Woks aren’t just for restaurant cooking.
If you’ve ever cooked with a wok before, you know that it’s much more than just a really big pan. Its high sides maximize the amount of available surface area, making it easy to toss and rapidly cook food at super high temperatures. Our flat-bottomed, roomy Carbon Steel Wok is responsive enough to get and stay ripping hot, making for perfectly seared proteins, starches, and veggies.
From lap cheong fried rice to Peruvian Lomo Saltado, we’ve rounded up four of our favorite wok-cooked dishes to help get you inspired.
There’s a time for thick, chewy udon and hand-pulled noodles—and then there’s a time for meltingly soft rice noodles, wok-fried with tender beef and sweet soy sauce. That’s what you get with this chow fun recipe from The Peached Tortilla Chef Eric Silverstein. Silverstein builds flavor with pantry staples like oyster sauce and chili garlic sauce, adds thinly sliced and marinated flank steak for protein, then tops the finished dish with a generous garnish of fresh herbs and fried shallots.
Few dishes are as emblematic of Chifa—aka Chinese-Peruvian—cuisine as Lomo Saltado. Consisting of sliced beef stir-fried with peppers, tomatoes, and aromatics like cumin and garlic, the dish is typically served over french fries and rice for a double dose of comfort.
This version by Lima-born Chef Kenny Loo of San Antonio’s Scorpion Cafe y Cantina gets its rich, saucy consistency from a quick homemade “lomo sauce” made from soy sauce, vinegar, and stock, which perfectly finishes the dish.
Got some day-old rice in the fridge? Don’t toss it—those hard, dried-out grains are basically flavor sponges, ideal for making fried rice. In Chef Eric Silverstein’s rendition, the rice is flavored with umami ingredients like white miso paste and oyster sauce, while lap cheong—a type of cured Cantonese sausage—adds both richness and heft. This can be found at H Mart or another well-stocked Asian grocery store, but feel free to swap for another protein if you're having trouble sourcing.
With plenty of crisp veggies and a salty, musky backbone from preserved black beans, this Chow Udon is the furthest thing from yawn-worthy. Los Angeles Chef Ryan Wong of Needle layers in tons of savory flavor with a combo of oyster sauce, dark and light soy sauce, and the aforementioned black beans, giving everything a quick sear in a smoking-hot wok.
Chef Wong uses pork butt as his protein, but feel free to substitute your meat of choice.
While a wok is perfect for making a bang-up stir fry, that’s not all it’s good for. Those signature high walls help to prevent oil splatter when deep frying, and the wide, deep base holds a ton of food without overcrowding. That same shape also comes in handy when steaming: bamboo steamer baskets are designed specially to fit the shape of a wok, allowing you to par-cook all the veggies you need for stir frying.
You can also check out our guide to carbon steel wok uses for some of our other favorite wok-friendly cooking methods.
Hardly the exclusive domain of restaurant kitchens, the durable, versatile wok is ideal for adding to your home cookware arsenal. And if you decide to invest in one, we’d definitely recommend going for carbon steel. Since our induction-compatible Blue Carbon Steel Wok becomes naturally non stick once it’s seasoned, you can easily sear and stir fry ingredients without a ton of oil—or excessive cleanup.
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