Last Updated on 21st September 2022 by Pauline Loughlin
In many parts of the world, woks are used to make meals daily. If you’re not used to using this frying implement, it may seem strange and intimidating to you trying to cook with a wok.
You can make so many great dishes with this kitchen tool, though, like stir fries, fried rice, soup, eggs, popcorn, veggies, and more. I’ll show you some methods for how to cook with a wok that will help to get you started.
Or, if you have been using a wok but want to know how to do more with it, then hopefully this article will help. You should be able to cook with confidence and get the most out of your wok.
Why Cook with a Wok?
The advantage to using the wok is that it provides such a large cooking surface. You can cook a lot of food at once in a wok, making food for the entire family or numerous guests all in one go.
Instead of dirtying several pans and pots, you can use a single dish, which cuts down on the cleanup.
It’s so simple to make large servings of something like stir fry or fried rice in a wok or flash reheating food like spring rolls. That’s why they’re so popular amongst street food vendors, as they can make food for many customers very quickly with their wok.
Woks also give you a lot of cooking area, so you can move food around, making sure it doesn’t burn and adding more ingredients with ease without crowding your cooking surface.
Using the wok makes it easy to inspect all of your food as you cook it to ensure that it cooks properly and thoroughly.
Why is it good to cook with a wok? Besides the traditional cooking implement in many Asian countries and ideal for cooking a variety of Asian dishes, the wok is convenient. You’ll love how easy it is to make large meals very quickly using a wok. It also heats well and can keep its non-stick surface for years.
Typical frying pans become easily banged up and dented over time, and their handles may become brittle and fall off. The wok is made from incredibly durable materials that will outlast just about everything else in your kitchen.
How to Keep Your Wok Nonstick
One of the most important aspects of cooking with a wok is to ensure that it is well seasoned. This doesn’t mean we’re add herbs and spices to the wok, but rather it means you’re taking care of your lock so that it keeps a nonstick surface.
In order to do that, you’ll need to clean your wok immediately after using it. You can clean with soap and water and scrub it down, but then dry it thoroughly and spread a light layer of oil over the wok.
If you do this without fail every single time you use the wok, it should retain its nonstick surface for many years and actually become more nonstick over time.
How to Cook with a Wok on a Gas Stove
Chinese restaurants typically used woks for cooking large orders at once, but their heat source is a bit different from what you’ll have at home. They may be using a gas stove, but the heat level is much higher. So, how to cook with a wok using a gas stove at home and still get restaurant level results?
The wok you pick out will need to be the right size for your gas stove. If the wok is too big, your gas stove won’t be able to heat it evenly, and your food won’t cook like it should. Make sure your wok and stove are compatible.
Like I mentioned before, the wok needs to be well seasoned to retain its nonstick surface. You also want to preheat the wok before adding any food into it. This ensures that your food is cooked evenly.
Another important thing to keep in mind about cooking on a gas stove with the wok is that you’ll need to use an oil with a high smoke point. It’s easy to burn your food if you use the wrong oil with your wok.
Olive oil is a delicate oil with a low smoke point, and you want to avoid that one. Instead, opt for safflower oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or avocado oil, all of which have smoke points at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
How to Cook with a Wok on Electric Stove
A lot of the same rules apply to cooking on electric stove with the wok as opposed to cooking on a gas stove. You still want to season your wok and preheat it before adding any food to it. One big difference is wok compatibility.
It’s usually best to use a flat bottom wok for an electric stove, especially if you’re using one that has heating coils. Because of the design of most electric stoves, the rounded bottomed wok could tip and fall over on the stovetop, making a mess and posing a danger to you anyone else in the kitchen.
Once again, don’t use a wok that’s too big for your stove. Otherwise, your food isn’t going to cook properly. If you have to use a smaller wok, be careful about overcrowding. You can end up burning your food and not getting it cooked evenly and thoroughly.
Be sure to put in your oil before the food, and once again, use oil with a high smoke point for best results. If you don’t take that precaution, your food will be all smoky and taste of burnt oil long before it’s cooked.
One final tip that applies to any kind of wok cooking, no matter what kind of stove or cooking surface you’re using, is to use the right kind of spatula. A wok spatula can handle the rounded bottom of the wok, allowing you to easily move food around and control it as it cooks.
Wok spatulas tend to have long handles so that your hand isn’t resting over the wok where it could get burnt from the steam
I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food! You can find my Facebook here