Our new World of Flavours Oriental collection offers all manner of woks, most frequently for stir frying, but they can also be used for steaming, deep frying, braising or even stewing. You don’t necessarily need a wok to make Oriental food but there are many advantages to owning one.
It’s one of the easiest ways to create a delicious meal in minutes. By cooking the meat and vegetables quickly on a high heat you retain all the vitamins and flavours, making food as nutritious as it is delicious. Heat is evenly distributed which helps to reduce cooking time and they use less oil when frying than a traditional deep-fat fryer.
With so much choice on offer it can be hard to know which wok you should invest in. However, most experienced Asian cooks swear by carbon steel as opposed to aluminium or stainless steel. Here are a few other tips to help you get on your way:
1. Season your wok – This is a phrase you may have heard before because it is so important. It basically means ‘breaking it in’. Before you start using your new wok, wash it in warm soapy water (do not use an abrasive cleaner on the inside!) then place it on the cooker over a medium to high heat for a few minutes. When you see it smoking, add a couple of teaspoons of oil, and swirl it all around the wok (including the sides) to coat evenly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Using a piece of kitchen paper wipe away the oil. This should be done at least twice before you begin cooking with it as this will ensure even heat distribution during stir frying, and helps to lock in flavours.
2. Weight - A reasonably weighty wok will allow you to cook at a higher temperature than normal, avoiding steaming or stewing your ingredients which would defeat the object of a stir fry!
3. Hob type - Flat bottomed woks are better for electric hobs as round bottomed ones can reflect the heat back on the heating element which can lead to damage.
5. Method - When cooked properly, food that has been stir fried should be crisp on the outside but still tender and juicy on the inside. The best way to achieve this is by cooking everything in small batches starting with your meat followed by the vegetables. When it comes to the veggies, it’s best to start off with thicker ingredients first such as carrots, and then toss in the ingredients that will cook quicker, such as onions and peppers, at the end.
6. Cleaning - Cleaning your wok properly after each use will help it last longer. The best way to do this is to simply rinse the wok in hot water and gently scrub away any food with a non-metallic scrubber. Rinse and dry the inside of the wok with some paper towels. To make sure it is completely dry, place it back on the hob over a medium to high heat. To finish wipe a small amount of oil around the inside to prevent rusting. You can then just store it away until you want to use it again.