Where to buy a decent wok?

Discussion in 'Geek Food' started by ChesterMcCheese, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. ChesterMcCheese

    ChesterMcCheese Member

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    I'm after a decent quality wok that's gonna last me a while. I'll be doing most of my cooking in it because it's deep enough to put a lot of food in there unlike a frypan. Does anybody know any good ones or good vendors?
     
  2. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Depends on a few things. Do you have a gas cooktop? Induction? Are you planning to do any high temperature cooking, e.g. Chinese stir-fries?

    The best woks are made from cast iron. The advantage is the heat distribution - it is very even, and the heat retention - it can get extremely hot. The downside is they are very heavy, and they can rust if you don't look after them properly. They work best on an outdoors wok burner but should be OK on a gas cooktop. Induction and electric cooktops can not be used because most of them have a rounded bottom, but some do not (e.g. Le Creuset). You can buy these woks for $40-50 in a Chinese grocer.

    The most common woks are carbon steel. These are made from pressed steel plate and are very cheap - $10-20. Heat distribution is poor - the only bit that gets hot is the bit over the burner, and the heat drops off exponentially up the sides. They are best used over a wide source of heat - again, a wok burner.

    So much for "real" Chinese woks. Now you have the woks for white people :) These are usually more expensive, have nicer finishes, non-stick surfaces, and all sorts of accessories (steamer pans, lids, etc). The only advice I will give you is - avoid the non-stick woks. Woks are meant to be abused, non-stick is too delicate for that.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    ChesterMcCheese

    ChesterMcCheese Member

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    Thanks for the advice

    I have halogen cooktop, so I can't have a flat bottomed one. It somehow gets really dam hot actually - so hot that when I'm using my normal frypan, I never turn it up to max because chopped garlic turns black in a few seconds.

    I'm surprised that you get the best woks from a Chinese grocer. On that note, how do you go about maintaining it, if you thrash it a lot?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  4. protecon

    protecon Member

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    When cleaning my steel wok, whilst still hot from cooking, I rinse with just hot water and a quick scrub with a brush (plastic or bamboo). Then back on the burner and heat until all water evaporates (you can speed this process up by lightly wiping with a paper towel before putting back on the burner).

    Wait until it cools then a tiny bit of oil wiped around the inside with a paper towel will stop moisture getting into the surface.
     
  5. OP
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    ChesterMcCheese

    ChesterMcCheese Member

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    What is the risk of rust with iron woks? Does it depend on the quality of the wok, or if you look after them properly, they shouldn't even if you thrash it cooking?
     
  6. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    What's a halogen cooktop??

    Re: looking after a cast iron wok, first you have to season the wok. Give it a good scrubbing with lots of detergent to remove all the mold release stuff, and then heat it till very hot and pour oil into it. Do this several times. The oil will penetrate the pores of the metal, and will (1) protect it from rust and (2) make it non-stick.

    A cast iron wok always needs to have oil on the surface. If you clean with detergent, wipe some oil back on.
     
  7. Gaz

    Gaz Member

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    i use spray oil on the wok's at work, they look to be cheapo ones but that stops them from rusting after they go through the dishwasher.
     
  8. Dogo

    Dogo Member

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    I've always been told to stay away from spray oil as it turns to gunk
     
  9. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    There is something in the spray oil that reacts with non-stick surfaces to destroy them. I don't know what it is, but I always spray the oil on the food, and not on the pan. Just in case :)
     
  10. Sifaga

    Sifaga Member

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    wok's not meant to go in a dishwasher
     
  11. Dogo

    Dogo Member

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    for the best flavour you wouldn't even wash it ;)
     
  12. Squatting_Tiger

    Squatting_Tiger Member

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    Have had a number of woks over the years and the one that's kept going is the current one which is the stainless steel wok with a rounded bottom. With a little bit of care that should last you 10+ years, quite possibly longer. No need to season and/or oil after every use.
    If you get one that needs seasoning (cast iron, and cheapie ones), oil on kitchen towel, rub over inside of wok, heat till oil is smoking, let it cool down and repeat with wiping oil. Do this a few times.
     

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