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Old 01-30-2006, 12:31 PM   #1
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Wok Questions

I have recently found favor with Keith Floyd who does a tv show on BBC. He often times uses woks in his cooking sketches and I'd like to know what kind to look for, where to look to buy one, what makes a wok good and one not so good, etc? Can you help? I think I'm in the market for a wok.

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Old 01-30-2006, 01:29 PM   #2
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The good news is that a good wok is very inexpensive. What you want to look for is a carob steel wok. You will have to treat it like cast iron. It needs to be seasoned and be careful of water. You can get it wet, but make sure to dry it completely so it does not rust. There are round bottom and flat bottom woks. If you will be using it on a standard range then a flat bottom will be your best bet. Some have one handle, others have two (the second is know as a helper handle I think). Some come with lids and racks and all sorts of stuff. I would not worry too much about the extra stuff though. A good wok should not be more than $30, but probably even less (maybe as low as $15). Check out Chinatown if you are close to one, otherwise look on the web. Lots of great deals.
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
The good news is that a good wok is very inexpensive. What you want to look for is a carob steel wok.
I think GB meant to say a carbon steel wok. A wok that kinda tastes like chocolate, while tasty, probably wouldn't do real well over an open flame...

We got a nice one from http://www.wokshop.com and we've been very happy with it.

John
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:06 PM   #4
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Carob steel woks often don't hold up to the high heat required when stir frying.

Plus, they are not nonreactive, so can flavor the food (though not unpleasantly). They are great for making mole sauce, though.


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Old 01-30-2006, 02:16 PM   #5
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LOL the darn spell check doesn't work when it is a real word that I use

Yes Carbon is what I meant, although I would like to see a carob wok. You know your meal is done when the wok melts and turns into a sauce
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:42 PM   #6
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Don't hold out for the bamboo brush

A wok spatula is called a "shovel". Since woks come in different sizes, you may want to consider looking at woks that come with a shovel - There will be a better chance of the shovel's curvature matching that of the wok.

I bought my wok off of a TV ad around 1989 after a Chinese friend recommended it. The wok came with a lid, shovel, ladle, brass strainer (for frying), fire ring, and if I acted in the next 10 minutes a genuine bamboo cleaning brush.

I still have, and use, everything but the brush. It soaked up oil & food particles, and got pretty nappy looking. It never saw the 'nineties.

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Old 01-30-2006, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomw
brass strainer (for frying)
Which is called a spider.
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Old 01-30-2006, 03:06 PM   #8
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I got mine at The Wok Shop in San Francisco about 6 years ago and I love it. They ship anywhere.

Carbon Steel is my preference, too.

I had a really cheapo one before that but it heated unevenly. An an electric one before that, which you should avoid because they just don't get hot enough.
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:39 AM   #9
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I really do appreciate all the comments to help me with this wok thing. I will go into the web sites and see for myself. I too thought that carbon was what was meant as I put into google 'carob steel' and it said "do you mean carbon steel"? Funny I bought one probably 25 years ago at Gemco where I worked at the time in the Housewares dept. It was only 'okay'. The cleanup was not fun nor easy. It came with the stand you place it on over your burner which I could never find where I'd hidden it behind other pots. It had a rounded bottom so you had to use that thingie to make it stay put. It got tossed with a move years ago.

I did learn a valuable lesson though by using it. I like to make dinner in advance from when the DH comes home. But using a wok, the veggies sure don't stay crisp regardless of how early you turn the heat off of them. If they stay in the wok, they become mush. I guess that's true with any cooking pan but I can't tell you how many times I've done that very thing to my veggies. Live and learn or in my case, live and don't learn.

My new stove is a 6 burner white in color Kitchen Aid. It is awful in the cleaning of it. I have one of those grill pans long and flat with the flat on one side and the grids on the other and it totally discolors my stove top to the point that I put it, the grill, away for no longer using. I am concerned that the hot heat used for woking/stir frying will do the same thing cause it captures the heat under the appliance you're using. In other words, it just gets too hot down there.
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:54 AM   #10
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Fire ring

Quote:
... It came with the stand you place it on over your burner ...
The fire ring mine came with was okay for use with an electric burner. We now have a gas cooktop. Luckily, Daycor, the stove's manufacturer, offered a cast iron fire ring which fit the cast iron grate over the gas burner beautifully. The same ring also works well with my 100,000 Btu turkey fryer burner when we wok on camping trips.

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