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Cooking in a wok
Cooking in a wok

The wok is a versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel originating in China. It is used especially in East and Southeast Asia. The word "wok" comes from the Cantonese Chinese word for the item: "wok" (鑊). Standard Mandarin refers to woks by using the word "gūo" (锅, a different Hanzi), or the phrases "gūozi" (锅子), or "chǎo cài gūo" (炒菜锅). Although the word "gūo" in Mandarin refers to any type of cooking vessel, using the word on its own typically means a Chinese wok. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (3008x2000, 938 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Wok ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (3008x2000, 938 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Wok ... // Cookware and bakeware are types of food preparation containers commonly found in the kitchen. ... East Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... Standard Cantonese is a variant, and is generally considered the prestige dialect of Cantonese Chinese. ... Standard Mandarin is the official Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Singapore. ... Technical note: Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ...


In Indonesia the wok is known as a wadjang, as kuali and kawali (small wok) in Malaysia, kawa (big wok) in the Philippines and kadai in India. Kadai is a cooking utensil used mainly in Indian cooking. ...

Contents

Characteristics

Woks can be found in a wide variety of sizes and materials, and in a few classic shapes.


Size

Woks can be found in a wide variety of sizes. Most woks range from 30 cm to 2 metres or more in diameter. Woks of 36 cm (14 inches) (suitable for a family of 3 or 4) are the most common, but home woks can be found as small as 20 cm (8") and as large as 91 cm (36"). Smaller woks are typically used for quick cooking techniques at high heat such as stir frying (Chinese: chǎo, 炒 or bao, 爆). Large woks over a meter wide are mainly used by restaurants or community kitchens for cooking rice or soup, or for boiling water. Diameter is an AAA (authentication, authorization and accounting) protocol for applications such as network access or IP mobility. ... Stir frying is a common Chinese cooking technique used because of its fast cooking speed. ... Species Oryza glaberrima Oryza sativa Rice is two species of grass (Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima) native to tropical and subtropical southern & southeastern Asia and in Africa, which together provide more than one fifth of the calories consumed by humans in their global diets[1]. (The term wild rice can... Soup is a savoury liquid food that is made by combining ingredients, such as meat, vegetables and beans in stock or hot water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth. ... Water is a chemical substance that is essential to all known forms of life. ...


Shape

Bottom

  • Classic woks have a rounded bottom, making them resemble a section of a sphere. Hand-hammered woks are sometimes flipped inside out after being shaped, giving the wok a gentle flare to the edge that makes it easier to push food up onto the sides of the wok.
  • Woks sold in western countries are sometimes found with flat bottoms - this makes them more similar to a deep frying pan. The flat bottom allows the wok to be used on an electric stove, where a rounded wok would not be able to fully contact the stove's heating element.

A sphere (< Greek σφαίρα) is a perfectly symmetrical geometrical object. ... A stainless steel frying pan. ... The article on electrical energy is located elsewhere. ... A stove is a heat-producing device. ...

Handle

The handles for woks come in two styles: loops and stick. Larger woks with stick type handles usually also have a loop on the other side to aid with handling the wok.

A stick-handled flat-bottomed peking pan. While the surface looks like Teflon, it is actually well-seasoned carbon steel.
A stick-handled flat-bottomed peking pan. While the surface looks like Teflon, it is actually well-seasoned carbon steel.
  • Stick: These handles are long, made of steel, and are usually welded or riveted to the wok basin, or are an actual direct extension of the metal of the basin. The handle is sometimes covered or ended with a wooden or plastic hand grip, but it is not uncommon to find a bare metal grip. This handle facilitates the tossing action for cooks used to using western saute pans with similar style handles. Stick handles are normally not found on cast iron woks since the wok is either too heavy for the handle (thick cast iron wok), or the metal is too thin to handle the tensile stress exerted by the handle. These kinds of woks are often referred to as "Peking pans".
  • Loops: Loop handles are the most common handle type for woks of all types and materials, and is usually made of bare metal. Cooks needing to hold the wok to toss the food in cooking do so by holding a loop handle with a thick towel (though some woks have spool-shaped wooden or plastic covers over the metal of the handle). Cooking with the tossing action in loop handled woks require an incredible amount of hand, arm and wrist strength not commonly found in amateur cooks. Loop handles typically come on pairs on the wok and are riveted, welded or extended from the wok basin.

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1038x528, 58 KB) My own photo, to be added to wiki entry for Wok and maybe others. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1038x528, 58 KB) My own photo, to be added to wiki entry for Wok and maybe others. ... Sauté [V. saw-tay] is a method of cooking food a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. ... Tensile stress (or tension) is the stress state leading to expansion; that is, the length of a material tends to increase in the tensile direction. ... A towel is a piece of absorbent fabric or paper used for drying or wiping. ...

Material

The most common materials used in making woks today are carbon steel and cast iron, although the latter was the most common type used in the past. Cooks tend to be divided on the whether carbon steel or cast iron woks are superior to the other. Carbon steel is a metal alloy, a combination of two elements, iron and carbon, where other elements are present in quantities too small to affect the properties. ... Cast iron usually refers to grey cast iron, but can mean any of a group of iron-based alloys containing more than 2% carbon (alloys with less carbon are carbon steel by definition). ...

  • Cast iron: Two types of cast iron woks can be found in the market. Chinese cast iron woks are thin (~3 mm) and weigh about the same as a carbon steel wok of similar size, while western cast iron woks tend to be thick (~9 mm), tend to be heavy, and require very long heating times. Cast iron woks are superior to carbon steel woks in heat retention and eveness of heat distribution. They also form a more stable carbonized layer of seasoning which makes it less prone to food sticking on the pan. However, both types of cast iron wok have distinctive disadvantages compared to carbon steel woks. Chinese style cast iron woks, although quicker in heating and relatively light, are fragile and are prone to shattering if dropped or mishandled. Western type cast iron woks are slow-heating and slow-cooling, which makes temperature control more difficult. Furthermore, heavy western cast iron makes the tossing action required in stir-frying and bao difficult or impossible.
  • Carbon steel: The most popular type of wok, it is relatively light weight, and has quick heat conduction and high durability. However, carbon steel woks are more difficult to season and the carbonized season is easily removed in younger woks, both making food more prone to sticking to the wok. Carbon steel woks vary widely in price, style, and quality, which is roughly based on ply and forming technique. The lowest quality woks tend to be single ply and stamped straight from a piece of steel. These woks have a higher tendency to deform and misshape. Cooking with them is also more difficult and precarious since they often have "hot spots" due to uneven heat distribution. Higher quality woks are almost always made of two sheets of steel and formed into shape by hammering, "ring-forming" or hand forging. The latter being the highest quality and the most expensive. As such, although one can easily find a functional carbon steel wok, it is often difficult to find one that is of high quality and durability.
  • Aluminium: Although an excellent conductor of heat, aluminium does not retain heat (heat capacity) as well as cast iron or carbon steel. Although anodized aluminium alloys can stand up to constant use, plain aluminium woks are too soft and damage easily.
  • Non-stick: Teflon coated steel woks are common in the western market. These woks are easily scratched and cannot be used to cook in the high heat required for stir frying to excess of 230°C (c.450F) since the Teflon coating will break down chemically at these temperatures, at 350°C (660°F) the burning coating produces vapours which if inhaled can cause flu-like symptoms (see Teflon flu). Xylan coated woks are slightly more robust, but still cannot be used for very high heat cooking.
  • Stainless Steel Clad: Less commonly found are clad woks, which sandwich a thick layer of aluminum or copper between two sheets of stainless steel. These woks perform extremely well but are often quite expensive, quite heavy and usually cook no better than carbon steel or cast iron woks. Their biggest advantage lies in the durability and ease of maintenance of a stainless steel exterior and cooking surface. Many of these vessels are dishwasher safe.

Cast iron is non-toxic, has excellent heat retention and diffusion properties, and is easy to mold into a variety of shapes. ... Cast iron is non-toxic, has excellent heat retention and diffusion properties, and is easy to mold into a variety of shapes. ... Heat flow along greatly perfectly insulated wire Heat conduction is the transmission of heat across matter. ... General Name, Symbol, Number aluminium, Al, 13 Chemical series poor metals Group, Period, Block 13, 3, p Appearance silvery Atomic mass 26. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Anodized aluminium has been treated to resist corrosion. ... An alloy is a combination, either in solution or compound, of two or more elements, at least one of which is a metal, and where the resulting material has metallic properties. ... Teflon is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a polymer of fluorinated ethylene. ... Teflon flu is a common term for the flu-like symptoms caused by exposure to fumes produced by overheated Teflon coated non-stick pans, and is not related to influenza in any other way. ... Cladding is the bonding together of dissimilar metals. ...

Wok stoves

Woks by design are meant to be used over a gas stove which has either concentrically sloped grates or burners that are recessed below a round "pit" in order to encompass the wok's shape. Sloped grates on a stove provide stability to the curved wok. A recessed "pit" stove provides not only stability for the wok, it also concentrates heat by directing all the hot gases produced onto the wok instead of allowing it to escape around the wok. This allows foods to be stir-fried at a very high heat, sometimes hot enough to deform the woks themselves. Pit stoves are typically used by professional chefs in most Chinese restaurants, since they have the heating power to give food an alluring "wok hei". Wok hei ( Chinese: é‘Šæ°£, Pronunciations : guòqì (in Mandarin) , wok6 hei3 (in Cantonese) ) is a conceptual term in Cantonese Chinese referring to the essence imparted by a hot wok (a round-bottomed cooking utensil) on the food in the preparation of Chinese cuisine, in which hei (transliteration based on Cantonese Chinese...


Wok rings

A carbon steel wok on an electric stove, seated on a wok ring.
A carbon steel wok on an electric stove, seated on a wok ring.

Traditionally-shaped woks can be used on some western-style gas stoves by removing a burner cover and replacing it with a "wok ring," which provides stablity and concentrates heat. Although not as ideal as "pit stoves", these allow woks to be used in a manner more suitable for its design and are good enough for most tasks required in home cooking. Some high-end stoves now include a specially designed wok ring as part of their standard or optional equipment. [1] A wok, in use. ... A wok, in use. ...

Electric stoves

Woks, be they round or flat bottomed, do not generally work well for stir-frying or other quick cooking methods when used on an electric cooker. These stoves do not produce the even large amounts of quick even heat required for stir-frying. However, it is possible to find round-shaped electric stove elements that will fit the curve of a wok, which allows the wok to be heated at its bottom along with part of its sides. A flat-bottomed wok may also work better on an electric stove. An Electric cooker is an electric powered cooking device. ...


Coupled with the lower heat retention of woks, most stir-frys done in traditional woks on electric stoves when too much food is in the wok have a tendency to stew and boil rather than "fry", thus not producing wok hei. However, a wok can benefit from the slow steady heating of electric or gas stoves when used for slower cooking methods such as stewing, braising, and steaming, and immersion cooking techniques such as frying and boiling. Most chinese cooks used cast-iron pans for stirfrying on electric stoves since they hold enough heat for the required sustained high temperatures.


Advantages

The main advantage of wok beyond its constructed material is its curved concave shape. The shape produces a small, hot area at the bottom which allows some of the food to be seared by intense heat while using relatively little fuel. The large sloped sides are also make it easier for chefs to employ the tossing cooking technique on solid and thick liquid food with less spillage and a greater margin of safety. Curved sides also allows a person to cook without having to "chase the food around the pan" since bite-sized or finely chopped stir-fry ingredients usually tumble back to the center of the wok when agitated.


The curve also provides a larger usable cooking surface versus western-styled pots and pans, which typically have vertical edges. This allows large pieces of food seared at the bottom of the wok to be pushed up the gently sloped sides to continue cooking at a slower rate. While this occures another ingredient for the same dish needing high heat is being cooked at the bottom. The pointed bottom also allows even small amounts of oil to pool. As such large food items can be shallow fried, while finely chopped garlic, hot peppers, green onions, and ginger can be essentially deep-fried in both cases with very small amount of cooking oil. Binomial name Allium sativum L. Garlic (Allium sativum) is a perennial plant in the family Alliaceae and genus Allium, closely related to the onion, shallot, and leek. ... ... Green Onions is a soul album by Booker T. & the M.G.s, released on Stax Records in October of 1962 (see 1962 in music). ... Binomial name Zingiber officinale Roscoe Ginger is used extensively as a spice in cuisines throughout the world. ...


Almost all Chinese families own at least one wok. It is most often used for stir frying, but can also be used many other ways, such as in steaming, deep frying, braising, stewing, or making soup. Woks are also great for making a fast easy meal for any occasion Stir frying is a common Chinese cooking technique used because of its fast cooking speed. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... An advertisement for an automated deep fryer from 1973 A deep fried twinkie. ... Braising is cooking with moist heat, typically in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid. ... In cooking, stewing means preparing meat cut into smaller pieces or cubes by simmering it in liquid, usually together with vegetables. ... Soup is a savoury liquid food that is made by combining ingredients, such as meat, vegetables and beans in stock or hot water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth. ...


Trivia

Wok Racing is a new kind of sport developed by German talk show host Stefan Raab. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Historic bobteam from Davos around 1910 Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from an article revision dated 2006-02-04, and may not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... Wok Racing is a new kind of sport developed by German talk show host Stefan Raab. ... Winterberg is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... South Park is a Peabody- and Emmy Award-winning American animated television series about four fourth grade school boys who live in the small town of South Park, Colorado. ... There are many recurring characters in the animated series South Park, aside from the four main characters, Eric Cartman, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski and Kenny McCormick. ...

See also

Chinese cuisine is widely seen as representing one of the richest and most diverse culinary cuisines and heritages in the world. ... Cantonese (Yue) cuisine originates from Guangdong Province in southern China, or more precisely, the area around Canton (Guangzhou). ... Wok Racing is a new kind of sport developed by German talk show host Stefan Raab. ... Wok hei ( Chinese: é‘Šæ°£, Pronunciations : guòqì (in Mandarin) , wok6 hei3 (in Cantonese) ) is a conceptual term in Cantonese Chinese referring to the essence imparted by a hot wok (a round-bottomed cooking utensil) on the food in the preparation of Chinese cuisine, in which hei (transliteration based on Cantonese Chinese...

References

  • Young, Grace (2004). The Breath of a Wok. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-3827-3.

External links

Wikibooks
Wikibooks Cookbook has an article on
Wok
  • Wok Seasoning and Care from thaifoodandtravel.com

  Results from FactBites:
 
Wok - Use and Care (2120 words)
The wok continues to be an important and useful utensil and instead of throwing it out, the cultures of Asia have adapted it to their new stovetops.
On other stovetops, the grate may be removed and a wok ring fitted down onto the indentation of the burner to bring the wok as close as possible to the heat source.
If you have an electric stove, you might find that the flat-bottomed woks work better, but because the wok shovel is intended for a round-bottom, you might substitute with some other implement (such as a wooden spoon) that would not scrape off the seasoning at the corner where round sides meet flat bottom.
Wok: Seasoning & Caring (1330 words)
In the stores, carbon steel woks come covered with a coating of machine oil to keep the metal from rusting, so be careful when going through the stack of woks while making your choice not to get the dirty oil all over your hands, arms and clothing.
The wok may be seasoned like any cast-iron pan, by brushing the surface with cooking oil and baking in a moderate oven for an hour.
Tilt the wok from side to side, subjecting the entire surface to intense heat to burn the oil into it.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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