Asian food only goes from strength to strength in Australia as due to its healthiness, tastiness, and the fact that it complements our climate so well. If you’ve always wanted to create good Asian meals at home, one of the essential ingredients is a wok. The type of wok that you choose makes a huge difference so we’ve put together this buyer’s guide to help you get started.
Types of Woks
There are several types of works available to buy. The most common and the most recommended is a carbon steel wok, as they heat up quickly, conduct heat evenly, and are relatively inexpensive to buy. Also, once seasoned, a carbon steel wok is completely non stick. You’ll also find woks available in stainless steel, copper, and aluminium. Another option is an electric wok, which sits on the bench and operates when it is plugged in. You can buy non stick woks but be aware that you have to be careful how you use these so that you don’t damage the non stick coating.
Flat or Round Bottomed Woks?
You’ll also find that woks are available with a flat or a round bottom. If you have a standard electric stove, a flat bottomed wok is probably the best option as it will sit stably on the stove. A round bottomed wok is best if you have a dedicated wok burner or a gas stove so that it is cradled correctly. Be aware that round bottomed woks conduct heat up the sides better and more evenly.
What Handles Does it Have?
Something else that you have to check when you are buying a wok is what type of handles it has. Traditionally, woks have two small handles on either side for lifting and tossing but modern woks may now have one long handle and a small helper handle on the opposite side. It really is up to you which one you choose. Try them and see which is more comfortable. The handle should be made from a heat resistant material so that you don’t burn yourself while you are cooking.
Woks range in size from an average one at around 26-30cm across but they can come much larger, up to several feet across. An average sized wok is enough for most sized households but you need to take into account how much food you plan to cook, the size of the wok burner or element you’ll be cooking on, and the space you have for storage. If you want a lid for the wok, make sure you can find one that fits.
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