How do you wok?
There always seem to be wok threads popping up around here, but my search didn't reveal anything of this type.
My idea for this was that everyone would post the following:
A) What type of wok(s) they use. What they are made of, size, handle layout, etc. Brand and where they were purchased would be awesome, too.
B) What your heat source is. Are you using a high-powered wok burner or an electric stove? Is your set-up inside or outdoors? What kind of ventilation do you have set up? (If you are using something other than a stove, brands/links/other info would be great.)
C) How often you use your wok and how long you have been at it.
D) Any other information that seems relevant and any tips you might have for folks looking.
I thought it would be good to have a resource thread for folks who are just starting out or looking to upgrade their wok set-up.
I have a 14" flat bottom, wood handled steel wok.
I use it on a Bosch induction cook top that more than adequately heats it. I put a 12" square sil pat beneath the pan to keep from scratching the glass top when I flip the stuff in it. The sil pat gets a little soft when it gets too hot. Purests may comment that the induction does not properly heat the wok correctly, but the food comes out hot, crisp and it tastes good!.
I have a 14" cast iron monstrosity (Lodge) with two loop handles that I received as a gift. Obviously, I do no tossing with it. I fry with spatulas only.
I have an old gas range, and I have no idea what kind of BTUs I'm working with. (Is there an easy way for me to measure that?) I don't have any ventilation (rental property).
Some times I use it two or three times a week, and then it can sit there for a month or two. My goal is to use it twice a week.
I messed around with stir-frying in my mom's electric wok when I lived with her, but I've been "serious" about it for a year.
A) Carbon steel, 14" w/ wood handles (Wok Shop, I think). Not the most comfortable for tossing, but we've had it for a while. Round bottom.
B) Indoors, Capital Culinarian w/ wok grate. This is super stable and holds the wok really securely (higher, and around more of the wok than many). Rangehood is a San Yang Pai - ~700-800 CFM if memory serves. One of these days, I'll put together a good outdoor setup, but this is powerful enough (~ 23k BTU open burner) to keep a constant sizzle and to avoid steaming the food.
C) Really varies depending on what we're cooking. Sometimes it's used almost every day, and other times, it sits around for weeks at a time.
D) Get a wok brush... really useful for cleaning it out quickly. Occasional kosher salt scrub will also help.
Woking on an electric stove just didn't cut it for me, especially when the wok got a bit overloaded. Everything tasted soggy with oil. I went outside, and now do it over hot charcoal and even small peices of dry kindling for even more open fire heat. Works great, but youve got to be prepared to do it fast, keep it moving and have the fire and everything ready. I use high heat resistant foundry workers gloves, because the heat is not well directed.
We have a nice Calphalon flat bottom wok, but after moving to the fire, I got a carbon steel POW round bottom wok with the steel handle, that I've nicely seasoned over the fire, and that is more at home roughing it over the fire.
'Course, I don't wok much in the winter, cuz it's too cold :(. Doing it outside is much better for cooking, but takes extra prep work. I like this quote:
"Once you make the move to... ...40,000 BTU's, it will change your life. You will look back on the earlier low-btu years as simply wasted time."
1. Most of my wok cooking is done on a 14 inch Pow wok from The Wok shop. ( http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/... ) or a 14 inch Pow wok I got from ewoks. Both are carbon steel and flat bottomed as i have.....
2. An electric stove.
3. Several times a week. Over 30 years.
4. I have a burner set up outside, but rarely use it as I am so used to cooking in my kitchen, dont want to haul all of my junk outside to cook. I really like carbon steel woks, and with a good seasoning going on them...get the best results and the best flavor you can as a home cook...given the limitations I have with an electric stove. I think the key is to both read what others do, (here, and in books like Grace Youngs's stuff),and cook cook cook. Use those woks and learn from your mistakes as well as what works best for you.