Making woks work for you
If you love Chinese cuisine and are interested in making it at home, your first step should be to invest in a good wok. Their even cooking spaces and higher rims keeps the food you're frying in the pan as you stir, flip and mix it around.
Traditionally woks are made of iron with rounded bottoms designed for a Chinese wood stove. However, today most woks are flat-bottomed to accommodate modern stoves and can be forged from carbon steel, aluminum, copper or stainless steel. A tip: Most Asian cooks agree that carbon steel woks are the best choice.
Convenient and easy to use, a wok is the perfect kitchen gadget to make fried rice, stir-fry dishes and stews. You can also be creative and make other foods in your wok such as popcorn. Kernels pop evenly in a wok and have less chance of burning, due to the circular bowl shape of the container.
Consumer-model electric woks range from small to very large, but many restaurants have models that are even bigger. The size of a wok is dictated by the amount it will hold.
Woks are dishwasher safe and generally have non-stick bottoms that allow for easy clean up.
Most electric woks are die-cast or cast from stainless steel. Though most woks should be treated with care, and should be used with only wooden utensils or chopsticks, some woks are scratch-resistant and can handle stirring from any utensil.
Wok lids are generally made of metal or shatter-resistant glass. Some manufacturers offer models with lids that have vent to let steam escape. Generally, the handles on a wok will remain cool during cooking, allowing you to grasp them easily to serve or transfer food.
Many electric woks come with Asian food recipe books so you can try tasty new meals right at home. Other accessories that come with newer models include chopsticks and tempura, or steam racks allowing your wok to function also as a steamer.
Although it will vary depending on the accessories you are looking for, an electric wok will retail for about $55. Heavy duty and high range models will or course set you back a little more.