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Oct 9, 2013 04:20 AM

Wok/stir fry pan - nonreactive

I would love some advice. I live in the Delhi area now, and am learning to cook some North Indian dishes. My in-laws are Rajasthani and use aluminum kadai pots as their go-to equipment. I think this is a more modern idea, not a traditional one.

I've been using a heavy aluminum kadai myself, but I have some concerns. One is that the surface is just plain aluminum and I am wary of getting aluminum in my food, especially because tomatoes are in virtually every dish. I'm also wary of said tomatoes harming the surface of the aluminum. This has already happened with my aluminum pressure cooker.

What is something I could use in place of the kadai that is non reactive with acidic foods, doesn't stick, distributed heat well, and doesn't cause me to ingest lots of metal?

My limited research into carbon steel woks and cast iron woks is that they are reactive.

Is there some kind of stainless steel wok/kadai shaped cooking utensil that would work? Available in India or the US? (I'm making a trip to the US soon.)

Many thanks in advance!

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  1. <arbon steel woks and cast iron woks>

    Carbon steel and cast iron are great if you use them as Chinese woks. I have a feeling that they are not so great for Kadai.

    I think your better choices are either a stainless steel woks/kadai or a nonstick Teflon woks/kadai. Anodized aluminum is nice too. Anodized aluminum is fairly nonreactive.

    Nonstick Teflon is nice because you are looking for nonreactive and doesn't stick. Stainless steel is nonreactive, but foods do stick.

    Yes, there are plenty of stainless steel and nonstick Teflon woks. I would think you have no problem finding them in India though. I mean some of these are made in India anyway.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Shouldn't a wok be usable on high heat? Rules out Teflon.

      1. re: Scrofula

        A wok, or wok shaped pan, does not have to be used on high heat. The shape can be useful for lower temperature cooking.

        1. re: Scrofula

          Well, if you want to use the wok for high heat, then you are correct. This is the main reason why I moved away from Teflon.

          However, Monksmonks, original poster, is looking for a wok like Kadai. Kadai (or Karahi) is an Indian cookware which looks awfully like a Chinese wok. However, Kadai is often used for simmering, stewing and deep frying, so it is fine to use Teflon. PaulJ is correct.

      2. A web search on 'stainless steel kadai' gives many links, mostly Indian.

        There are stainless steel woks. They probably aren't very good for Chinese style wok use, but for Indian dishes which involve alot of simmering, they should do just fine.

        A wok, though, has more gently sloped sides than a kadai, and hence a narrower base.

        1. I like the Futura anodized kardhais. They are heavy, and very durable. I use mine almost every day and it's held up very well since I got it about 18 months ago. In fact, DH is in India right now and I asked him to bring me another, larger, one.

          1 Reply
          1. re: boogiebaby

            I second this. They can be found on eBay. Mine is always on the range - even when not in use, it is too beautiful to put away!

          2. Hi Monksmonks,
            I have calphalon tri ply stainless steel 3 qt chefs pan which looks like a wok works well for gravy dishes. You can buy this at less than half of the price at tjmaxx and marshalls. Also I have Cuisinart tri ply stainless steel gratin pan
            It is good for suateing veggies or any kind of dishes which has less gravy as this pan's sides are low to avoid splattering. if you prefer kadai shape this one may be perfect.
            I dont have this one, but it has good reviews.