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What to look for when buying a Wok FOOD & COOKING

I bought my first wok (and only) back in 1995. I bought it from the Aldi supermarket in Cheltenham shortly after it first opened. I do not remember what I paid for it but I know it was not expensive otherwise I would have probably not bothered. As it turned out it was a great investment. Every time I use it I clean it with wire wool, dry it and then lightly oil it so I does not rust.

When shopping for a wok there are several factors to consider to ensure that you choose the right one for your needs. Here are some important things to look for:

  1. Material:
    Woks are typically made of carbon steel, cast iron or non-stick materials. Carbon steel is lightweight, heats up quickly and is highly responsive to temperature changes, making it ideal for stir-frying. Cast iron woks are heavy and take longer to heat up but they retain heat well and are suitable for searing and deep-frying. Non-stick woks are convenient for low-fat cooking but they tend to be less durable and heat-resistant than other materials.

  2. Size:
    Woks come in various sizes, from small 8 inch models to large 14 inch ones. Choose a size that fits your cooking needs and the size of your stove top. If you are cooking for a small family, a 14 inch wok might be too large, while an 8 inch wok might be too small if you are cooking for a large family or entertaining guests.

  3. Shape:
    Woks are typically round, with gently sloping sides that make it easy to stir-fry ingredients and prevent food from spilling over. Flat-bottomed woks are ideal for use on electric or induction cooker tops, while rounded-bottomed woks are best for use on gas stoves.

  4. Handle:
    The handle should be securely attached to the wok and made of heat-resistant materials. If you have a small kitchen, choose a wok with a detachable handle for easy storage.

  5. Price:
    Woks are available at a range of prices, from budget-friendly models to high-end, premium woks. While more expensive woks tend to be of higher quality, it is important to choose one that fits your budget while also meeting your cooking needs.

  6. Brand reputation:
    Consider the reputation of the brand you are buying from. Look for brands that have a good track record for producing high-quality woks that are built to last.

  7. Seasoning:
    Woks that are made of carbon steel or cast iron should be seasoned before use. Seasoning helps to protect the wok from rust and creates a non-stick surface that makes cooking easier.

  8. Maintenance:
    Consider how much time and effort you are willing to put into maintaining your wok. Cast iron and carbon steel woks require regular oiling to keep them from rusting, while non-stick woks are easier to clean and maintain.

When shopping for a wok, it is important to choose one that meets your cooking needs and budget. Consider the material, size, shape, handle, price, brand reputation, seasoning and maintenance requirements when making your selection. By taking the time to choose the right wok, you can ensure that you will have a versatile and reliable kitchen tool that will last for years to come.

David Jenkins

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