Whose Wok? What Wok?

IUnder_The_Weather_by_artyarta

I’ve been a little under the weather for the last couple of weeks…  I know I’m really behind in posts, emails, and keeping up with the blogs I follow!  I”m so, so sorry for that!!  I promise I’ll get back into the swing of things by tomorrow..

I’m also in need of advice…

I’m looking to buy a wok, and I don’t know a darn thing about them. 

I’ve read that carbon steel is the best. Then I read that carbon steel comes with some sort of protective coating that is almost impossible to remove, and then takes forever to season.  I’m an “I want it now” kind of girl, so I’m not sure that’s for me.  Maybe it is.  I need you to tell me that.

I also read that cast iron is the best.  Then I read that cast iron is the worst because of the way the heat distributes after you take food out or add food to the pan.

I’ve been looking at them on Amazon, and I make the mistake of reading all of the reviews.  You just never know who to believe.  “I love this wok”   “Do not buy this wok” “This one is the best”  “This one is the worst”…

I’m hoping that someone might provide some insight, and point me in the right direction.  Your guidance would be so appreciated!!

See you tomorrow!

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34 thoughts on “Whose Wok? What Wok?

  1. I will be paying attention to the replies you get – like you, I heard that carbon steel is THE best. I have a wok that was a gift from a dear friend, so I don’t think I’ll ever replace it, but sometimes I wonder… 😉

  2. I was also confused by the wok debate! The thing with carbon steel is you have to keep them seasoned (and initially that takes skill/commitment). I did not season mine properly or did not use it often enough or something, and it rusted. 😦
    So I cook with Scanpan wok which doesn’t give the proper wok finish to the dish, but is ok for everyday plus being low maintenance – it’s also good for risotto, braising, steaming, etc, so I need fewer pots in the pantry. I plan to change to a carbon steel after I’ve learned to season one properly.

  3. I’ve had my carbon steel wok for far too many more years than I care to reveal. Carbon steel woks are cheap, light to handle and get evenly hot, quickly. The other advantage is the temperature will recover quickly after you add ingredients to the wok because the steel is reasonably thin. They require seasoning at the beginning, an easy job, then the more you use it the the better it gets. You do have to be cautious about rust when the wok is new, but after use if you wash with warm soap water, heat the wok to dry it then spray it with cooking oil before storage you shouldn’t have too many problems. Good luck making a choice, I’d love to hear what you decide. 😉

    • I definitely think that carbon steel is going to be the winner!! It seems to be the most popular, and from what everyone is saying, totally worth the effort of seasoning. You will definitely hear about it when I finally get one!! It only seems fair that I share my “seasoning saga” with everyone.. 🙂

  4. Woks are a tricky business! I’d ask friends (on here and in the outside world) as you’re less likely to get biased answers. Also, reviews online can be so polarised – some people love a certain brand while others can’t stand them. I’m sorry I’m of no help, I use one that belongs to my mother and it is the heaviest, clunkiest thing, but does the job perfectly every time.
    I’ll be keeping an eye out for the wok in upcoming blog posts 🙂

    • I wonder how many of those reviews are actually for real. I did hear that some companies pay people to post positive reviews. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know…but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.
      I do think that I’m way behind the times in not owning a wok! It seems that everyone has one.. and theirs is already properly seasoned!!
      I need to rectify that situation ASAP!! 🙂
      Maybe I’ll do a post about seasoning a wok!

  5. I hope you’re better soon 🙂 I don’t use a wok very often and have given up on traditional carbon steel that I’ve bought in the past from local Chinese chops … too much hard work and I’m never sure my ‘seasoning’ looks very healthy!! I use a Jamie Oliver Tefal stir-fry pan which may not give quite the right effect for committed wok uses but is beautiful to use and keep clean. I love it. I use it for lots of things – not just stir fry!!

  6. Get well soon!! Afraid I cannot offer good advice on the wok front – I will be keeping an eye the reponses you get though. (Reason I do not own a wok is that I slashed our on a demyere stainless steel pan that works wonderfully as a wok).

  7. Hope you feel better soon! I am also looking for a wok and coincidentally, I was at my father-in-law’s last night and he had his cast-iron Lodge wok out. He says he has been cooking with it for a while and really enjoys the vegetables he cooks in it. I will be looking into this wok for myself. He is a great cook, so I trust his judgment. Lodge is also USA made, so that’s a bonus for me.

  8. Mhhh It’s hard, before getting my wok I had several opinion, of course, one different from the other one… so I decided to buy my wok in my trusted shop…I don’t remember the material, but it’s really have and it was quite expensive… but it works perfectly!

  9. Yay! You are here! 🙂 Hope you get some good recommendations for a new wok. (you already know I don’t have a clue…) I like Ngan’s comment above because I am familiar with Lodge. Don’t know why I have never been interested in a wok, but maybe I will be after I start seeing what you are making with one. Hope you’re feeling well Prudy. xx Seana

    • Lol… thank you Seana… honestly. I feel the love. 🙂 Likewise, my friend..likewise..
      Haha…maybe I won’t want a wok after I see what I’m making with it!! I’m sure that I will be on quite a few missions of trying to perfect different Asian dishes. After a failed General Tsao’s, Beef with Broccoli, and Pork Lo Mein last weekend, I know that it’s going to be an uphill battle for me!! 🙂

  10. Many years ago I took my first Chinese cooking class from a local chef, Christine Liu who had a cookbook, “More Nutritional Chinese Cooking”. The wok I bought was carbon steel and it sat inside a ring on top of my stove to stabilize it – very nice. I would imagine it was her suggestion. For me there were problems keeping it clean, seasoning, storing, etc. Christine said if you used it regularly it would be well seasoned and eventually turn black. I guess I did not use it enough and after many years I just went back to a skillet. On the positive side it was excellent for stir-frying and the veggies were always so tasty. Recently I bought an electric wok by Breville – I know shame on me!!! I may not get the authenticity of a true Chinese stir-fry but this wok works for me now 🙂

    • I’m actually looking at the carbon steel with the ring. I’m thinking that might be the way to go right now..but I know that I’m going to have to be committed to seasoning it. Like you, so many people have told their horror stories of rust and the difficult coating that has to be removed!
      I wouldn’t say “shame on you” at all!! I’d say “smart girl” for buying the electric wok!!
      You’ve “been there, and done that” with the carbon steel.. and now you have found what works for you!! 🙂 I’m all for that!

  11. The best wok I know of is of the Manchu variety. I don’t have much experience preparing my own food, so finding Asian dishes at Manchu Wok and at local Asian restaurants is my first option. I may have to look into purchasing my own wok and learning how to create the amazing dishes, I’m sure all of you make. I look forward to other’s comments and hope you’re feeling better!

    • Thanks so much for the info, Dutting… I’ll definitely look into the Manchu variety. I appreciate your advice.. and definitely look forward to you purchasing your own, and creating some wonderful dishes! I’ll be posting my failed Chinese meal very soon… looking for advice from my blogging friends.. maybe you’ll be able to offer some input as to what I’ve done wrong! It’s nice to meet you, and thank you so much for stopping by.. I’m so glad you did! 🙂

  12. We’ve always had a plain steel woks….maybe because the we’d bought one with protective coating on it and it came off soon. Woks are usually for deep frying rather than making food that requires non stick pans….so I’d recommend a plain steel ‘un.cause the in the non stick ones,coating will come off too soon for your taste 😉

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