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No matter if you are interested in cooking Asian food or not, a wok is a good pan to have in the kitchen. Woks are perfect for stir-frys of all kinds. They can also be used for steaming and a variety of other cooking techniques. When you need to mix ingredients together, the wok really works well because it’s better for stirring and mixing things than anything else due to its unique shape.
However, there are many different woks available on the market today. How do you choose the right one? What type of wok is the most authentic? Are those really better than modern, nonstick woks? These are the questions we’re going to try to tackle today. But first of all, we present to you our selection of 5 best woks you can buy for your gas stove.
The Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok is an authentic traditional Chinese wok. These woks are made in Guangzhou, China by professionals who have been doing it for years.
Overall, this is a sturdy wok with a very heavy feel. It has a thick, round bottom, a long wooden handle and a steel helper handle. This pan itself is made of carbon steel, the material traditionally used to make woks in Asia. In this particular case, it’s 15 gauge steel that’s 1.8 millimeters thick.
Carbon steel conducts heat really well and it’s basically the perfect material for a wok. The pan feels stable in the hand, but it’s not as heavy as cast iron so it’s still easy to handle. This pan does have one downside that comes with the fact that it’s made from carbon steel: it shouldn’t go in the dishwasher and it requires regular seasoning. It’s not a big deal, though, and many cooks actually enjoy using this type of cookware.
The Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok measures 14 inches in diameter, which is probably the perfect size for everyday home use. It’s big enough to cook a stir fry, but it’s too big so you can easily use it to make dinner just for 1 or 2 people when you need to.
Lodge is definitely one of the biggest names on the market when it comes to cast iron cookware. Their pans are not only well-made and durable, but they also come at a very reasonable price. We’ve never been disappointed by a Lodge pan. In fact, they keep surprising us with new amazing products, such as this cast iron wok.
The Lodge P14W3 Pro-Logic Cast Iron Wok is simple but perfect at the same time. It’s solid cast iron after all. This pan conducts heat evenly and offers amazing heat retention. It measures 14-inches in diameter, which is the standard middle size for a wok. The only downside is the weight of this wok – it weighs 10.5 pounds. It does have sturdy handles that can take the weight, but you can’t move it around as easily as you would if it was made of some other material.
Regardless of the weight, we still love cast iron woks like this one. These are not just pans, but heirlooms, as they last virtually forever. Even if the pan begins to rust, all you need to do is brush the rust off and re-season your pan. They are also completely oven-safe.
Amazing heat retention
Cast iron pans can last for generations
Two sturdy handles
Comes pre-seasoned with natural oil
Made in USA
Handles get hot on the stovetop, oven mitts must be used
The Calphalon Triply Stainless Steel 12-Inch Wok Stir Fry Pan With Cover is a great example of a wok made for the modern kitchen. Calphalon took the shape and basic principle of traditional woks, and adapted it to fit seamlessly into the modern kitchen.
Since it has a flat bottom, this wok can be used on any kind of stove, including not only gas, but also induction and electric stoves. The exterior of the pan is stainless steel. The cooking surface features a satin finish on the stainless steel, while the outside has a brushed finish for an elegant look. Since it’s made of stainless steel, this wok can go into the dishwasher, something that traditional woks can’t do
Between the two layers of stainless steel, this Calphalon wok hides an aluminum core. This is actually great, as aluminum heats up quickly and transfers heat evenly all the way up the sides of the wok.
This wok has a long handle that’s made of stainless steel too and a large helper handle. The long handle is V-shaped at the base which allows it to stay cool on the stovetop.
As a nice addition, this Calphalon wok also comes with a tight-fitting lid. The lid is made of tempered glass which is great because you can have the lid on and watch your food closely without removing the lid.
The Rachel Ray Cucina collection of hard anodized aluminum cookware brings together rustic and contemporary, and in the case of this beautiful wok, the combination has certainly worked well.
This pan is made of hard anodized aluminum which gives the exterior the characteristic black color. Thanks to this choice of material, the pan is lightweight but it still feels sturdy in the hand. It’s perfect for those that find traditional woks too heavy to handle.
The cooking surface on this frying pan is covered with a modern and durable nonstick coating that is free of PFOA and similar chemicals. The nonstick coating is really good, so you can even place the pan in the dishwasher without worrying about damage.
This wok doesn’t have a helper handle, but only one long handle. However, the pan is quite lightweight and well-balanced, so handling it using only one handle is not a problem. The handle is made with a combination of stainless steel and silicone, resulting in a secure and comfortable grip.
Another thing we like about this wok from Rachel Ray is the lid that comes with it. The lid is made of tempered glass, which means it’s transparent, but also shatter-resistant. The lid also has a large, comfortable handle with a silicone grip.
This wok from Cooks Standard is a well-made and versatile wok. It’s made of stainless steel which makes it very durable and resistant to corrosion and rust. This pan also features an aluminum core that allows it to distribute the heat evenly.
Even though the bottom on this wok is flat the interior is slightly rounded, with the sides gently sloping upwards. This creates an effect that makes you feel like you are using a traditional, round-bottomed wok. The heat is distributed really evenly throughout the interior of the pan, so stirring food up the sides feels really natural and the food gets cooked really well. The diameter of this pan is 13 inches, which we find is a really good size for home use. It’s not too big like some other woks.
This frying pan from Cooks Standard also includes a stainless steel dome lid. This lid is great if you are into authentic Asian cuisine, as it holds in the flavor and even allows you to steam vegetables and meat inside your wok.
Woks certainly have a long history. They have been used in China for at least 2000 years. Since then, the wok has come a long way. It has become an indispensable tool in kitchens all across the western world. It seems natural, then, that some modern types of woks have also appeared alongside the traditional ones. Which one to choose? This guide is here to help.
Types Of Woks For Gas Stoves
When choosing a wok, the material it is made of makes all the difference. With a gas stove, you have all the freedom in the world when it comes to choosing your cookware. Pretty much anything will work on a gas range. This means you have many options to choose from, so there is quite a bit to think about. Each type of wok has certain advantages and drawbacks. So, let’s talk about the four most common types of woks that can be used on a gas stove.
Carbon Steel Woks
Carbon steel is the material most commonly used today for authentic Asian woks. Carbon steel is relatively lightweight. At the same time, it conducts heat really well, heating the food evenly from all sides when stir frying. Carbon steel can also withstand extremely high temperatures which is exactly what a wok needs to do. Carbon steel woks are relatively inexpensive while also being quite durable. You don’t need to be careful around this kind of pan, they can certainly withstand some abuse.
What makes some people skeptical about carbon steel woks is the fact that they don’t go into the dishwasher. Just like cast iron cookware, carbon steel woks need to be seasoned on a regular basis. Proper seasoning actually has an amazing effect, making the pan naturally nonstick. It’s not hard to do and it gives you a nonstick pan without any suspicious chemicals involved.
Cast Iron Woks
Cast iron was traditionally used to make woks for a long time. While Chinese cast iron woks can sometimes be quite thin, the cast iron woks available online are generally thick and very heavy.
Woks made of cast iron are definitely unique. Many chefs love them, while some prefer lighter and more nimble alternatives. Cast iron retains heat better than anything else. This means once you get your cast iron wok hot, it will radiate heat evenly and the temperature will stay stable for quite a bit of time. This is actually perfect for stir frying, but the technique requires a bit of precision. If you overheat your cast iron pan, it will not cool down quickly no matter what you do. However, if you do it right, the results are amazing.
Additionally, cast iron is great for dishes that require transfering heat from the stovetop into the oven. Since it retains heat so well, a cast iron wok will remain hot while you transfer it into the oven and the cooking process won’t be interrupted.
Just like carbon steel woks, cast iron woks require a maintenance routine that is different from what we are used to with modern cookware. These pans never go into the dishwasher. Instead, these pans need to be seasoned by baking oil into the surface of the pan. This makes the pan naturally nonstick. You can just wipe off the dirt, or wash it using water. If needed, you can use dish soap when hand washing, but the pan should be reseasoned after this.
Stainless Steel Woks
Stainless steel woks are a modern interpretation of this traditional cooking vessel. Woks made of stainless steel almost never have a round bottom, but a flat one. This makes them compatible with all kinds of cooktops, including gas and electric stoves. These pans perform better than other types of woks when used on electric stoves, but on gas ranges it’s a matter of preference.
Modern stainless steel woks are not made just of stainless steel. Instead, they usually have a layer of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. This allows the pan to spread heat evenly. One upside of this kind of wok is that it reacts quickly to temperature changes. You can heat up and cool down your pan in a matter of seconds when you need to.
The final type of woks available today is nonstick woks. These pans are usually made either of aluminum or of hard anodized aluminum. Hard anodized is definitely the better option, because it has all the good properties of regular aluminum while being more impact-resistant.
Nonstick woks are great because food really doesn’t stick to them. However, they are not as durable as other types of wok and are not made to be used on extremely high heat. When choosing a nonstick wok, it’s important to check if the coating is PFOA-free, as this chemical can be dangerous to your health.
Flat Bottom Vs Round Bottom Woks
One of the advantages of cooking on a gas stove is the fact that you can actually use woks with a round bottom. Traditionally, woks were made this way, and round bottom woks are used almost exclusively all over Asia even today. Moreover, commercial kitchens all over the world use almost exclusively round-bottomed woks. On electric stoves with a flat top, using a round-bottomed wok is only possible using a wok ring, but even then the results are questionable. However, on gas stoves round-bottomed woks work perfectly.
Having a pan with a round bottom might seem odd at first. After all, all of our other pots and pans have a flat bottom, and this is usually a good thing. However, round-bottomed woks are actually great. They are made for stir frying, and doing this is much easier than with a flat-bottomed wok.
On the other hand, many chefs today use flat-bottomed woks simply because they are better adapted for modern stoves. They are more stable, and more versatile.
Choosing a wok for a gas stove can be a very personal decision. Cast iron woks like the Lodge P14W3 Pro-Logic Cast Iron Wok provide great results, but they might be too heavy for some users. In this case, the Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok is a great alternative. This one has a round bottom, though, so if you prefer a flat bottomed wok maybe you want to choose a stainless steel version like the Calphalon Triply Stainless Steel 12-Inch Wok Stir Fry Pan With Cover. The choice is completely yours, but we hope this guide has helped.
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