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Old 08-24-2006, 03:39 PM   #11
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CremeBruleeFan - depending on where you're located in VA, if you can find an Asian market within a reasonable distance, that's your best bet to find a good authentic carbon-steel wok at a decent, if not downright cheap, price.

I bought mine back in 1975 for under $20 & it's still going strong today (in fact I used it just last night, & use it at least once a week). Came with a lid for braising/steaming, as well as a converter ring for my stove. Got it in a tiny little Asian grocery store in Stony Brook, NY, but any decent Asian market will either carry them or can get one for you. Mine has steel handles as well, & I'm not sure I'd really like wooden handles as far as long-term durability. I doubt I'd still be using my 1975 wok if it had had wooden handles. The only difference is that I use an oven mitt to hold/balance the wok while cooking - not a big deal.

Forget about non-stick &/or flat-bottom - just gimmicky, & not what you want for good Asian dishes. You may not consider yourself a "good cook" now, but the right (& that doesn't mean expensive) cookware sure will give you a headstart & confidence to become one!! :)
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Old 08-24-2006, 05:21 PM   #12
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In my opinion........if you don't have a gas stove forget about gettin a wok.
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Old 08-24-2006, 05:39 PM   #13
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BangBang - first off, you are completely entitled to your opinion & I respect it. Following is my opinion & not meant to offend you.

BUT - I've been using my carbon steel wok on electric stoves since 1975 & everything turns out AMAZING!! Stirfries, steamed dishes using my bamboo steamers in the wok, deepfrying using the wok - you name it - &, GASP, all on electric stoves!!!

Go figure.

I've been cooking - & even done some catering - using my wok on electric stoves for years. Don't like gas stoves - never have, never will. Yes, yes, I know they're the diehard darlings of professional chefs, yadayadayada - yet surprisingly I've never received anything but kudos for my dishes; some of those kudos from professionals.

Again, go figure.

Please folks, don't think you need a gas stove to enjoy the delights of cooking with a carbon steel wok. Absolutely not true.

Edited to add: This does NOT hold true for smooth-top electric ranges. In fact, that was one of the main reasons why I didn't buy one the last time around. In fact, the instruction booklet for the smooth-top range even said NOT to use woks on it. First time I'd ever seen that in an instruction booklet. I ended up with the good old-fashioned electric element burners that I'm used to & still love them. I'm used to them, so can adapt any recipe, plus they're uber easy to replace if something goes awry. I also don't have that oogy gas smell in my kitchen, & also don't have to worry about blowing up, like 2 episodes fairly recently here in Virginia.
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Old 08-24-2006, 06:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
BangBang - first off, you are completely entitled to your opinion & I respect it. Following is my opinion & not meant to offend you.

BUT - I've been using my carbon steel wok on electric stoves since 1975 & everything turns out AMAZING!! Stirfries, steamed dishes using my bamboo steamers in the wok, deepfrying using the wok - you name it - &, GASP, all on electric stoves!!!

Go figure.

I've been cooking - & even done some catering - using my wok on electric stoves for years. Don't like gas stoves - never have, never will. Yes, yes, I know they're the diehard darlings of professional chefs, yadayadayada - yet surprisingly I've never received anything but kudos for my dishes; some of those kudos from professionals.

Again, go figure.

Please folks, don't think you need a gas stove to enjoy the delights of cooking with a carbon steel wok. Absolutely not true.

Edited to add: This does NOT hold true for smooth-top electric ranges. In fact, that was one of the main reasons why I didn't buy one the last time around. In fact, the instruction booklet for the smooth-top range even said NOT to use woks on it. First time I'd ever seen that in an instruction booklet. I ended up with the good old-fashioned electric element burners that I'm used to & still love them. I'm used to them, so can adapt any recipe, plus they're uber easy to replace if something goes awry. I also don't have that oogy gas smell in my kitchen, & also don't have to worry about blowing up, like 2 episodes fairly recently here in Virginia.
Well.......unfortunately I have the flat burner type. Ughhhhh My next stove will be agasstove.I grew up with gas but my icelady wife insisted on electric. I got used to it but miss my wok. However I have been able to do some good stuff using a cast iron pan. I can get that pretty hot. Making pasta sucks too on a flat top burner stove. Takes forever for the water to boil. Ughhhh I think I willget a new stove when and if I get a tax refund if I can straighten out my conflicts with the IRS. I got busted for not paying 2000 taxes. I had gottin two years back pay and they counted it as one years income.*)&*&^%%$)+*&%! OK.......this is what I want.
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Old 08-24-2006, 06:31 PM   #15
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Of course, if you have the money, the ultimate would be to use a good carbon-steel, hand-hammered wok on an induction stove. The pan heats more quickly and the stove delivers more energy to the metal than do either gas, or radiant heat coils from a standard or smooth-top electric stove. Plus you get the instant temperature control that you get from gas. Plus, since no heat is lost to the surounding atmosphere, the stove is more energy efficient, and since it stays cool to the touch, except where the hot pan-metal touches it, no foods burn to it and clean-up is a snap.

That being said (I wish I could afford one) I use a very large flat-bottomed carbon steel wok. The brand name is atlas and it has worked very, very well for me. I can get it very hot on the cooking surface with my gas stove, and since the flame only touches the 8 inch flat-bottom, the sides, though hot, remain cool enough to prevent burning as I add more food to the bottom. It is well seasoned and everything from pancakes, to omelets, to egg-rolls have been cooked in it, along with stir-fries, fried rice, etc. nothing sticks. I've even deep-fried donuts in the thing.

All wive's tales aside, think about what wok cooking is all about. You use very high heat to quickly sear and caremalize the food, which prevents you from overcooking them on the inside. The food remains flavorful, and full of nutrients. The sides are further away from the heat source by design and serve to act as a resting place for cooked foods, keeping them warm while more is added to the hot bottom.

The Atlas brand wok I have is heavy steel and retains heat well, making it a good vessel for deep frying. And since it has a conical shape, it doesn't require as much oil as does a fying pan to do the job.

I have also used a half-sphere shaped wok with a wok ring. It did the job equally as well.

I like my wok. I have cooked with and enjoyed other woks as well. But I would never, ever use stainless steel, cast-iron, or non-stick woks. I love cast-iron for my other cooking requirements. But it is just to heavy to make a good wok (though I haven't actually used one and this is just an educated guess on my part).

So my advise is to find a wok that fits your needs. Size it according to how many people you are planning to feed, and the heat charecteristics of your stove. I love everything about my wok except that one of the wooden handles is not removable and so I can not season it in the oven. Other than that, it's simply great to cook with.

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Old 08-24-2006, 06:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
Please folks, don't think you need a gas stove to enjoy the delights of cooking with a carbon steel wok. Absolutely not true..
I agree 100%.

I moved into a house with no gas line, so I have cooked on a ceramic top electric stove for 8 years now. I used to hate electric stoves, but I really like this one.

My round-bottomed carbon steel wok, bought when I had gas works great on my stove. I can get it smoking hot, which is the key to cooking successfully in a wok.

Frankly, it works even better than on my old gas stovetop which was too light in the btu department for me.

I spose it depends on the stove.
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Old 08-24-2006, 07:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
CremeBruleeFan - depending on where you're located in VA, if you can find an Asian market within a reasonable distance, that's your best bet to find a good authentic carbon-steel wok at a decent, if not downright cheap, price.

I bought mine back in 1975 for under $20 & it's still going strong today (in fact I used it just last night, & use it at least once a week). Came with a lid for braising/steaming, as well as a converter ring for my stove. Got it in a tiny little Asian grocery store in Stony Brook, NY, but any decent Asian market will either carry them or can get one for you. Mine has steel handles as well, & I'm not sure I'd really like wooden handles as far as long-term durability. I doubt I'd still be using my 1975 wok if it had had wooden handles. The only difference is that I use an oven mitt to hold/balance the wok while cooking - not a big deal.

Forget about non-stick &/or flat-bottom - just gimmicky, & not what you want for good Asian dishes. You may not consider yourself a "good cook" now, but the right (& that doesn't mean expensive) cookware sure will give you a headstart & confidence to become one!! :)
Hey Breeze,
My wok has wooden handles and has worked out just fine!
Of course I've only used mine since 1984
And I also agree with the other posts about electric stoves it works fine on open coil elements once you get used to it. I just happen to prefer gas cooktops. I'd like to try one of those induction type cooktops that G-Weed was talking about though.
Through the years I've owned an inexpensive carbon steel wok, an electric wok and a flat bottom non stick wok. The carbon steel 84 model is still with me.
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