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The Woks


The earliest woks weren't woks at all, but cast-iron pans with sloping sides great for tossing and stirring a lot of food easily. Developed as a result of the frugal use of fuel, historians also think that there's a connection between the helmuts and shields of the invading Mongols and woks.

Modern woks are very versatile. They can be used for almost any type of cooking: stir frying, deep frying, steaming, stewing, and even baking a cake. A wide variety of different materials, sizes and shapes are available nowadays. When selecting a wok you must consider the type of range you have. If you have a gas range, you may use either a round-bottom or flat-bottom wok. If you have an electric range, the flat-bottom style is the best choice. By selecting your wok appropriately, you will eliminate the need of a ring stand. Most Woks range in sizes from 10" to 16", the 14" is the most preferable size which is adequate for the preparation of most dishes in the cookbook. Although Woks are available in many different types of materials, the traditional wok made from uncoated carbon steel is the most popular one. This material conducts heat well and is the most economical to purchase.

General Wok Cooking Instructions

  1. Always check to see if you have all the ingredients on hand before preparing meals.
  2. Cut up your meat and vegetables, marinating any that require this process. Set aside for cooking, if you are cooking several wok dishes at the same meal, prepare all of them before cooking any.
  3. Place oil in wok, heat until oil just begins to smoke.
  4. Stir fry your meat, onions, or garlic together. Then add other ingredients accordingly.
  5. If a gravy is desired, use a little corn starch (about 1 tablespoon) dissolved in 1/3 cup of water. Stir this mixture vigorously and pour into your wok on top of your cooked food. Mix thoroughly. Your gravy should be just the right consistency. In case it is too thick, add hot water a tablespoon at a time to thin gravy out. If the gravy is too thin, mix up more corn starch solution and repeat process.
  6. If you are cooking several wok dishes at the same meal, and are worried about keeping them all warm, heat your oven up to 150'C. and store cooked dishes in it until eating time. Maximum storage time is about one hour. DO NOT store cooked leaft green vegetables in this manner as they will turn yellow. Instead, leave those in an uncovered wok and reheat at meal time. If you have an electric hot tray, it is excellent for keeping dishes warm.

Caring For & Storing The Wok

A properly seasoned wok should not be scoured with abrasive material such as steel wool. After cooking foods in the wok, it is best to run very hot water into it and clean the surface of the wok with a bamboo brush or plastic scour. Dry the wok thoroughly with a paper towel and store for future use. Some gourmets will place a small amount of oil on their fingertips to re-coat their woks to keep them in top cooking condition. Eventually through repeated usage, a dark brown film will develop in the wok. The wok is now truly seasoned. This film is essentially carbon and is not harmful to one's health. The bottom of the woks, the part that touches the cooking flame of the stove should definitely be scoured over occasionally to free it of collected residue.

If one has the misfortune to accidentally burn food in the wok, it will be necessary to take steel wool and scour out the burnt material and then re-season the wok once again. Each time that one has to scour out the wok with abrasive material, then one should re-season the wok.

Stainless steel woks sometimes stick when used to cook omelettes or for stir-frying meats. To overcome this problem, one can spend five minutes to "season" the wok before use or spray a coating of lecithin on the surface of the wok to allow for easy gliding of the foods. Lecithin is sold commercially under several brand names as "non-stick" cooking aids.

This one got perfect review but it is a little steep on price. I would get this if I can afford it.

Otherwise, you may get this one:

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