6 Uses for Your Carbon Steel Wok Beyond Stir-Fry

Think your Wok is only a vehicle for stellar stir-fry? Think again.

By Izzy Johnson
Apr 4, 2022
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Our Award Winning Carbon Steel Wok is the best you can get for stir-fry, but you already know that. The sloped sides of a Wok are ideal for flipping and tossing food, while Carbon Steel is excellent at conducting heat, which makes your cooking process even faster. Though you cannot achieve true wok hei, the signature smoky flavor a Wok gives restaurant food, our Wok produces the closest you can get in a home kitchen.

Our Wok's unique shape and responsiveness to heat actually make it great for so much more than just stir-fry. Here, we will explore some more uncommon and creative uses for your Wok, showing that it’s far from a single use piece of cookware.

1. Deep Frying

The conical shape of a Wok makes it a great choice for deep frying, whether that’s tempura or fried chicken. Carbon Steel is ideal for conducting heat, so your oil will come up to the appropriate temperature more quickly. You can fry more using less oil and because of the Wok’s width and depth, you don’t have to worry about overcrowding. The shape also helps hold in heat so that it fluctuates less as you add in your ingredients. As an added bonus, those high sides also keep your stove from getting splattered with grease, making for an easier clean up.

2. Steaming

Bamboo steamer baskets are designed to fit inside of a Wok. They are a versatile kitchen tool essential for dumplings, but also for steaming vegetables or making traditional Chinese dishes like this savory Egg Custard.

To use one with a Wok, simply bring a few inches of water to boil over medium heat. Place your steamer inside, making sure that the water isn’t high enough to touch the bottom. Then reduce the heat slightly and let the steam work its magic. Keep an eye on your food, taking care to not let the water totally evaporate and scorch the bottom of your Wok.

3. Blanching

Sometimes, you may want to par-cook vegetables before adding them to another dish. This is especially useful for tougher or denser vegetables that will take longer than others, like potatoes, as well as for vegetables that you want to keep crispy, like green beans. The wide cone shape allows for plenty of room to cook without crowding. To blanch, fill the Wok with enough water to fully submerge your ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, usually until the vegetables are bright green, then plunge them into a large bowl filled with ice water.

To add more crunch to your stir-fry, blanch your vegetables this way first before returning them to your screaming hot Wok to sear.

4. Braising

When you see the words braising and Wok in the same sentence, you may be confused, but this is an opportunity to learn something new. The type of braising done in a Dutch Oven is Western style braising, while Wok braising is a simmered stovetop dish with a saucy consistency. Think less brisket and more beef with broccoli. The high walls of the Wok allow you to swirl your ingredients in their sauce, while the cone shape is helpful when pouring the finished dish over rice.

5. Dry Frying

Dry frying is specific to Sichuan cuisine and involves cooking vegetable or protein in relatively hot oil, draining the food’s moisture and leading to a dry exterior with more concentrated flavor. After you remove the food from the oil, you can then add these bits of meat or vegetables to some aromatics (like ginger, dry chilies or garlic) for a super flavorful stir fry.

6. Indoor Smoking

Who would have thought that your Wok could double as a smoker too? You will need a decent amount of foil, so make sure you’re well-stocked before you begin. First, line your Wok with foil so that whatever you’re burning (mesquite, charcoal, etc) doesn’t scratch up the Carbon Steel. Next, set a Sheet Pan Rack on top of your foil-lined Wok, then place your food on top.

Turn the flame up to medium high, and once your wood or charcoal begins to burn, seal up the whole package with another piece of foil. Let this smoke for about 30 minutes. The flavor will not be as intense as an outdoor smoker, but this is a fun project for when you don’t feel like (or can’t) make it outside.

Now that you know your Wok can be used for many dishes, enjoy getting creative with it. Plus, all of this extra seasoning will make your next stir fry that much better.