chinese wok

All You Need to Know About Chinese Wok

Speaking of wok, many friends in Western countries may be unfamiliar with it. A wok is a cooking utensil, which can be used for stewing,boiling, str-frying and other cooking tasks. Chinese people have been using wok for a long time, and it is an indispensable tool in Chinese cooking.

The countries that use woks to cook are generally in Asia. The wok is believed to have first been invented in China, over 2000 years ago during the Han dynasty. The main method in the West is cooking and roasting. Generally, the food is relatively simple and crude. Therefore, only the places influenced by Chinese culture use wok, such as China and East Asia. countries, such as North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and other places.

Chinese wok types

How many types of Chinese woks are there?

According to the material of the wok, it can be divided into: aluminum wok, iron wok, stainless steel wok, ceramic wok, non-stick wok etc. They also have their own advantages and disadvantages, but which wok is the best?

1) Iron wok

Iron wok

There are two main types of iron woks, one is Cast Iron Wok (made by casting gray iron for melting and casting), and the other is wrought iron wok (made by drawing steel plate or beating by hand, such as zhangqiu iron wok).

Cast Iron Wok:

Pros: The bottom is thick and the wall is thin, the heating is evenly, and the temperature rises quickly.

Cons: Thick and easy to rust, usually need to pay attention to maintenance.

Wrought iron wok:

Pros:  Good thermal conductivity, heat transfer faster than cast iron pan, not easy to stick to the pan. The overall light and thin, more suitable for women.

Cons: The heat transfer is too fast, it is difficult to master the heat, and it is not friendly to novices.

2) Aluminum wok

Aluminum wok

Pros:  Aluminum pans have a simple process and are cheap to manufacture; they conduct heat faster than iron pans and are lighter in weight, so they are more popular.

Cons: Aluminum is not an essential trace element for the human body. A large number of studies have proved that excessive intake of aluminum may indeed affect human nerves, bones, etc.

3) Stainless steel wok

Stainless steel wok

It is made of iron mixed with some other metals. With a high-grade metallic luster appearance and a sturdy and durable interior, it doubles its value and becomes the first choice for cooking woks in the minds of many people.

Pros: Beautiful appearance, stable material properties and durability; good stainless steel pans are also non-stick, easy to clean; fuel-efficient.

Cons: Except it’s expensive, there’s nothing wrong with it. Compared with coated non-stick pans and iron pans, stainless steel pans are more expensive to manufacture.


4) Non-stick wok

Non-stick wok

The difference from ordinary woks is that the surface is coated with a layer of non-stick paint. The most non-stick pan coating on the market is mainly Teflon, which has the characteristics of high temperature resistance, low temperature resistance, self-lubrication, chemical stability, etc.

Pros: Qualified non-stick pan, really non-stick bottom when cooking, easy to clean; save fuel.

Cons: Do not use sharp objects such as steel spatula for cooking; do not use steel wool for scrubbing, but use a soft sponge for cleaning; after use, the coating will be damaged or fall off, and it needs to be replaced as appropriate.

5) Ceramic wok

Ceramic wok

Ceramic wok is actually relatively rare in China.

Pros: Rich colors, beautiful appearance; fast heating, slow heat dissipation, strong thermal insulation ability; no rust, easy to clean.

Cons: Relatively heavy, brittle, and may crack more easily when heated suddenly.

Why You Need a Wok?

Buying a wok is a wise investment since a good one will last a life time and will give you added pleasure when cooking Chinese food. Of ancient but scientific design, the wok is a bowl-shaped vessel used for stir frying, poaching, boiling. deep frying and steaming. Because of its high sides, the wok makes it easier to toss ingredients when stir frying without spilling. Less oil is needed because there is less area to be covered.

Should I get a 12 or 14 inch wok?

A 14-inch wok is the best size for most kitchens since most burners (‘m talking about the large electric burners) won’t provide sufficient heat to maintain the necessary high temperature of a larger wok. Besides, the 14-inch wok easily will accomodate a double recipe. Here’s a good rule of thumb: it’s easy to stir fry a little food in a large wok but never stir fry a lot of food in a small wok.

Where can i buy a chinese wok?

1.Buy it from the asian/chinese store.

2. Buy it from Amazon.

How to Cook with a Wok?

There is a popular misconception that a wok will not function satisfactorily on anything except a gas stove. Not true. A gas stove will give you the advantage of instant heat control but, aside from that, both gas and electric stoves give equal amount of heat. It’s just a matter of knowing how to use the electric range to your best advantage when
stir frying.

To obtain the proper heat, set the wok on the large burner with the wide end of the ring stand facing up. This will allow the wok to sit closer to the electric coil, thus receiving maximum heat. (For a gas stove, invert the ring stand.)

Now, turn the heat to high (always use the highest heat available) and let the wok heat up for several minutes until it is hot. (It won’t take as long on a gas range.) Add the oil and wait for it to heat before stir frying. Don’t turn the heat down until you finish cooking! Follow this procedure and your wok will acquire sufficient heat.

How to season a wok?

A new wok must be treated or “seasoned” before using. During manufacture, a rust resisting coating is applied to the wok. This must be scrubbed off with heavy cleanser and scouring pads. Some coatings have a gummy, sticky finish. If this is the case, apply ordinary cigarette lighter fluid before scrubbing. This removes the sticky finish.

After a good scrubbing, rinse thoroughly and fill with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll see some brown spots appearing in the wok. Don’t panic. Just throw away the water and scrub it once more.

After the last scrubbing and rinsing, place the wok over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes or until all the moisture has evaporated. Rub a teaspoon of salad oil in the wok and work with a paper towel. Continue rubbing and adding a little oil until the towel comes out clean. Now the wok is ready to be used.

How to maintain a wok?

Each time you finish stir frying, place the wok in the sink, fill it with hot water and let it soak for 15 to 30 minutes. The soaking will loosen most of the food particles. Use a bamboo brush, sponge or soft cloth along with a very mild liquid soap to clean the wok. After rinsing and drying, set the wok over medium heat until all moisture has evaporated.Rub 1/4 teaspoon salad oil into the wok to retain its glossy appearance.

This procedure must be strictly adhered to if you want to keep your wok in top condition. Although the wok will darken and mellow with age, there is no need ever to scrub or scour it. A Chinese cook never will trade an aged wok for a new one. Which reminds me of a lttle story:

A young Chinese bride who was brought up in Western cooking styles was invited to a family get together by her China-born mother-in-law. The young bride, eager to make a good impression, offered to help with the dishes. The mother-in-law was pleased with the thoughtfulness. But the pleasure turned to concern when, after a full hour, her daughter in-law still was working in the kitchen. She investigated and nearly had a stroke as the young bride proudly displayed the wok she laboriously had scrubbed clean of all black traces!

Which metal wok is the best for Chinese dishes and for domestic use?

Many kinds of woks are available today. They are made of stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and both light and heavy weight rolled steel. Of all the materials, the Stainless steel wok type is by far the best since it will retain and sustain the high heat so essential in Chinese cooking.

But I have to say, Which one to buy depends on your needs.

Where can i find multiple images of traditional Chinese woks?

Pick a Chinese search engine, like baidu, go to “”, input “锅”, and click the search button, and you will get multiple images of traditional Chinese woks.

chinese woks

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