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WOKS


Oldie
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Many years ago (probably in the 70's or 80's)  I used a Wok. It was an absolute pain in the backside to season.

Due to changes in my lifestyle, I feel I want to try the Wok experience again, but hopefully without the seasoning part.

Can anyone recommend a decent Wok? Not large as it's only for one person.

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Mm...don't know any French ones.  I've got one from Jean Patrique on line back in the UK but it is rather large.

I don't think you need worry about the "size" of woks.  Even if it's only for one, the large ones are the best because you need the heat to get to all the "bits" as quickly as possible.

There is an electric one made by Tefal and I am quite tempted myself.  It plugs into a socket and is Teflon coated, so away you go.  I have seen them in our local Intermarche, so must be readily available because our supermarkets are not what you'd call really "super".

The advantage of an electric one, IMO, is that all the parts of the wok will get heated at the same time.  I myself have a "super bruleur" on my Godin range and that is a very big gas ring producing a lot of heat.  Unless you have one of those, you'd find that an ordinary ring (gas or electric) will only heat the bottom of the wok whereas, for the wok to work efficiently, you really need its sloping sides to be heated up at the same time.

If I haven't explained the principles of the wok well enough, please excuse me.  It really is a most simple utensil to use but it is essential to know how to coax the best performance out of it.  You do absolutely have to have one with a domed fitting lid if you want it to be able to do all the things it is capable of.

You could also steam, deep-fry, use it as a stew-pot, etc. so it's nice if you could get one that's really the real McCoy.

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Any oriental shop (magasin asiatique) would sell one or more varieties of woks, different sizes too. Your profile doesn't indicate where in France you are, but there are quite a number of very large oriental supermarkets around in cities. For instance near Montpellier in my general area, there are 2 in the city centre, and a very large one outside the town.

Teflon might be the coating you want, if you don't want to have to season the wok, Oldie. I find the whole idea of Teflon to be completely counter to what the authentic, traditional wok is supposed to be though. A wok has to withstand very high temperatures, whereas Teflon is not designed for that.  I think it is really worth taking the trouble to build the coating on a "real" wok - then the maintenance is easy, just clean it with hot running water, never use detergent or washing up liquid ; I have 2 woks which I use often, each with a good coating, so that they are dead easy to clean.

I am rather suspicious of  electric woks, as it doesn't seem possible to heat it to the same high temperatures as you can do with gas. The very high temperature is crucial if you want to stir-fry - you sear the food and seal the juices, and don't need as much oil or fat; once the juices are sealed by heat, the vegetables will remain crunchy. If the wok is not hot enough, they will get soggy. 

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I agree with 5-e.   The teflon ones are absolutely the pits.  Husband bought one for his apt. overseas.  Even he (who rarely cooks) quickly learned it was a waste of money.

Get a good wok.  Don't buy a cheap one.  

Have never used an electric one, but doubt I ever would either.

Mine is similar to this one:

http://www.e-artdoffrir.com/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=898957&AccID=16775

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I would have so say.. absolutely no to any teflon or electric wok.... You may use it a few times but you might as well cook in a frying pan with a little bit of added teflon posion as you stir ;-)

You want one like the one in the pic above but with a wooden handle.

You need gas to get the full benefit or a wok and nerves of steel when things get hot.... oh and you carbon steel wok wont be great until about 6 months(after a bit of wear and tear)

great tip... if the food looks like it might burn... add a bit of water and not oil

osie

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Many many thanks to all.. I think a trip to one of the larger towns (Agen perhaps) will help. I live near Monflanquin and can't think of any suitable shops around. No mains gas so am on bottled although I don't know if that would make a difference temperature wise.

Love the pictures!!

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You could always get a Rena Ware 18/10 stainless steel one. It has a stainless/carbon/stainless construction so the heat spreads quickly and evenly.

It will only cost you about £350 and it has a lifetime warranty too!!

Mind you it has got a small flat bottom.

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[quote user="Jonzjob"]

You could always get a Rena Ware 18/10 stainless steel one. It has a stainless/carbon/stainless construction so the heat spreads quickly and evenly.

It will only cost you about £350 and it has a lifetime warranty too!!

Mind you it has got a small flat bottom.

[/quote]

I don't want to take out a mortgage at my age! Thanks anyway.

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Well yes, not awl-fentic but given that I have an electric halogen hob to cook on I thought it might be a good compromise.

Actually it's probably better to use it as a cricket bat coz it's not great as a wok, at least on this kind of hob

Would never have a halogen hob again, looks great but awful to do serious cooking on.

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