way to go. you can often substitute seasonal for non-seasonal vegetables if you want to be more creative; the flavors will be fresher. there are also certain vegetables such as bell peppers that should be eaten organically if your budget allows for it. Finally, be sure to have sauces such as oyster, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), and black bean in your cupboard. You can easily find those at supermarkets. Using a wok is much healthier and more convenient than a frying pan for two reasons.

Firstly, less oil is needed. The contents of the wok can be pushed to the side, allowing the oil to pool in the middle, thus you won’t serve food that’s coated in oil. Secondly, the curved shape allows for heat to remain within, which cooks the contents faster. This means that you can cook harder ingredients first very easily and leave soft vegetables or seafood until the end. The larger surface of the wok also allows you to put in many ingredients. If you are trying to eat more healthily and consume more vegetables, the wok is just the ticket. Many people find that their diet is not rich in fibers, which means that they become hungry faster. The more vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains you consume, the slower you will become hungry again. Not to mention, your diet will be much better.


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Tips to Cooking with Wok. (2021, Jan 15). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/tips-to-cooking-with-wok/

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