choosing a wok

jefdFebruary 18, 2005

I'm soon to have a gas range on which I'd like to

start using a wok. I'd like to get a thin-walled

wok, so that it will cool quickly when necessary.

I don't mind seasoning the wok, but would prefer

not to worry about rust. Has anyone used a thin-

walled stainless steel wok in the 'traditional'

way (seasoned, very high heat, not relying on a

thick wall to hold heat). I have read several times

that stainless is not as good as carbon steel, but

I have never read anywhere exactly why this is

true. Feedback from someone who has tried would

be appreciated.



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Stainless steel isn't conductive which is why it is ALWAYS clad with aluminum either fully or only on the bottom.

If you use a traditional wok with a gas flame, you will be relying on the entire surface of the wok to be incredibly reactive to heat. I'm not sure I've even seen a stainless wok or even a stainless pan that wasn't clad with aluminum in some way.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 11:00AM
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I just use a plain old cheap-o spun steel has to be seasoned....and never scoured....but it works more than fine!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 8:41PM
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I have a nonstick Joyce Chen wok that I purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond. I have cooked with it quite a bit and like it a lot. I am getting married soon and think I will upgrade though. I am interested in getting a hard-anodized wok from QVC's hard-anodized line. Because it is made of that material, the heat is distributed all the way up to the rim. Watch the demo on QVC sometime and you'll see what I mean! If you're looking to just try one out though, I would really suggest the Joyce Chen wok! Comes with a lid, wooden stirrer and steam tray.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 8:59PM
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I have the same Joyce Chen wok that tmac96 described. It works great over high heat on my gas stove. Very easy to clean up also. I just make sure that I empty all the food out of the wok when I'm finished stirfrying. To clean I just place it in the sink with hot water, a little detergent and a regular dish scrub brush. Takes only a minute or two to clean up. I always put it back on a low burner to really dry up all the moisture before I hang it up in my pantry. I've had it for 12-15 years and the nonstick finish is still perfect.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 9:28AM
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I've had a common carbon steel wok for years. It cooks very fast, and cools down quickly. To clean it, we just let it soak a few minutes, scrub it out with a nylob scrubbie ball, throw it on a low burner for a second to eliminate any moisture, and sometimes wipe it down with a light coat of oil. After a while, the latter step really becomes unnecessary, as it develops a nice seasoning like a cast-iron pan. I like carbon steel because it will tolerate much higher temps than non-stick. Get any non-stick pan too hot and will release harmful fumes and the coating will deteriorate.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 12:55PM
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You can't season stainless - the food will stick. Food doesn't stick to my Joyce Chen nonstick wok but it doesn't cook very well either, with our "big" 11,000 BTU burner. I get much better results with a flat bottom carbon steel wok. I haven't tried a cast iron wok but others report good results. (I use the Joyce Chen wok for steaming.)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2005 at 9:55AM
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I bought a Scanpan Ergonomic ceramic-titanium nonstick wok (from info I read here) online on sale.

Here's what they say about it:

A truly ergonomic handle design assists in effortless handling and control.

# Scientifically researched optimum pan base thickness to heat up quickly, distribute heat evenly
# Superior heat retention
# No hot spots
# Permanent nonstick surface - perfect food release every time!
# No blistering or peeling
# No warping
# Safe to use with metal utensils
# No pre-oiling or seasoning necessary
# Now dishwasher Safe
# Full Lifetime Warranty
The patented rotilt® handle design is based on scientific ergonomic concepts. It creates greatly improved handling of pots and pans during frying, sautéing, pouring and even cleaning.

# Designed for both right-hand and left-hand use
# Perfectly molded to fit the contour of your hand
# Oven safe to 500° F (260° C)

This was quite a step up from my old aluminum wok...

Here is a link that might be useful: Scanpan Wok

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 10:51AM
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I have a twenty year old thin carbon steel wok from a grocery store in china town. After finally getting it seasoned properly with peanut oil,it is truely non stick.I sometimes use it on a propane turkey fryer burner in the backyard with amazing results.Don't use soap to clean, just a plastic pad with hot water, then dry with a paper towel. Also, untill it gets really well seasoned, I would stick to stir frying, not steaming because that seems to break down the coating.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 6:46PM
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I too have a wonderful thin carbon steel wok purchased from a NY oriental food store back in 1974!!! Thirty-one years "new".

And I love it. Not interested in a non-stick wok. This little beauty perches on its little ring over my electric burner & turns out fabulous stirfries, steamed dumplings (in their own bamboo steamer, of course), & anything else I want to wok cook.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 6:55PM
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Used an electric non-stick for years, then an anodized pan, until I finally bought a Joyce Chen carbon steel wok. After using it half a dozen times I have to say I actually preferred the other 2. It obviously isn't "seasoned" enough to keep food from sticking and it totally grosses me out that I can't clean the pan. I know, I know! It's called seasoning, but it's really burnt on food. I don't use cast iron for the same reason. Dh has a large cast iron skillet that he uses to blacken fish outdoors over a propane burner. And that's all it's used for, so I can handle that.

I think I'll put this wok in the yard sale and look for a hard-anodized version.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 8:41PM
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I'd never heard of pre-seasoned woks until today.


Here is a link that might be useful: pre-seasoned woks

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 7:42PM
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"...I would stick to stir frying, not steaming..."

Thank you. Serious woks are NOT for steaming. Hot, hot, hot! is where its at. Purveyors have everyone believing its just glorified stir-fry. It isn't.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 8:54PM
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