When hunger strikes, especially late at night, there’s no better solution than some delicious Chinese food. No matter where you live, you can pretty much guarantee that there is great Chinese take-out to be found in your area. After a while though, the costs of dining out can really start to add up. If this happens to you, it may be time to buy your own wok.
It’s true that with a wok at home, you can make tasty and healthy stir fries whenever you want them. But the wok is also versatile! You can make almost anything that you want to be hot and delicious but remain fresh and not overly oily, such as eggs, noodles, and mixed vegetables in your new cooking vessel. If you think that a wok might be the right purchase for you, here are some things to consider when looking to buy.
The first aspect that you want to consider when buying a wok is your own personal budget. Woks, like most household items, vary widely in both quality and cost. You may have to do some research to find the one that is right for you. Our advice? Don’t completely eschew construction and design for the lowest cost. Because the heat used to cook in a wok is so high, cheaper materials can degrade quickly, causing the wok to quickly become unusable. Look for something durable, even if it happens to be on the higher end of your price range.
The next thing you’ll want to consider when you shop is the size of your kitchen. Small kitchens require small kitchen design, so try to be thoughtful with your selection. Woks can vary in size, but some tend to be fairly large. This is because the more area available in the wok, the easier it is to cook food quickly without burning it. In a small kitchen without much counter space or storage it might be difficult to store a full size wok. Account for this by looking for a smaller vessel for your smaller home, or by finding an alternative way to store it, such as hanging it from a wall hook.
Another dimension of your kitchen that you need to consider is the ventilation. Using a wok is basically the opposite of slow cooking a piece of food. Instead of low and slow, which is intended to break down tougher foods over time, woks cook high and fast to maintain the crunch and freshness and give it a lot of flavor. However, this means that a wok emits a lot of heat, steam, and occasionally smoke. If your kitchen has poor ventilation, you could run the risk of making your kitchen extremely uncomfortable, or even of setting off the fire alarm. In these situations, a wok with lid might be a better fit than a traditional wok, as it can help to contain some of the steam and heat.
Once you’ve considered the above aspects and selected the one that is right for you, all that’s left is the fun part: planning your recipes and making delicious food. Woks tend to be used most in East Asian cuisine, so stick to recipes with lots of vegetables, meat cut into smaller strips, and delicious fried rice dishes. When cooking with the wok, remember to keep the heat high and move the food constantly in order to allow everything to cook evenly without burning. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit! Trying out new recipes is a fun way to incorporate different foods into your diet, so if you’ve had your eye on a new recipe, give it a shot!
Now that you’ve got your cookware essentials at the ready, you can start cooking up classic family favorites and new recipes. What will your Wok’s first meal be? Share with us in the comment section below!