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Every Kitchen Deserves a Wok

It’s time you upgraded.

By Team Made In
Jul 11, 2022
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A Wok is one of the best pieces of cookware for any kitchen. Famous from their use in Chinese cooking, these conical pans are as multipurpose as it gets. If you’ve ever wondered why you may need a wok or what you can do with one, you’ve come to the right place. Here we’ll break down what a wok is, how they compare to other pieces of cookware, and even how to cook with one.

What Is a Wok?

A Wok is a deep-rounded, conical pan originating from China. There are a few different versions of this classic pan: the Cantonese Wok and the Mandarin Wok.

The Cantonese Wok is often made from carbon steel and has two U-shaped helper handles, one on each side. A Mandarin Wok is usually made from steel and has one long handle, often made from bamboo.

Our Wok is a combination of these two styles. In making our Wok, we utilized Carbon Steel for its high-heat capacity and opted for one long Stainless Steel handle to make hands-on cooking techniques, like stir fry, comfortable.

What are Woks Made Of?

Woks can be made from many different materials. Most typically, Woks are constructed from either cast iron or carbon steel, although you can find aluminum and stainless steel designs as well.

We opted to design our Wok from Carbon Steel. Carbon Steel, which is safe up to 1200F can get extremely hot, and provide superior heat retention, making it ideal for stir-fry. And because Carbon Steel is lightweight, it is much easier to maneuver than cast iron.

Wok vs. Frying Pan

A Wok is different from a Frying Pan for a few reasons. A Wok has a more conical shape, while a Frying Pan is flatter. Frying Pans have flat bottoms, while Woks typically have curved ones (although we designed our Wok with a flat bottom so you can use it on your home burner).

Beyond appearances, they also differ in functionality. A Frying Pan should be your go to for sauteing and searing, while a Wok is much more suited for techniques like stir-frying and even deep frying thanks to its big hollow body.

What Is a Wok Used For?

While a Wok is often used for stir-fry, there are plenty of other techniques it’s great for too. With a Wok, you can deep-fry tempura, steam dumplings, braise mapo tofu, and even fashion it into an indoor smoker if you’re feeling adventurous.

How to Cook With a Wok

Cooking with a Wok is relatively simple, however, your approach does depend on what technique and style you’re cooking with. Here are some tips to remember.

  • Watch the heat. Woks are able to get screaming hot (in fact wok hei, which translates to “breath of wok,” refers to the tastes imparted by a hot wok during the cooking process), but that doesn’t mean they have to. Carbon Steel is notoriously responsive to heat, so you don’t have to turn up the dial all the way to high the next time you use your Wok, unless you’re stir-frying—medium-high should do just fine.

  • Be hands on. Woks are meant to be moved around the stovetop and the contents flipped around numerous times throughout the cooking process. If you aren’t careful, leaving your food undisturbed for too long could lead to charred ingredients.

  • Dry your ingredients. Unless you’re deep frying or braising, you’re going to want to ensure your ingredients are as dry as possible before adding them to your Wok. Any wet ingredients could result in steam, which produces the opposite of the dry, crispy food you may be hoping for.

Do I Need a Wok?

We believe that Woks are essential kitchen tools for everyone, not just adventurous cooks. However, if you frequently cook with high heat, enjoy experimenting with cooking techniques, and are always looking to perfect a new recipe, then a Wok should be in your kitchen arsenal.

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A Wok is an incredibly versatile pan that can help you achieve many different cooking styles and techniques. When you pair this classic pan style with our award-winning Carbon Steel construction, you’ve got a Wok that will last you a lifetime.