Wok Pan: a Chinese Miracle That Makes Your Food Special
China has brought to the world numerous inventions, many of which are still in use. The wok pan is another worthy invention, which has step-by-step moved from top Asian restaurants to our homes. Woks are actively sold in ordinary supermarkets and online stores. For example, you can select a carbon steel wok pan on https://yosukata.com/carbon-steel-woks/. Meanwhile, there are also ceramic, cast-iron, steel woks, with one or two handles, and a flat or convex bottom. How to choose the right wok from all this variety? Does it need to be seasoned or pre-seasoned? In fact, everything is not as hard as it may seem. The main thing is to understand the principles of this pan!
A brief history of WOK pans
In China, wok pans have been produced for several millennia. According to the legends, the ordinary Chinese peasants were the first to create them. They didn’t have enough wood or coal, but straw and manure were in abundance. Although this fuel gave a lot of heat, it had one significant disadvantage – it quickly burned out, so there was a need for the relevant pan. Fortunately, one anonymous human came up with an idea that allowed us to use precious energy with maximum benefit. The pan had a unique conical shape, which allowed all the ingredients to roll down to the bottom of the pan and end up in the very heart of the burning hearth. This invention has provided the Chinese people with healthy and tasty food for the coming millennia.
How to cook in a WOK?
In a wok, food can be fried, boiled, stewed, deep-fried, and steamed. If you plan to fry your food, choose an oil that is unflavored and one that can be used to fry at high temperatures: 100% sesame oil is not suitable for frying in a WOK, but vegetable oil or sesame oil with soy are excellent options. For proper frying, you first need to heat it well on fire (3-5 minutes), then add oil, heat it up (2 more minutes), and only then add the ingredients. Never put vegetables, fish, or meat in a cold pan – this will only spoil the product, giving it a damp taste.
The most popular way to cook food in a wok is stir-frying. Stir-fry is good because it preserves the aroma, color, structure, and nutritional value of the prepared product. With this method of processing, the ingredients must be constantly tossed and stirred with a spatula so that they do not stick to the bottom and walls. Among the other methods of cooking food in a WOK are the following:
- Normal frying. The technology is exactly the same as with stir-fry, however, 2-3 times more oil is added to make the dishes more oily;
- Deep frying. This requires a special deep-frying oil that does not burn. Oil needs to be added in large quantities – at least to the middle or 2/3 of the WOK;
- Stewing. This method involves stewing pieces of meat or vegetables in a wok in plenty of water, with oil and soy sauce;
- Steam cooking. This method is good for those who prefer finesse, tenderness, ease of eating, and long cooking.
Choosing the best WOK
Wok pans are made from a variety of materials. Cast iron pans are considered the best. They are durable, strong, scratch-resistant, and suitable for frequent use. However, due to the impressive weight, you may prefer a lightweight aluminum pan with a non-stick coating. It is only worth remembering that it requires a delicate attitude, otherwise it will not last long. A practical solution may be a carbon steel frying pan, which is more reliable and durable, although more weighty. A frying pan with a ceramic coating, a perfectly smooth bottom, and a non-heating handle will please those who prefer high-quality and expensive kitchen utensils. Finally, housewives who follow the latest trends should get an electric wok with two comfortable handles and a special grill grate. What else can be useful when using a wok? We suggest you will like the following items:
- Lid. It is not required for the wok, but if you buy a lid, make sure it has a convex shape. A wok lid is needed for steaming dishes, soups, sauces, casseroles;
- Ladle in the form of a spatula – a tool for stirring ingredients in a wok;
- Lushao – a ladle for taking out ingredients during deep-frying;
- Bamboo steamer. This is a perfect tool for steaming in a wok. The diameter of the steamer must be no larger than the diameter of the wok itself.
Any of the wok pans in your arsenal will replenish your everyday menu with amazing, delicious dishes, and will also allow you to feel like a chef in a trendy restaurant.