What sort of work should I buy?
Flat or Round Bottom?
If you cook on an electric burner, use a
wok with a flat bottom. A round bottom wok would reflect heat back onto the
element and damage it. Gas stoves can take flat or round bottomed woks.
Flat bottomed woks usually have a long
wooden handle which makes it easy to move and tilt the wok when cooking. They
also have a small handle on the other side to make it easier to lift the wok.
Round bottomed woks usually stay closer
to the traditional design with a metal ‘ear’ handle on each side – or they may
have just a single long metal or wooden handle.
In cookware, the
general rule is to always buy the best that you can afford. The wok is one area
where this absolutely doesn’t apply. Let’s look at the options to see
Stainless Steel is not a good conductor of heat and
that is a basic requirement of wok cooking. Stainless steel woks are quite
expensive and it’s not necessary to pay a lot of money for a good wok.
Electric woks are available but they are inefficient,
expensive and best avoided.
Non-stick surfaces are unnecessary as woks are easy to
season and clean. Non-stick surfaces don’t last well with the high
temperatures of wok cooking.
Aluminum gets very hot all
over which is a drawback. You want the sloping sides of the wok to be
slightly cooler for resting the food that you have already cooked.
Hammered metal looks nice but there is no advantage to
it in the cooking process.
Lids are often supplied but are not really necessary.
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