View Full Version : Got a Wok. Now what? Tips, tricks, and recipes wanted.

12-25-2013, 11:01 PM
I got an awesome carbon steel wok for Christmas. I am going to season it soon, but that is as far as my knowledge of woks go.

How do I cook with it?

Also does anyone have any tips, recipes, or other incite?

I would love to hear just about anything you know about them because I don't know anything. (other than apply heat+add food=?)


NO ChoP!
12-25-2013, 11:33 PM
Let me wok you through this....

Do you have a gas range? Is your wok round bottomed? If yes to both, your good to go....a high heat burner is nice, too.

High heats are desirable, and fat. A fat that can take high heat. You won't use as much fat as traditional pan frying, but it is essential.

You will need an implement to toss your food around. I think the traditional ladle is called a hoak? Maybe? But anything with a long handle will do.

Keeping food moving is important. A tip is to make sure you have everything ready to go before you start, as walking away is kinda hard to do.

You can also get away with using lesser and fattier cuts of meat, as the fats are quickly rendered.

There really aren't any secrets. Just like a carbon knife, keep the pan lubed between uses.

Wok and roll!!!!

12-25-2013, 11:43 PM
Thanks chop. I was going to pick your brain tomorrow. I have heard some things about using the sides of the pan for certain things and the bottom of the pan for others. Also it is flat bottom and I have access to gas burners, but my range is electric.

NO ChoP!
12-25-2013, 11:47 PM
Well a flat bottom will work on electric, so no problem there.

12-25-2013, 11:50 PM
I know it is not ideal. I am excited to try some stuff out. Thanks for your imput.

12-26-2013, 12:27 AM

I'm a Chinese dude without a wok. I shopped all this week looking for one I liked. No luck. More of me not knowing what I want really. Wish my step dad was still alive. He was a wok pro.

Here is what I do know. Your stovetop vent better be a good one. Mine isn't. Your stove should be a hot mofo. Mine isn't.

I plan on using mine outside on a turkey fryer burner. Best truck-camp cooking ever. Up till now I've been doing all my Chinese food on a skillet. I cook the dish in parts and bring all the cooked things together at the end. Not efficient but acceptable.

12-26-2013, 12:40 AM
I was planning on doing it on the gas side burner on my grill. I don't really have a hood or another adequate venting system at home. I just have the little fan that everyone has.

12-26-2013, 01:02 AM
Hey boom have you been to the wok shop in SF Chinatown? That's probably the place to go to for a wok. Trimark restaurant supply also carries some nice woks. I'd go for something in carbon steel.
I use my wok on a portable induction unit. It works surprisingly well since it heats up faster than our crappy electric range.

12-26-2013, 01:06 AM
I know it is not ideal. I am excited to try some stuff out. Thanks for your imput.

It is not ideal but still very workable. Remember to crank the heat up and cook in small batches. That high searing heat is the difference between a great dish and an average one. I had a flat bottomed wok that I used on an electric stove for years but since I retired it my remaining woks are round bottomed so I use an 80,000 btu outdoor burner and when winter moves me indoors I have an Iwatani portable butane stove rated @ 15,000 btu. It might be an option if the electric doesn't do it for you. I got mine on sale from Amazon.

12-26-2013, 01:09 AM
Tripleq what do you do about the smoke/fumes. I know you are supposed to get the oil smoking hot. I don't think my fire alarms will enjoy that very much.

12-26-2013, 10:12 AM
If using a home range (E or G), or the side burner on your grill, start with quantities for 1. It's OK to let the food sit when first added to a smokin hot pan, same principal as using a skillet.
To really get into wokin' access to a turkey fryer burner or wok burner really helps - I think most residential stoves top off at 26k BTU, a turkey burner is 55K +, and I think my wok burner is over 120k. (similar to this: http://importfood.com/thaigasburner.html but I got mine at Action Sales in L.A. for half this price. If you are near any good Mexican / Latin food supermarket, they have something similar)

These hi output burners are so hot that you achieve the sear in seconds, and it seems like you are constantly moving the food. Residential burners give you enough heat to have the food start releasing moisture instead of a sear - sealing and you end up boiling your food.

That said, check your library or foodie friends for Grace Youngs' Breath of a Wok

12-26-2013, 08:08 PM
' Breath of a Wok

In cantoneses it is "wok-hey". It really translate as wok "air"

12-26-2013, 08:33 PM
Tripleq what do you do about the smoke/fumes. I know you are supposed to get the oil smoking hot. I don't think my fire alarms will enjoy that very much.

I have a pretty strong oven good that vents outside. I hate the noise of it though so weather allowing I just keep the windows open.

12-26-2013, 11:15 PM
Thanks everyone.