Best Flat Bottomed Wok Guide
If going out for Chinese is getting too expensive and bad for the waistline? The solution – start cooking stir fry meals at home. It’s much cheaper and you have control of the ingredients that you use.
But, you definitely need a good wok. Choosing the best flat bottomed wok for your needs can be a dilemma, due to the large selection. Today, woks are readily available in a large variety of designs, sizes and materials.
A wok is a must for stir frying, a skillet or fry pan will not cut it!
A wok can be very versatile and can be used for more than just stir fry. It can be used as a saucepan, a fry pan or even a steamer.
Advantages of using a wok
- Cooks food quickly. Prepping the food takes the most time.
- Probably around 5 minutes from wok to dinner table.
- Less nutrients lost with a shorter cooking time
- Be prepared, get all ingredients prepped before starting to cook, as the cooking time is very short.
- Cooking in a wok usually means more veggies, less protein which is good for the wallet.
Woks have been around for a long time, but not as common in an American kitchen. In fact many good cooks have never used one.
But, flat bottomed woks are a great addition to any kitchen.
Originally designed for cooking foods at high temperatures while stirring constantly. But there are many other uses for a wok.
Besides stir-frying, I have used my wok for a lot of different uses. A wok is very versatile. It can be used for frying food, especially deep frying, roast, steam, saute` and even scramble eggs. How’s that!
If you have never used a wok before, you will be surprised how simple they are to use for many different methods.
Using a wok for deep frying is good because it’s easier to turn the food over or remove it, due to the slanted sides. Also, less messy because the sides are flared so the wok catches a lot of the drippings. Also helps prevent burns.
Steaming in a wok is easy if you have a lid. You can steam clams, mussels and even corn on the cob. Just make sure your water is hot before adding the ingredients.
Sautéing greens are much easier in a wok because of the larger capacity to hold all the greens. So try sauteing collard greens, kale and spinach and see how much easier it is.
What should you look for when purchasing a wok?
Preferably look for a flat bottomed wok as a rounded bottom woks do not work as well on a gas or electric stove. You would need a wok ring for the wok to work best.
Different types of Woks
Stainless steel Woks
A good choice, very durable, but food can stick, so you may need to add more oil. But stainless steel woks do not need to be seasoned like other types of woks.
Carbon Steel Woks
Carbon steel conducts heat very good, so a wok will heat evenly and quickly.
Very durable, so it will last a long time. This type of wok requires seasoning
but have a natural non stick finish.
Cast Iron Woks
Cast iron woks cook very well, but have a few drawbacks.
Take a long time to heat up and to also cool down.
Must be seasoned, but is non stick.
Can be very heavy, making it hard to handle.
Non Stick Woks
Very hard to get as hot as needed to brown and sear the food properly.
Treated with a nonstick coating which could pose a health risk.
But, very easy cleanup.
Anodized aluminum Wok
Usually coated with a nonstick material for ease in use and cleanup.
Anodized aluminum takes time to heat up.
Easy to handle being light weight, but still quite sturdy.
Seasoning your wok
Carbon steel and cast iron woks come with a film of oil, wash this completely off and dry by placing the wok over high flame. Then you need to add some oil (small amount), sesame oil is good to use because it will burn quickly. Using a towel, rub the oil all over the inside surface of the wok. It will turn dark, which is normal.
Don’t clean with a metal scouting pad or steel wool, as that will remove the seasoning.
Woks come in every price range.
My favorite is the CTX Scanpan wok priced at $249.95.
Definitely one of the higher priced woks. It’s made in Denmark by Scanpan, a quality company.
but will have
a beautiful even browning.
It’s durable construction ensures even heat distribution, making it perfect for preparing many different types of foods, especially Asian style recipes.
- Use on all cooktops
- Oven safe 500 degrees
- Comes with wire rack and chopsticks
- Lid sold separately
Made from heavy gauge aluminum for good durability. The handles are made from stainless steel to stay cool longer when cooking on top of the stove. Less chance of getting burned.
You can use any utensil, the nonstick surface will not get scratched.
The glass cover is also oven safe for keeping food warm or to finish cooking the dish.
This 13″ wok is made with 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum core.The handles are made from stainless steel to help them stay cool longer. You will enjoy cooking with this wok.
The tight fitting dome lid helps keeps moisture and heat locked in.
- Dishwasher safe
- Oven safe to 500 degrees
- Limited lifetime warranty
Iwachu 410-689 Cast Iron Wok $144.13
This wok is excellent for stir-frying, due to it’s generous size. Made of cast iron, it is good for heat retention and producing even heat.
With a company history of over 100 years the expert craftsmen are known for their precision and detail when crafting of Japanese ironware. their products, earning them the reputation of being the best manufacturer of Japanese ironware.
Joyce Chen 14″ light weight cast iron pre seasoned bottom wok. Price is $49.50
Good temperature control and great heat retention. It’s pre seasoned and ready to use.
- Lifetime warranty
- Not oven safe
- Not dishwasher safe
Caution: Wooden handles may become hot and pot holders might be needed.
Lodge Best Rated Cast Iron Wok
Wok is 14″ in diameter, all cast iron with a solid flat bottomed base and with 2 loop handles adaptable to the oven. Can be used on electric, gas and also induction ranges. Retains heat better than other metals. The drawback is very heavy and a it has a rough interior.
- Don’t use in microwave
- When deep frying only fill 1/3 full with oil.
- Match pan size with burner size
- Hand wash and dry before 1st use
- then rub with a light coating of vegetable oil
Pow Wok / with flat or round bottomed 14 gauge carbon steel Wok $24.95
Made in the U.S.A.
Has metal handles which are hollow. Both flat or round bottomed are available, depending on your preference.
Made with heavy gauge carbon steel. Flat bottomed can be used on electric, gas stove tops or grills.
I hope this article has shed some light on the different woks that are available to you and the different price ranges that woks are available in.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as possible, Thanks, Deanna