When you are considering purchasing a wok it can be difficult to find the right wok for you. There are many styles of woks. There are Mandarin, Cantonese, POW woks, and a few others.
Mandarin woks usually have only one long handle. This long handle is made of steel with a wooden or bamboo insert or can be without an insert. Mandarin woks do not have the shorter steel helper handle found on Cantonese (Southern Chinese) or Northern Chinese woks (POW woks).
Some woks have two short steel helper handles and I will call them helper handles because I don’t know what else to call them. Oher woks have one short steel helper handle and a longer handle of varying lengths. Some of those longer handles on woks are made of carbon steel and they have wood or bamboo inserted in them.
Cantonese woks are also called Southern Chinese woks and have two small steel helper handles. A purest on the subject of woks would also say that Cantonese woks are shallower than Mandarin or Northern Chinese woks. Most of the Cantonese woks that I have seen have the same pan depth as all the other woks. Almost all of the woks that I have recommended on this site all have the same depth if they are the same diameter. In other words, all 14-inch woks by different manufacturers have about the same depth. This confusing fact should not be a determining factor in your decision to purchase a wok.
Northern Chinese woks (POW woks) are deeper and have one small steel helper handle and one long handle.
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All three of these wok styles can be hand-hammered or pressed. They also can be round-bottomed or flat-bottomed.
The traditional woks have rounded bottoms and are hand-hammered. When a wok is hand-hammered the sides are not as smooth as pressed carbon steel woks. This allows the food to stick to the sides instead of falling back to the bottom of the pan. When the food sticks to the sides of the wok, it is easier to control the heat on the side of the pan.
Round-bottomed woks are usually used on gas stoves with a wok ring or used on a wok burner. The distribution of heat on a round-bottomed wok is more linear than on a flat-bottomed wok.
Flat-bottomed woks came into being mostly for the Western world because of gas stoves. Gas stoves with wok rings can work on a marginal basis, but they cannot quite compete with round-bottomed woks for a variety of reasons.
If you have a gas stove, then a flat-bottomed will work without a wok ring. If you want to use a round-bottomed wok on a gas stove then you will have to use a wok ring order to concentrate the heat into a smaller area and to stabilize the wok.
Why Use a Wok With a Round Bottom?
Round-bottomed carbon steel and cast iron woks are the preferred woks that are used by professional chefs. Round-bottomed woks are made of carbon steel, cast iron or stainless steel.
What is the Best Oil to Use With a Wok?
Using the right oil for your stir-fry is the first step to a wonderful dish. No matter what oil you choose, try to use organic oil which does not have any GMO ingredients.
Best Wok Spatulas
Wok cooking typically uses a spatula. Whether sauteeing in a pan or cooking with a wok, spatulas make great tools to have on hand. See why spatulas can protect your wok.
How to Season a Wok That Actually Works!
Knowing how to season your wok is the first step necessary in learning how to use your wok. If you follow these instructions you will be able to season you wok the correct way.
Why Use a Wok With A Flat- Bottom?
Flat-bottomed woks are more stable on a flat surface than a round-bottomed wok.Flat-bottomed woks distribute heat to the bottom of the pan more evenly than round-bottomed woks, if used on a flat cooking surface.
Best Wok for Deep Frying
Deep frying in a wok is not a complicated process. Outstanding deep fried meals can be prepared if you choose the correct wok and accessories. Check out my recommendations below to get you started. Enjoy!