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Safe non-stick pans that can handle high heat

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Hey everyone,
I've been cooking with non-stick Teflon based pans but I've been concerned lately with the safety of this given that I often cook with high heat.

I was looking for pans that could fit the following:
Non-stick surface
Can handle high heat
PFOA PTFE free (as long as non-carcinogenic)
Not cast iron (don't want to deal with the seasoning business)

Optional: It would be nice to be able to wash in dishwasher (but not absolutely needed).

Generally I just cook pan-fried dumplings, eggs, stif fry, and occasionally stews (that require browning of the meat).

I've done some reading around this online but not entirely sure which sites to trust. Some have recommended Calaphon and others Le Cruset but I really have no clue. Price isn't an issue. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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  1. DuPont recommends that PTFE not be heated above 260C/500F. For a few points of reference:

    - Maillard reactions commence at around 155C/310F
    - Indicative smoke points of common oils are EVOO at ~210C/410F, sunflower at ~225C/440F and semi-refined sesame oil at ~230C/450F
    - I'm not aware of any reason why a stew or braise should be cooked at above 100C/212F once the meat has been browned (but there are quite a few as to why it should be cooked at a lower temperature)

    I suppose there might be some concern about the pan exceeding 260C before ingredients are added, but otherwise it seems to me that you would neither need nor want the pan to reach 260C, so you might as well use Teflon-coated pans.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mugen

      < I'm not aware of any reason why a stew or braise should be cooked at above 100C/212F once the meat has been browned >

      You are absolutely correct. On the other hand, the original poster did say stir fry. Assuming, we are talking about high temperature stir fry, the practical temperature can easily excess the limit of Teflon cookware,especially when the cookware is empty. You will never see a Teflon wok in a Chinese restaurant for example.

      1. re: mugen

        I like to use a steel wok as I often use high heat for my cooking. Many stir-frying dishes have better flavor with high heat, especially stir-fried vegetables. I have had this steel wok for over 10 years, please see the link..
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-fYeO...

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpXhaK...

      2. Hi,
        I manage to cook all of your requested dishes without ever owning a coated non-stick pan. I use all clad and some le creuset. The all clad skillet is my egg pan. I just need a small amount of oil and heat not to high ( I have high output gas burners). I rarely have a problem with the all clad. There are cheaper versions of tri clad cookware out there that would probably work just as well. For stews, I use my le creuset ovens or braisers. I purchased all of them from the outlet when they had really good sales or from Williams Sonoma when they were discontinuing a color and they were a great deal. You can call a le creuset outlet and ask about sales. They will often ship for free. If you opt for second quality, ask salesperson to pick an item carefully with a tight fitting lid. If you want all clad look at cookware and more. They frequently have sales on their second quality items ( minor cosmetic issues). They still have a full warranty from all clad. All clad stainless is also dishwasher safe. I wash mine in there all of the time. There is a lot of good cookware out there besides non stick and the brands I mentioned.

        1. I bought a zwilling non stick ceramic fry pan about 6 mo ago.
          Worst non stick pan I have ever used and it was not inexpensive. I have a few scan pans that are several years old and still pretty good but not perfect.

          1. <Non-stick surface
            Can handle high heat
            PFOA PTFE free (as long as non-carcinogenic)
            Not cast iron (don't want to deal with the seasoning business)>

            Not sure your definition of "high heat", but if your definition is any where near mine, then there is no cookware fit your request. I know it is not what you want to hear, but there really isn't a cookware out there which can handle high temperature stir fry except carbon steel and cast iron. Technically speaking, carbon steel cookware (not being cast rion) fit your requst, but carbon steel requires seasoning -- all the same. There is a very good reason that you only find carbon steel and cast iron woks (not Teflon, not enameled cast iron, not anything else) in professional Chinese restaurants.

            <Some have recommended Calaphon and others Le Cruset >

            Calphalon has many lines of cookware. If we are talking about Calphalon nonstick, then we are talking about something you don't want to use. If we are talking about Calphalon stainless steel surface cookware, then they are not that different than other stainless steel cookware. All stainless steel cookware are not nonstick. What Calphalon cookware were you refering? Le Cresuset also has many lines of cookware, but the most famous one is the enameled cast iron. Enameled cast iron is not nonstick, and it really isn't designed for high temperature stir fry anyway. The worst cookware design I have seen is the enameled cast iron wok from Le Cresuset.

            http://www.amazon.com/Le-Creuset-Enam...

            P.S.: You really shouldn't use Teflon cookware for high temperautre cooking.

            30 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Indeed...even if the coating is non-toxic when heated, the high heat will physically destroy the coating and the bond between the coating and the base metal.

              and I'm with ChemK, too, on thinking that nothing other than stir-fries should be on high heat, anyway.

              1. re: sunshine842

                Huh? What about meat?

                1. re: amulekii

                  meat is at medium-high -- just enough to sear the surface.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Thanks. Not a day in this community, and I'm already learning.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      So are you saying that non-stick (assuming you don't think it's bad for you if cooked at moderate temperatures) is the best for everything? What's the point of cast iron then? I thought the whole point was that it's good for high heat when teflon won't do.

                      1. re: amulekii

                        No, I'm not one who believes that teflon is bad for you.

                        I have a mix of saute pans -- some are uncoated stainless, some are coated stainless, some are coated anodized.

                        Non-stick is really good for things that are a PITA if they stick...scrambled eggs...things with a high sugar content..pancakes...stuff that leaves you longing for a little-bitty jackhammer to get rid of all the cooked-on stuff.

                        But plain works well for other things -- there are times I *want* there to be a buildup of stuff at the bottom -- the French call it the "fond" -- that collection of browned bits that will lift off and add fabulous flavor when a little liquid is added, whether to deglaze the pan or head into a full-on braise.

                        Cast iron is a little bit of a different beast. The best ones -- the ones that have been used for decades -- have a glossy black finish that is as nonstick as anything Teflon can come up with. Cast iron is also superior at heat distribution and durability -- while you wouldn't want to cut directly in the pan, metal won't hurt it.

                        The bottom line is that other than a stir-fry, there's really not much that needs to be blasted at high heat. Sure it will take a little longer, but it will reward you with more evenly-cooked food, with a beautiful nut-brown crust, not a blackened mantle of coal.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I guess I was just considering the fond to be a product of high heat, but perhaps that's not quite correct.

                          I really need move away from the blackened mantle of coal. Good description.

                          1. re: amulekii

                            sometimes you really, really want the fond -- especially for sauces and braises. The fond comes from the proteins and sugars in the food -- as they caramelize or undergo a Maillard reaction depending on their composition, they brown, develop deeper, more pronounced flavours, and yes, they stick. It's okay, though, because with liquid (broth, juices, alcohol) they'll dissolve and become a part of the dish.

                            I remember watching an old episode of Emeril, and he showed a saute pan with a heavy layer of brown on the bottom of the skillet. "See that?", he said. "That's the love."

                            And it is...that browned stuff on the bottom is what makes sauces and braises have that fabulous long-cooked, homemade flavor that means someone took the time and energy to produce that dish.

                      2. re: sunshine842

                        Hi, sunshine:

                        I know this is an old thread, but I thought I'd share a lesson I learned this week when making pancakes in a Swiss Diamond nonstick pan.

                        I'd made a few, getting the temperature/flame dialed in, and I thought "Heck, I'm gonna see what the actual temperature is." To my shock, my IR thermometer hit 515F.

                        The lesson for me was that, until you actually measure the temperature, it's easy to assume you're cooking well within the "safe" range for PTFE, when in fact you're not.

                        This comports with one of my earlier experiments on a coil stove, in which I wanted to see how long a pan, left unattended on HI, took to go >600F. It was only about 2 minutes. Two minutes after that, the temp exceeded my gun's range of 947F. At that point a cook would be breathing the PTFE combustion products which everyone agrees are extremely toxic.

                        Complacency about non-stick cookware staying under the advised limit is no longer one of my problems.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Awesome. I'm shocked that people are still coming out with these home-done experiments. I can understand DuPont being sloppy, but where is America's Test Kitchen?

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Okay.

                            I'm a) not really losing sleep over nonstick coating, and I b) don't cook over high heat.

                            But thanks for the info.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Hi, sunshine:

                              I don't cook my pancakes over high heat. I was making them the same way I've always done them--over a medium flame--when I discovered the surface of the pan was >500F.

                              That's the point--people assume the actual pan temperature is well below the recommended max, and don't *know* unless they measure.

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                I have electric, not gas.

                                I truly have never even thought about the actual digital temperature of my pans...if it's too hot, stuff is burning and/or sticking and/or boiling over...if it's too cold, stuff isn't doing any of that, including getting hot.

                                Simples.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  It's only simple if you don't care whether you're exceeding the safe use warnings or degrading the pan.

                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    My "youngest" pan is approaching 5-6 years old (don't remember, exactly) My oldest was my grandmother's -- have no idea how old it is.

                                    Apparently I'm not degrading the pan.

                                    Bottom line is, I admire your curiousity and determination to find out exactly how hot your pan is getting.

                                    I just don't share your enthusiasm.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      With the newer line of ceramic "non -stick" pans out there the original post peaked my curiosity but it would appear same problems exist with high heat cooking. My grandmother's 1940's black cast iron stuff is still my favorite followed by the de Buyer carbon. Unlike expensive shiny clad stainless, they were nothing to look at when new so I don't care what they look like now. Little hot water, dry and rub with a little oil from time to time.

                      1. re: Tom34

                        <With the newer line of ceramic "non -stick" pans out there the original post peaked my curiosity >

                        Yes, the newer ceramic nonstick pans (dubbed Greenpans) out there were very interesting to me, but as you know, they never realy take off compared to Teflon nonstick cookware.

                        I think, in large part, is that they usually don't last very long. In 2010, Earthpan was the top ranking Greenpan by Consumer Reports, but even its company agreed that Earthpan does not last as long as a typical Teflon pan.

                        "Stephanie Beck, Senior Sales Director of Meyer Corporation, the largest manufacturer of cookware in the US, says their EarthPan is a direct response to consumer concerns. Meyer’s proprietary sand-based, non-stick PFOA- and PTFE-free coating is called SandFlow. It earned the EarthPan a top ranking from “Consumer Reports” in food-release, hardness (the resistance to wear and tear) and durability.....
                        The EarthPan is a fantastic product, ranked number one, she says, but like many green pieces of cookware it doesn’t hold up to the durability of Meyer’s popular Circulon line of non-stick pans. “The best green product is not going to be up to the performance of our higher-end non-stick cookware.” Consumers must have realistic expectations, advises Beck.

                        http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2010/0...

                        <My grandmother's 1940's black cast iron stuff is still my favorite followed by the de Buyer carbon. >

                        Agree wholeheartedly.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I joined just so I could recommend your post.

                        Why isn't enameled cookware nonstick? Why isn't it good at high temperature? I figured the whole point of cast iron is that it's good for high temperature, so why shouldn't I use enameled cast iron for high temp cooking?

                        1. re: amulekii

                          HI Amulekii,

                          Enameled cookware is kind of nonstick, but not very. Two things about enameled surface. First, enameled surface is less nonstick than Teflon nonstick and less nonstick than seasoned cast iron surface. However, it is more nonstick than stainless steel surface. Second, enameled surface gradually becomes less nonstick over usage. A brand new enameled cookware is more nonstick than a 1 year old enameled cookware.

                          <Why isn't it good at high temperature?>

                          Actually, I should take on step back. Enameled cookware can handle high temperature. What it cannot handle is sudden change of temperature from very high to very low, or from very low to very high. The enameled surface can crack.

                          A good example is that an enameled cast iron Dutch Oven can be used for deep fry.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Should I worry about taking things from low heat to high heat? Are you speaking just theoretically, or is that a real thing to watch out for?

                            1. re: amulekii

                              you can take from low to high (or vice versa) but you have to do it gradually. Anything sudden (say, pouring ice-cold broth into a hot pan in which you've been sweating onions) is going to cause thermal shock = cracks.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                For enameled ware, are there any situations where I might have to worry about taking it from low heat to high heat too quickly?

                                1. re: amulekii

                                  Putting cold ingredients into a cold pan and sticking on a hot burner.

                                  Thermal shock = cracking.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    Thanks.

                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              <A brand new enameled cookware is more nonstick than a 1 year old enameled cookware.>

                              I can't speak from personal experience, but when CI tested cast iron skillets, they noted that the LC enameled pan got more nonstick as testing went on. Of course, that's not a year of testing.

                              I've also seen Staub and LC owners who claim their skillets get more nonstick over time. Maybe it's the black coatings that are being used? I can't say, but wanted to add what I've read to the discussion.

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                Hi, Duffy: "Maybe it's the black coatings that are being used?"

                                Yes. IMO these black coatings on LC and Staub do take on some "seasoning", and so can improve with use.

                                That is *not* to say that the white/light coatings won't take any seasoning at all. But IME it's far less. Then there's the fact that few consumers can be expected to tolerate polymerized gunk/seasoning making their glossy pretty pans "dirty"--they can't help stripping it right back down to the enamel after every use. Black enamel not so much because the gunk blends right in.

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  Got it. In my experience, my enameled became less nonstick overtime. This could be because I actually cleaned it, which most likely made it less nonstick.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Hi CK,

                                    I've been on the fence about ECI skillets for a long time. I'd like a semi-stick pan, but I worry that it won't clean as easily as stainless. And I am all about easy to clean.

                                    Starchy food sometimes sticks like glue and can be a PITA during cooking, but deglazing or soaking floats it right off.

                                    Is ECI as easy to clean?

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      It really depends on the expectation of "clean". ECI is actually not difficult to clean. However, most ECI has a white interior, and it does easily get stained, and it is very difficult to remove the stain.

                                      http://www.goodfoodstories.com/wp-con...

                                      People use bleach and everything, which of course makes it worse in the long run, including losing its original grossy shine.

                                      I find it slightly easier to remove food residue from an enameled cast iron cookware than from a stainless steel cookware. A short soak in warm water should remove most food resides (not including food stain though). On the other hand, we can be much rougher on a stainless steel cookware. We can use metal scrapper. We can use abrasive powder. It is much easier to restore a stainless steel cookware to its original shine than to restore an enameled cast iron cookware to its original white.

                                      I hope this makes sense.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        CK,

                                        Yes, it does make sense.

                          2. I'd recommend that you check out Silit Silargan cookware. Relatively non-stick (similar to Le Creuset), no PTFE (ceramic coating), can handle high heat, no seasoning required, dishwasher safe, heavy and solid, made in Germany. I have a few pieces and really like them. Here's a link:

                            http://www.silitcookwareusa.com/silit...

                            1. Love my scan pan! I got mine thru Amazon but they are becoming easier to find in brick and morter stores. Nothing sticks yet I still get a nice crust on meat, dumplings etc.

                              Description from Amazon:
                              *10-1/4-inch fry pan (depth-1 1/2-inch) made in Denmark of pressure-cast aluminum
                              *Green Tek ceramic-titanium nonstick finish is safe for metal utensils
                              *High-density phenolic resin handle securely attached without rivets
                              *Dishwasher-safe, though washing by hand recommended
                              *Oven-safe to 500 degrees F; covered by full lifetime warranty

                              http://www.amazon.com/Scanpan-Classic...

                              http://www.scanpancookware.com/profes...

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: foodieX2

                                I agree that Scanpans are high quality nonstick cookware. However, they are made of PTFE. If the original poster does not worry about PTFE, then it is not a bad purchase. Even then, the PTFE (Teflon) limits the cooking temperature below 500 oF, so it may be problematic for high heat stir fry.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  How the PTFE is applied seems to make all the difference in the stability and longevity of non-stick pans. The ptfe-based scan pan "coating" is supposedly fused into the ceramic titanium surface - therefore, no chipping or flaking. You can sear in it, use metal utensils, and put it in the oven up to 500*. It's awesome for high-heat stir-fries. I can only speak from experience... My scan pans are still going strong after 3 years of daily use. A little baking soda and water brings the cooking surface back to new.

                                  1. re: Mkim309

                                    I agree. Nonstick Telfon cookware has advanced so much more these days. Scanpan is definitely head and shoulder above its competitor in term of producing very stable nonstick surface. Swiss Diamond cookware is also not bad (it uses diamond particles to increase the PTFE longevity). Of course, the iconic Circulon brand was famous for using its unique Circulon pattern to increase the overall nonstick property.

                                    Nevertheless, all Teflon/PTFE cookware is still limited to that ~500oF temperature limit because PTFE itself has that limitation. It is just in the past, nonstick cookware chipped/flaked much easier.

                              2. I cook almost exclusively with either cast iron skillets or a carbon steel wok, but a few weeks ago I was considering buying a de Buyer pan and was Googling for information. I came across this article from The New York Times which, although old, may be of help to you in making a decision:

                                http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/07/din...

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Good article, but the DeBuyer results are questionable - at least to me. I have several of the DB pans for a few years now, and have never ever had eggs stick from the get go. I'm wondering if the user didn't wait to season the pan, which would put it at a disadvantage. It takes so little time to achieve the slick surface, I find the results a bit skewed.

                                  But, that's just my opinion/experience. AND, I'm a huge DB fan, obviously. :-)

                                  1. re: breadchick

                                    Hard to know since she doesn't say, but the photo of the DB looked quite well seasoned. Not an issue for the OP anyway since she says she doesn't want to bother with seasoning and would prefer to be able to put the pan in the dishwasher. It certainly limits the options. Most of the better ones, at that.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Good point. (From another Joan...)

                                    2. re: breadchick

                                      AGREE: I have DeBuyer (s) & 1940's cast iron. I personally think the old cast holds a seasoning better but like the weight and handle of the De Buyers better. If I have to deglaze with an acid I use the old cast otherwise I use the DeBuyer. Either way, I can't see spending lots of $$$ chasing a phantom pan that "promises" to do what my current old tech cast & carbon pans currently do to perfection. I use them often enough where rust is a non issue.

                                      1. re: Tom34

                                        Same here. I did the initial seasoning and couldn't wait to cook an omelette. Slid around the pan like an ice rink. Haven't looked back.

                                        1. re: breadchick

                                          Yeah, I think some of the problem folks have is the initial seasoning. CHEMICALKINETICS & others have explained the process at length many times. Sometimes things just don't work out the first time and people get frustrated and give up. A little (stick-too-it-ness) goes a long way. That's the beauty of cooking, there is always another day and another way.

                                      2. re: breadchick

                                        < I'm wondering if the user didn't wait to season the pan, >

                                        I also find, in my experience, that it has to do with the temperature as well. At a certain temperature range, the egg does not (or barely) stick to the pan. At a higher temperature, the egg sticks more strongly to the pan. And these observations were done from the same DeBuyer pan. So the NY Times article may be due to this. Not sure.

                                        I do give credit for the Teflon nonstick pans. Teflon pans are pretty much nonstick at any cooking temperature and independent of the amount of cooking oil. Whereas cast iron and carbon steel pans still require a certain amount of cooking oil -- my experience anyway.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Hey CK!!
                                          Jeez, I never thought about the temp being an issue. If the pan has the time to heat up prior to cooking, high heat isn't necessary. Another reason why I love the pans. I can get a flame going and turn away for a few minutes to do final prep and no issue.

                                          Here's blast from the past: I just found some old "Frugal Gourmet" episodes on YouTube. He's making an omelette and keeps emphasizing the beauty of Silverstone non-stick for the best pan for the job. I don't remember what that finish is like, but must be similar to Teflon?

                                          1. re: breadchick

                                            <He's making an omelette and keeps emphasizing the beauty of Silverstone non-stick for the best pan for the job>

                                            Well, he was doing an advertisement probably. :) But it does not mean it is not a honest advertisement. I won't be surprise that a Teflon technology pan is a very good and easy for omelette. According to what I find online, Silverstone is pretty much Teflon, except it refers to the strategy for applying the coating. It is a three-coating strategy.

                                            "Silverstone® is a specialty line of superior nonstick finishes produced by DuPont. Silverstone® coatings are three-coat (primer/midcoat/topcoat) systems formulated with PTFE and PFA. Characteristics of Silverstone® coatings are similar to other PTFE coatings, however durability is greatly increased. A reinforced version with higher scratch and abrasion resistance is also available. Maximum continuous use temperature is 290° C/550° F."

                                            http://www.plastechcoatings.com/teflo...

                                            Legally speaking, Teflon and Silverstone are not the same thing, but they are that different (to me) from a practical view.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Thanks for the info on Silverstone. Frug wasn't doing a commercial, he is one of the forefront runners of PBS cooking shows from the 80's - much like Julia of the 60's. Well-published at the time, I bought three of his cookbooks. He suffered major professional setback due to allegations of improper behavior, and that was that.

                                    3. I highly recomend Swiss diamond nonstick pans, if you're willing to budge on the high heat requirement.

                                      1. I heard about Scanpan CTX which can hold up to 500F.
                                        This brand is PTFE-and PFOA-free. So I find out for what's more.
                                        These are some high quality non-teflon pans:

                                        - Zwilling JA Henkel
                                        - Scanpan. They have many lines, such as classic, professional and CTX. (And I just got an EXTREMELY great chef's pan from Scanpan CTX.)
                                        - Woll
                                        - Swiss Diamond ...is one of my list. But my friends said he ruins it in several months.

                                        These are most sturdy nonstick pans I've touched. BUT Gosh they are dam expensive and have to baby like a teflon nonstick (or else you'll lose nonstick coats in the short time.)

                                        If the price doesn't scare you, try them.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: MarryKay

                                          I have used high quality non stick for Low & med temps and they last a very long time. On a few occasions over the years I have overheated them with a starchy product like home fries and the pan lost all its non stick qualities. 500F seems pretty hot. Do these pans have a decent track record for longevity at these temps?

                                        2. Stews and stir-fry don't require a nonstick pan. Your principal requirement for nonstick seems to be for eggs (fried or scrambled). Since eggs are best cooked at low heat, PTFE (Teflon) works very well for this purpose with no worries. I use my T-Fal pan for eggs and nothing else, and rarely use nonstick for any other purpose.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            All true. The stir-fry is best at high temp, though, right?

                                            1. re: amulekii

                                              Purists will say that stir fry can only be cooked on high heat. Practicality says otherwise. A perfectly good, very tasty stir fry can be cooked on medium heat.

                                              A roomy nonstick skillet heated to a bit over medium and not crowded will work just fine. Sure, there's no "breath of the wok" but some of the purists who say you've got to use a wok will say that a typical cooktop won't generate enough heat to properly cook a stir fry anyway. What they're saying is that unless we're willing to get a jet engine rig like theirs we shouldn't bother. I disagree.

                                              I've cooked stir fry in my carbon steel stir fry pan and also in a nonstick skillet. The nonstick pan takes a little longer, but the food is still good. I like using both methods. But then, maybe I'm just a crappy stir fry cook.

                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                Thanks.

                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                  <Purists will say that stir fry >

                                                  Purists will say: It depends what kind of stir fry. Some stir fry require high heat, and some don't. For example, stir fry lettuce does not need high temperature. Stir fry rice should be.

                                                  I will use wikipedia as a reference. (Yes, I know).

                                                  "Stir frying is a pair of Chinese cooking techniques for preparing food in a wok: chǎo (炒) and bào (爆)"

                                                  Actually, there about 8 techniques which can be grouped under stir fry. Chao does not need high heat. Bao does.

                                                  I think it is really like the phrase "pan fry". There isn't one single technique in "pan frying". There is low temperature pan fry, and there is high temperature pan fry.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Hi CK,

                                                    You lose me when you say that stir fry rice "should be" cooked at high heat. I don't get that. Because then the only possible pans are carbon steel or cast iron. Other pans are not designed for high heat cooking.

                                                    What if a cook doesn't possess one of those but still wants to make fried rice from time to time? I'm pretty sure that you would never, ever tell them not to bother, it's a waste of time.

                                                    I suppose I think of it like steak. It is entirely possible to put a very nice sear on a steak in a stainless pan over medium heat. It's delicious, right? Cooking it in a smoking hot cast iron pan over high heat gives it a great crust. Also delicious. So is the same steak wonderful if cooked on a grill.

                                                    Cooking temps and times for all 3 steaks will be different, but all 3 steaks are still very similar. That's how I see fried rice.

                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      <What if a cook doesn't possess one of those but still wants to make fried rice from time to time? I'm pretty sure that you would never, ever tell them not to bother, it's a waste of time. >

                                                      Excellent point. I am again going to take one small step back. Of course, a person should use whatever is in his/her disposal.

                                                      In fact, there are fried rice dishes which should be done at a lower temperature. Japanese fried rice dishes are usually done in lower heat. Meanwhile Chinese fried rice dishes are done at higher heat. There is a real application difference here which I won't able to explain in a word or two. However, Japanese fried rice done at high heat would actually be worse off, not better.

                                                      <I'm pretty sure that you would never, ever tell them not to bother, it's a waste of time. >

                                                      Yeah, but we are talking about what a stir fry purist will say, right?

                                                      A purist will tell you that Chinese fried rice should be done at high temperature. Conversely, a purist will also say that meat stock should be done at a temperature below water boiling temperature (below 100oC)

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        CK,

                                                        <Yeah, but we are talking about what a stir fry purist will say, right?>

                                                        Of course you're right. How could I have missed that in your post? I'm an idiot, no doubt about it. :-(

                                                        My reply to what you wrote should have been:

                                                        "And this is why I don't pay attention to purists. They dismiss a lot of perfectly delicious food in their rigid insistence on authenticity. Imagine the pizza purist who won't even taste a Chicago deep-dish, or oh, shudder, a BBQ chicken pizza? The earth will fly into the sun!"

                                                        That's what I should have written. :-)

                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                          < shudder, a BBQ chicken pizza>

                                                          I don't know what you are talking about. BBQ is all about pork. There is no such thing as BBQ chicken. ;)

                                                          What I was trying to say is that even a purist in wok cooking won't say that "all" wok cooking should be done in high heat.

                                                          Edited:

                                                          Have you eaten Egg Foo Young? Well, that is a dish which should be done in low-medium. Notice that he turned off the flame.

                                                          http://youtu.be/yGKBWQuONp0?t=2m2s

                                                          I think people really mean that one should have a high power stove for wok (not one should use high power all the time). This way you have applied a wider range of cooking, and not missing out some applications.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            <I don't know what you are talking about. BBQ is all about pork. There is no such thing as BBQ chicken. ;)>

                                                            There's my chuckle for the day, thanks. :-D

                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                              I heard that from a owner of a BBQ joint in Georgia (Bono's). ;)

                                                              He was telling me that some old timers only considers pork to be the only proper meat from BBQ. He said that sometime elder consumers would come in, sit down, and say, "I want a plate of barbecue". He would then ask "What kind of meat?", and the consumers would look at him strangely and reply "What do you mean what kind of meat? Of course, it is pork. Is there another kind?"

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                On the west coast, the order "I want a plate of barbecue", would be followed by the question "Barbecued what?"

                                                                Barbecue is a verb or an adjective, mostly. Examples, "We're going to have some friends over for a barbecue this weekend" or "I like barbecued pork."

                                                                To make that first phrase make sense here in the south, one would need to remove the article "a". It would then read "We're going to have some friends over for barbecue this weekend." Big difference!

                                                                Grill is a noun, it is not a verb. "Did you clean the grill" is commonly heard, but "let's grill out this weekend" is a foreign phrase.

                                                                Sometimes in the west, grill (the thing) is also called a barbecue. This does not happen in the south. Ever.

                                                                Go back 40 years, and "grill" wasn't even a word in SoCal, in any context. It was a BBQ. Period.

                                                                I had to learn to speak all over again when we moved to Florida.

                                                                :-D

                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                  Of course grill is a verb. And not just in the cross-examination sense. You mean people in SoCal wouldn't say "We're going to grill the steaks"?

                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    Hi JoanN,

                                                                    <You mean people in SoCal wouldn't say "We're going to grill the steaks"?>

                                                                    Well, they might. Now. 30-40 years ago? No way. "Grill" relating to food is a recent thing in the west. Back in the day, people "barbecued" burgers and steaks. I am serious when I say that until I moved here 4 years ago, I hardly ever heard anyone talk about "grilling" food.

                                                                    I chalk it up to the soda/pop debate. In some places, they're used pretty interchangeably, but in others one is strongly preferred. So it is with grill/barbecue.

                                                                    Check out this old Weber ad, from '74. It's only called a "cooker". Not a grill. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amR6Ee...

                                            2. Get the nonstick ceramic COATED ones. Dishwasher and high heat safe, tough as nails. I'll never use another type of nonstick.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: zeldaz51

                                                How long have you been using them. Online reviews, for what they are worth, indicate a relatively short life span.

                                                1. re: zeldaz51

                                                  I agree with Tom34 about the reviews. An awful lot claim they don't last, with many saying they're worse than PTFE.

                                                  The reviewers who have had them a long time and maintained their finish tend to all follow the nonstick trinity - no high heat, no DW, no sprays. And of course, no metal. I'm not saying the others abused the pans, just that there's a common thread among reviewers who like them long term.

                                                  My Zwilling ceramic pan is about 4 months old and still like new, big whoop. I expect it to last me for years, because that's the performance I get from Teflon.

                                                  If you go through a PTFE pan in a year, ceramic will likely last no longer, perhaps less.