HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure
TELL US

Round bottom wok on an electric stove -- once again!

c
cinnamonshops Jan 16, 2012 07:51 PM

Hi all,

I know this has been broached in these forums a number of times before, so forgive me for bringing it up again...

I'm just trying to find out once and for all whether a round-bottom carbon steel wok is really so impossible to use on an electric range. I've been reading up on it, and there are at least a couple of places online that suggest that it's entirely do-able, especially if you turn your wok ring wide-side-up. In my case, this would put the wok bottom in direct contact with the stove element, albeit just at its lowest point.

I guess the other thing is that I am no kind of master stir-fryer so I don't know that I need wicked hot heat of the kind that makes people swear that wok cooking is altogether impossible on an electric stove in the first place. Does that make sense? I make stir fries sometimes, and things like pad thai, but I'm just as liable to cook an Indian curry in my wok, steam dumplings, or make hot and sour soup.

Thoughts?
And again, apologies for a bit of redundancy.

Thanks!

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. w
    wyogal Jan 16, 2012 08:06 PM

    I've used my wok on an electric stove, many times.

    1. dcrb Jan 16, 2012 08:08 PM

      A purist will say no. I say, if it works for you, be happy and enjoy.

      1. g
        GH1618 Jan 16, 2012 08:15 PM

        I used my wok on a conventional electric range for almost 30 years. Use a ring, but turn it upside down, so the wok rests on the center of the heating element. The ring adds a little stability and helps concentrate the heat at the center of the wok.

        1. Chemicalkinetics Jan 16, 2012 08:58 PM

          Ok, In my option, it is not impossible, but a flat bottom wok on a flat surface stove is better because it can capture more heat energy than a round bottom wok.

          I have linked to this video many times, and I will do it again.

          http://youtu.be/nn2PJ9DnMSc

          You do want a well-seasoned wok on high flame. The most common mistake people make for wok is overcrowding the wok because a wok appears to be very big -- bigger than its real work surface. You don't want to overcrowd the wok and cool the wok down. If necessary divide your foods in two separate batches, and stir fry them.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            g
            GH1618 Jan 17, 2012 09:34 AM

            I love that video! The missing part of the picture, of course, is that someone is behind the cook doing prep, and someone will come along after to clean up. The cook gets the fun part.

            1. re: GH1618
              Chemicalkinetics Jan 17, 2012 12:09 PM

              GH,

              A previous poster (no longer come) said that he was so inspired by that video that he really wants to try it at home. He showed it to his wife and she said that there is now way in hell he is allowed to. :)

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics
              huiray Jan 17, 2012 10:52 AM

              This one is also entertaining, and a flat-bottomed wok is used... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0UD12... . Probably not for home cooking, however. :-)

              1. re: huiray
                Chemicalkinetics Jan 17, 2012 12:10 PM

                Yeah, I have seen that video too. It looks more like a frying pan than a flatten bottom wok.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  huiray Jan 17, 2012 12:45 PM

                  Heh. True enough. But then, I fry my rice in a frying pan too (with spatula), and also usually treat my eggs like he does in that video. :-)

                  1. re: huiray
                    Chemicalkinetics Jan 17, 2012 06:28 PM

                    I see. I do my fried rice a lot more like the person in the video I link to. I add beaten egg and then add the rice as the egg just barely solidified.

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                t
                toddster63 Dec 8, 2012 07:46 PM

                It's a DeBuyer carbon steel skillet—from the Mineral pan line, and it's VERY thick carbon steel (like 2.5mm), and gets HOT. I think he shakes it so much as with that much exposed surface area, it would scorch quickly. I've been thinking about trying a stir-fry in my BeBuyer Mineral pan—it might be ultimate HOT and big flat bottom wok for electrical ranges....!

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  t
                  toddster63 Dec 8, 2012 07:50 PM

                  Okay, I have NO idea, Chem, what this linked video has to do with this thread, or for the topic of round bottomed woks in the home? By showing the ideal round bottom situation (over a restaurant wok stove of 100K BTU's) are you making a statement that this is IT, round bottom/stir fry perfection—and forget anything less than this ideal?

                  1. re: toddster63
                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 8, 2012 08:04 PM

                    <Okay, I have NO idea, Chem, what this linked video has to do with this thread, or for the topic of round bottomed woks in the home?>

                    Based on others responses, it seems that a few others understood my post. I thought I was clear about the video. I wrote "You do want a well-seasoned wok on high flame. The most common mistake people make for wok is overcrowding the wok because a wok appears to be very big -- bigger than its real work surface"

                    The video, like you said, showed a near-perfect combination of a round bottom wok and a high output stove, but even with this setup, the chef did not overcrowd the wok. He only cook in small batches. What you have is that people with much less ideal setup and fill the wok half way up and wonder why their food turn out bad. I hope this explains.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      t
                      toddster63 Dec 9, 2012 09:33 AM

                      Okay, I get it... Must have been a little brain dead...!

                2. c
                  cinnamonshops Jan 17, 2012 05:23 PM

                  Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

                  And yeah, that video is pretty great...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cinnamonshops
                    s
                    subal Jan 17, 2012 06:23 PM

                    I bet he could do a good job flipping pancakes in that skillet!

                  Show Hidden Posts