If there’s anything beneficial in helping Australians try out some of their favourite Asian cuisines, having a wok would most definitely be one of them. Arguably it is one of the most versatile tools to have in any kitchen and offers a plethora of other functions too. From deep frying, steaming and smoking, woks are a must-have for those looking to enhance their cooking experiences.
With the rise of Asian cuisines in the country, a lot of households feel the need to try and experiment with the dishes on their terms. Having a wok can help with all of that and more! But, the right one to buy is a bit of a problem as there are plenty of shapes, sizes and functionalities to choose from. Read on to find out how to buy the best wok and when it comes to Chinese cooking:
- The Material: Stainless steel might be the go-to material for most kitchen tools but not for woks. The material takes a long time to heat up and cool off. Not to mention the tendencies of some food materials to stick to the surface, adding to the difficulty of cooking. Cast iron, on the other hand, is a better choice as it offers a nonstick surface to cook on. A disadvantage of cast iron is their tendency to break if they happen to fall. The material is fragile and if they are thick, users might find it difficult to move it around for frying or smoking. That leaves carbon steel as the best material for a wok compared to the above two choices. They are affordable, highly durable and with the right seasoning and maintenance, can last for a very long time.
- How About Having A Non-Stick Option? A nonstick surface might sound favourable as a boost in functionality but most non-stick woks in the Australian market are not necessarily effective. Nonstick surfaces cannot handle high heat or extreme temperatures during the cooking processes, especially for browning.
- The Shape: Currently, customers can go for the flat surface wok since most cooking tops can only handle flat bottoms. A round-bottomed wok only works well if the home has a custom insert that can easily accommodate that shape. Otherwise, it’ll be a waste of money. However, it’s better to avoid round-bottomed shapes altogether as they have problems with even heat distribution and can be tough to flip around too. A flat bottom with sloping sides offer the full effectiveness that a wok can offer, especially when paired with modern cooking ranges currently available in the market.
- The Handle: Considering the familiarity of the handles for other pans, customers will find it easy if the wok has a long handle on one side and a short handle on the other. The typical Cantonese style of two handles is the original wok style but, unless the customer is adept in the Chinese cooking style, they’ll find difficulty in adapting to the new handle placement.
- Is Size Important? When in the market for a wok, there’s no need to go for the large ones that commercial kitchens use. A small one will be more than enough for a family of four or five. But then again, the size is also determined by the customers cooking preferences, stove size and wok depth.
Do season the wok before using it for the first time as the seasoning will get rid of all the oil that was in place to counter the rust. Seasoning will also prepare the wok for high heat usage but not all woks follow a general seasoning routine.
Read also: Shopping for Smoke Supplies? Search No More