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Best nonstick skillet for wok-like cooking?

wwwango Jul 9, 2009 04:11 PM

Are there any recommendations for a large nonstick skillet that is a good conducter of heat for quick cooking...ala "stir fry". I am competing in a cooking contest and will be using an electric stove top. Is there a difference in choosing skillets when considering the type of heat source. (My stove at home is gas!)

  1. p
    phantomdoc Jul 10, 2009 06:02 AM

    Use a well seasoned heavy cast iron pan. Anything else will suffer from too drastic temperature drop when you add food to the pan. The wok is used with super high heat source that you cant get any other way. You need thermal mass, and lots of it. A heavy cast iron will be able to maintain high temp. You will outclass everyone else with this method.
    My electric stove does not recommend cast iron, but it is for the glass top not to get scratched and not the pan itself. I use cast iron anyway, i just do not move it around too much.

    1. s
      sueatmo Jul 9, 2009 05:26 PM

      Cary is basically correct. However I do have a non-stick wok which works quite well on high heat. It is a German pan, brand Hartmann. It is big with a glass lid. I use if for stir fry and I really heat it up. I pour a little oil around the circumfrance before it gets too hot. I don't heat it as hot as I used to my old carbon steel wok, though. I don't use spray on non-stick stuff either. I don't think heating a Teflon type pan really hot is safe.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo
        wwwango Jul 9, 2009 07:25 PM

        Are there any rules for choosing nonstick pans that are to be used on an electric stovetop as compared to a gas stovetop? Again, I need a nonstick pan for quickly stir-frying strips of beef...I don't want to end up with"steamed" beef! Thanks for you advice...

        1. re: wwwango
          Cary Jul 9, 2009 10:25 PM

          If you choose to use nonstick for gas or for electric, the best tip is to let the pan preheat on low-medium heat for literally 5-10 minutes. The thicker the aluminum of the pan (or the base), the longer you need to preheat.

          Really, for your purpose, there is no gas-better or electric-better pan.

          Steamed beef usually results from wet meat (pat it dry before hand) and too low overall surface heat.

          1. re: Cary
            wwwango Jul 10, 2009 05:51 AM

            Thanks. I also pat meat dry and "fry" in 2 or more batches. Any recommendatons for a nonstick brand that is good at conducting even heat (one that maintains that heat throughout cooking process...about 10 min)?

      2. c
        Cary Jul 9, 2009 05:07 PM

        Traditionally, common stir fry techniques can use short-lasting but high (to very high) cooking temps which is the antagonist to non-stick surfaces.

        So if you don't care about what happens to your pan, any cheap, thin (a thick aluminum wok/pan will just take a long time to heat up to the right temperatures), non-stick saute pan or evasee would be fine.

        1. tanuki soup Jul 9, 2009 04:49 PM

          How about a nicely seasoned carbon steel evasee or frying pan? I believe most woks are carbon steel.

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