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Old 07-11-2012, 05:50 AM   #1
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Question Choosing a wok

I want to get one,but one that's worth it.Should I get a cast iron,SS,or carbon steel?I will have to buy one online,I am only finding non sticks locally .I never seasoned before.Is a preseasoned a better choice for me?I have a electric dual coil range.I'd like to find a wok at least 14" that is fairly medium-tall.Do I have to season after every use?

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Old 07-11-2012, 07:15 AM   #2
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We like carbon steel; See-
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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My favorite is a 14" cast iron (not a heavy USA one) the wok shop: selling woks for 40 years

But since you will be suing it on an electric stove I would get a flat bottom carbon steel.

Seasoning a new wok is easy.


Then after each use I clean it out with hot water but back on the heat dry it and apply a thin coat of oil.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:16 AM   #4
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I really like the one my mom has--it is SS with a copper bottom. It is probably the 17" size. I have a non-stick one--I'm thinking I'll have to order a new wok from the Wok Shop...
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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Go to the wok shop site. I recommend a carbon steel. I prefer its lightness as I move the wok around as I'm stir-frying. Seasoning is easy. Normally you season it once B4 first use. Stir-frying with oil will add to the seasoning as you cook. No need to use scouring pads or soap. It should rinse out with a light scrubbing with a blue (teflon safe) scrub sponge.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:59 AM   #6
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Carbon steel is traditional. It's what I use, got one made by Atlas Metal Spinning years ago and still use today. Heats fast and evenly, cooks perfectly, allowing of course for operator error, and cleans up easily. My only complaint about woks is wok lids. It seems to me that the lid should double as a bowl for ingredients...chop veggies into it then dump into the wok. But the lids are all made with a handle that sticks up. I have thought about taking an appropriately sized stainless steel bowl and hammering a recess into the center of its flat bottom and having a piece of steel welded or brazed across the recess so the lid would sit flat on my counter when upside down. But, yeah, carbon steel. Woks were developed as a cheap way to cook...heating fast and cooking in oil uses less fuel, and clean-up is minimal. Water in the wok, let boil, scrub with that weird looking bamboo thingy that came with it, dump and dry over your heat source until dry and wipe with an oiled cloth. They're made to be easy and efficient.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadzooks View Post
Carbon steel is traditional.
Cast Iron is also traditional. The one draw back to them is when hot they are easy to break if dropped.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:25 AM   #8
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I got the impression that wok made from different materials produce different results (from what I read on the Wok Shop's web site). I'm thinking I need two new ones--one SS and one CI.
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:39 AM   #9
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Carbon steel is the way to go. Teflon coating defeats the purpose of a wok.
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:38 PM   #10
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Carbon Steel is my choice, Got a good one from a restaurant supply house.
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Old 07-11-2012, 03:49 PM   #11
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Mine is a carbon steel from The Wok Shop
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:40 PM   #12
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Bright idea for a lid to cure my complaint. I have a shallow 12" stainless steel mixing bowl with a flat bottom. I am going to drill a hole in the side, just high enough from the bottom to let the bowl sit flat when I install a drawer pull on it. I can prep into it, dump into the wok, cover, and have a handle.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadzooks View Post
Bright idea for a lid to cure my complaint. I have a shallow 12" stainless steel mixing bowl with a flat bottom. I am going to drill a hole in the side, just high enough from the bottom to let the bowl sit flat when I install a drawer pull on it. I can prep into it, dump into the wok, cover, and have a handle.

I'm not sure why it's important to have a lid double as a bowl, or have a bowl double as a lid.

The only time I use the lid for my wok is when I use the wok to steam foods. I never use the lid for stir-frys so it is somewhere in the basement. When I do my prep, the cut up veggies go on a plate and some small mise en plas bowls. The meat is usually in a bowl marinating before cooking.
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
The only time I use the lid for my wok is when I use the wok to steam foods.
It's handy to have a lid even if just for keeping the remainder of the meal hot after you've served everybody initial servings.

Also, I use my wok for all kinds of cooking besides just stir fry. At present time (living in temporary quarters, very small kitchen) my wok is my main large pan and I cook almost everything in it. About all else I have is a small skillet, small sauce pan and a baking dish.

Quote:
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Carbon steel is the way to go. Teflon coating defeats the purpose of a wok.
I'm not enough of an expert to expound on the subject. Please define the purpose of a wok as related to non-stick coatings. I'm using a non-stick wok and I'm still able to push foods up the sides to slow their cooking and push foods into the middle to cook them faster. Is that what you're referring to?
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Who Cooks View Post
...I'm not enough of an expert to expound on the subject. Please define the purpose of a wok as related to non-stick coatings. I'm using a non-stick wok and I'm still able to push foods up the sides to slow their cooking and push foods into the middle to cook them faster. Is that what you're referring to?

Stir-frying calls for very high heat to quickly cook relatively small pieces of food very quickly. That being the case, teflon coatings are not happy at very high heat, so they are not appropriate for a wok.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Stir-frying calls for very high heat to quickly cook relatively small pieces of food very quickly. That being the case, teflon coatings are not happy at very high heat, so they are not appropriate for a wok.
The "very high heat" Teflon problem is usually encountered when heating empty pans.

I'll agree that wok cooking often uses high heat but I quarrel with the "very" part of it. In my experience (I cook Asian often and use a wok often) wok cooking heats are no higher than encountered in mainstream recipes using conventional cookware.

Certainly not so high as to reach the trigger threshold for hazards from overheating non-stick coatings such as Teflon. At least not with food in the pan and moisture to mediate direct heating. (Steam carries off excess heat. Thermal mass resists acceleration of temperature as in an empty pan.)
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:17 PM   #17
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Another vote for carbon steel. Great article on choosing a wok here:
Equipment: How to Buy a Wok | Serious Eats
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:10 AM   #18
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No Teflon Here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Who Cooks View Post
The "very high heat" Teflon problem is usually encountered when heating empty pans.

I'll agree that wok cooking often uses high heat but I quarrel with the "very" part of it. In my experience (I cook Asian often and use a wok often) wok cooking heats are no higher than encountered in mainstream recipes using conventional cookware.

Certainly not so high as to reach the trigger threshold for hazards from overheating non-stick coatings such as Teflon. At least not with food in the pan and moisture to mediate direct heating. (Steam carries off excess heat. Thermal mass resists acceleration of temperature as in an empty pan.)
Just one example of the many videos on wok cooking-
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:51 AM   #19
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Nice video. Thanks.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:35 AM   #20
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We like carbon steel; See-
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Thanks for the link!Think ill get the 14" Helen Chen Carbon Steel Flat-Bottom Wok 4-Pc Set.$36($44.94 shipped) with lid is best deal I seen.Is helen chen a good brand?What brands do you all have?I'm with gadzooks on lids.Seems hard to find one that fits right
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