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Thread: Does Anyone Have A Wok That They Like?

  1. #1
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    Does Anyone Have A Wok That They Like?

    In our eternal quest for healthy living, we decided that we had to get rid of our trusty nonstick wok since research has shown that nonstick cookware is dangerous at high heat.

    Invested in a $80 Calphalon flat bottom 13" wok that can work on our flat glass surface range...and hate it! The tofu stuck like crazy! And the veggies didn't seem to be fully stir fried or even hot?

    Andy advice?
    “It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society”.----Krishnamurti

  2. #2

    Wok

    we have a thai restaurant and our chef only uses cat iron pans and wok. Brand is Le creuset.

  3. #3
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    I have a very large Bodum cast iron wok that I love, but I've only used it on a gas range. It does have a flat bottom, so I presume it would work on an electric stovetop. I like that I can get it insanely hot without worrying about damaging the finish (because there isn't a finish), and that it holds so much heat that I can put large amounts of food in it and know the surface will stay hot.

    It isn't like a nonstick - if I cook tofu, I have to really let it brown before I move it. Even then there's a little bit of sticking, but it all seems to come off when I add the sauce (basically deglazing the pan). Since I've never seasoned the pan, I just live with it and it doesn't bother me all that much.

    I hope you find the perfect one for you.

    Amy

  4. #4
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    Well this thread inspired me, so I bought one! I do have gas:

    http://www.amazon.com/inch-Tradition...1&keywords=wok

    I had to buy a ring too, obviously...
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  5. #5
    I had a carbon steel one that I liked but I got one from Lodge and I love it. Use it on gas though. Love that it does not move as I stir fry. Very heavy.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Ca...+cast+iron+wok

    Also love that it's made here, bought it at the factory store in TN.
    Carlin
    website:www.chefcarlin.com

  6. #6
    We have a flat/glass top electric stove and use a carbon steel wok. I don't know if it is a brand name or not, we bought it in a boxed set 25 years or more ago. If it is a brand name then it is one of the ones department stores sell, so Joyce Chen?

    We also have a Magnalite one that we use. It's like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/Magnalite-GH...item4ac0dc8cdf

    I don't know if that brand is still around. Dh likes the magnalite one because he can soak it in the sink when he is done and then was it, and you can't soak the carbon steel one. But it is a little smaller than the steel one.
    ______

    Elizabeth

    Walking Towards Wellness, my personal challenge to walk 10,000 steps per day in 2014 while living with and managing a chronic illness. Walk with me.

  7. #7
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    I've had my carbon steel wok for almost 30 years, and its great even though I abuse it by cleaning it (lightly) with a Brillo pad. I got it from a store that specialized in Chinese cooking, so it's the genuine article. First I had to season it by getting it very hot, adding oil and swirling/smearing it around until it smoked, and then scrubbing it in hot soapy water. That took the factory oil off. After that, it kept self-seasoning itself every time I cooked.

    They say not to use soap or harsh steel wool on the wok - just to scrub it out with a bamboo brush and hot water - but I'm squeamish about possibly leaving food particles or smells on a pot that I put in my cupboard. So ... see above, Brillo pad. I think the secret is to get the wok very hot each time before adding the oil. That makes an instant nonstick surface that keeps getting better as the wok is used. Oh, and the inside bottom of the wok tends to turn black and shiny as you keep using it. That's how you can tell it's well seasoned.

    Forgot to mention: Be sure to dry the wok right after washing it, or else it may rust.

    Cheers,
    Phoebe

  8. #8
    FWIW, Cooks Illustrated does not recommend woks or flat bottomed woks to use in home kitchens.

    They have an excellent method for stir frying dishes and recommend a standard 12" sauté pan.

    The problem with woks (even flat bottomed woks) is that on a home stove it produces more of a steamed effect since there is insufficient room for the food.

    In brief, the CI method involves cooking the meat or protein - removing it - adding veggies in order that will require length of time - and ONLY in quantities that can be held at the bottom of the saute pan without crowding - which results in steamed/soft rather than the desired "stir fried" consistency.

    Since using their method, I have had excellent results using my large sauté pan and my electric range.

  9. #9
    I use my 14 inch lodge cast iron skillet. I can't say enough good things about that pan. Its perfect for everything: stirfries, pizza, roasts, pancakes and crepes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by amarante View Post
    FWIW, Cooks Illustrated does not recommend woks or flat bottomed woks to use in home kitchens.

    They have an excellent method for stir frying dishes and recommend a standard 12" sauté pan.

    The problem with woks (even flat bottomed woks) is that on a home stove it produces more of a steamed effect since there is insufficient room for the food.

    In brief, the CI method involves cooking the meat or protein - removing it - adding veggies in order that will require length of time - and ONLY in quantities that can be held at the bottom of the saute pan without crowding - which results in steamed/soft rather than the desired "stir fried" consistency.

    Since using their method, I have had excellent results using my large sauté pan and my electric range.
    This.

    And if one is to believe things about smoke point and all of that, the high heat method of cooking is less healthy than the gentler methods.

    I have a carbon steel wok but I no longer have gas, so I use the CI method. To be honest, I don't care if my foods get "steamed" instead of charred. I know I am losing out on a little flavoring from the Maillard reaction, but I don't care.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  11. #11
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    Another vote for carbon steel, although I don't know the brand I have (it's over 30 years old). I have used it on a gas stove, but tossed the "ring" years ago.

    The way I learned to stir-fry, back when books were my only resource, was to cook the protein first, then the veggies. Since it's only the 2 of us steaming the food has never been a problem since it's not a huge quantity.

    I have tried a nonstick, flat-bottom wok, and a nonstick, electric wok and have always gone back to the carbon steel.
    Vicci


    Can't you just eat what I put in front of you? Do you have to know what it is?
    Ria Parkinson, Butterflies (BBC, 1978-83)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaL View Post
    Another vote for carbon steel, although I don't know the brand I have (it's over 30 years old). I have used it on a gas stove, but tossed the "ring" years ago.

    The way I learned to stir-fry, back when books were my only resource, was to cook the protein first, then the veggies. Since it's only the 2 of us steaming the food has never been a problem since it's not a huge quantity.

    I have tried a nonstick, flat-bottom wok, and a nonstick, electric wok and have always gone back to the carbon steel.
    Keeping in mind I do not have the wok yet and am a complete ignoramus on this topic what do you mean you threw the ring out? Doesn't the wok wobble all over then?
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  13. #13
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    Laura, I don't know why I tossed the ring those many years ago, probably because I wasn't using it. My wok doesn't wobble or feel unsteady, it seems to "fit" into both the burners of my old stove and the new one I've had for a few months. Maybe I've been lucky. It is pretty heavy, so that may be another reason why it's stable without the ring.

    This thread made me curious, so I got out the wok and scrubbed a bit where the manufacturer stamp is. Apparently my wok is spun carbon steel, USA made by the Atlas Spinning Co., and has a lot of "fans" out there. I had my first "real" Chinese food in 1980-81, after graduating from (a small town) college and moving to NYC, became a huge fan, and my Mom bought me this sometime afterward.
    Vicci


    Can't you just eat what I put in front of you? Do you have to know what it is?
    Ria Parkinson, Butterflies (BBC, 1978-83)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaL View Post
    Laura, I don't know why I tossed the ring those many years ago, probably because I wasn't using it. My wok doesn't wobble or feel unsteady, it seems to "fit" into both the burners of my old stove and the new one I've had for a few months. Maybe I've been lucky. It is pretty heavy, so that may be another reason why it's stable without the ring.

    This thread made me curious, so I got out the wok and scrubbed a bit where the manufacturer stamp is. Apparently my wok is spun carbon steel, USA made by the Atlas Spinning Co., and has a lot of "fans" out there. I had my first "real" Chinese food in 1980-81, after graduating from (a small town) college and moving to NYC, became a huge fan, and my Mom bought me this sometime afterward.
    Interesting. I bought the ring, but I was curious to see how it would fit on the grates of the cook top. Guess I will have to be patient and wait to find out!
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  15. #15
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    Thanks for your replies. BedBath and Beyond was nice enough to let us return the stainless steel wok. We did season it. And we cooked the tofu first, but it stuck like crazy. And then the veggies were more steamed than stir fried.

    There are some new more ecologically sound cookware pieces coming out that supposedly don't have the bad chemicals, but reviews indicate that the finish rubs off after 3 to 8 months!

    Will do some more research into cast iron and carbon steel and using a skillet as a wok...
    “It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society”.----Krishnamurti

  16. #16
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    Tried to find this thread again and the stupid search engine they have here can't find *wok*...never mind it is right in the subject/title.

    I found this in Fine cooking at the library today and thought you may enjoy it.

    http://www.finecooking.com/articles/...-your-wok.aspx
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  17. #17
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    Well I got the wok. So far I like it just fine. It is cast iron but not at all too heavy, and was easy to season. I made Kung Pao Chicken tonight and it came out well, although I believe I messed up because when doubling the protein, I doubled the whole recipe, which I think gave me too much liquid.

    I used it without the ring and actually yes it worked ok. Which is good because I don't think it will get anywhere near hot enough with the ring.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

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