Monday, April 28, 2014

Best Wok Reviews 2014

Chinese Wok Cooking - Best Wok to Buy

Stir-frying and searing in hot oil is a popular cooking technique among the cooks throughout Asia.

The most important piece of cookware in their kitchen is the highly versatile Chinese wok or skillet pan, sometimes referred to as Asian wok.

In the olden days, these were round bottom and made of cast iron. Chinese wok cooking has a 2000 year history. In fact, most olden Chinese homes have just a wok and an earthen pot as their entire best cookware set, dishing out delicious, sophisticated everyday meals for the entire extended family members.

Why is cooking with a wok so versatile, so practical, so flexible?

The secret lies in its concave shape. It heat up quickly and evenly and retains heat well. It can be used to steam, stir-fry, simmer, braise, make sauces, deep-fry or boil practically any Chinese dish, all done in an energy-efficient way. Very little oil needed when stir-frying, is another attractive feature of the Chinese wok. Yes, it has almost unlimited uses, a highly efficient kitchen utensil.

What is the best wok to buy?

The carbon steel, 18/10 stainless steel, non-stick, preseasoned cast-iron and electric woks, are preferred by the modern cooks, for convenience and aesthetic reasons but Chinese chefs swear by their iron woks.

A heavy-gauge stainless steel wok or cast-iron one that does not tip over easily, or hard-anodized non-stick that do not scratch when used with metal spatula, are good buys. Carbon steel ones are cheaper, lighter and thus easier to use and if properly seasoned, make great durable non-stick cooking skillet pans. Teflon-coated ones are not highly recommended as they scratch easily and cannot withstand high heat needed for successful stir-frying.

Buy a flat bottom wok to fit the modern gas or electric stove tops or get a wok ring to put on the gas stove if you prefer a round bottom one. The disadvantage is that the round bottom would be slightly raised above the flame. High heat is the key to successful stir-frying, so the closer it is to the flame, the better the results.

A round bottom wok has a wider area to work with compared with a flat bottom one. The sloping concave sides means you can safely stir-fry without worrying about food splashing or spilling out, besides being easier to scoop out the cooked food with the metal spatula. Deep frying is also much easier with less oil needed to cover the food due to its round bottom.

An iron or carbon steel one needs to be seasoned before it can be used. After rinsing it, just apply a thin layer of vegetable oil and heat it for one hour, preferably in the oven.

A preseasoned cast-iron wok by the manufacturer takes the trouble out of doing it yourself, such as the Lodge Pro Logic cast iron wok. If properly seasoned, it will result in a natural, non-toxic, non-stick surface. However, whether carbon steel or cast-iron, these types tend to rust easily and it is recommended to dry it thoroughly over heat each time after using and re-seasoned it each time after use.

In stir-frying, a little oil is added to a heated hot wok, then flavor enhancers are added, such as garlic, shallots or ginger, lending a fragrant aroma to the dish. Main ingredients are then added one by one, depending on their cooking time, rapidly stirred to mix them up, and cooked in a very short time. It is very important to have all the ingredients prepared ahead of time as the whole process is over in a matter of minutes.

Ingredients must also be cut to around the same size so that they cook evenly.

Wok cooking is a fun and efficient way to cook healthy and nutritious meals. Do check out best wok to buy, and start having fun in the kitchen.

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