Cooking in a wok is incredibly popular and there are good reasons for this. The food tastes incredibly delicious and does not lose any important nutrients and vitamins due to the short cooking times. But how do you cook properly with a wok and what should you be aware of? We'll give you a few helpful tips!
Cooking techniques for the wok
Classic wok cooking describes the preparation of food at very high temperatures. The ingredients are cooked particularly gently at extremely high heat and retain their vitamins and nutrients due to the short cooking time.
1. Cooking and frying in a wok: Stir-fry!
One cooking technique that is well known for cooking with the wok is stir-frying. In a heavily preheated wok, small portions are stir-fried with constant stirring and swirling. This is to achieve a certain aroma, which is called wok hei. This wok aroma is characterised by a smokiness, which is created at high temperatures.
There are two stir-frying techniques called bao and chao.
- In the bao pan-stirring technique, the previously cut ingredients such as vegetables or meat are not added to the wok until it has been strongly preheated. To ensure that nothing burns, the wok is regularly turned. The entire frying process usually takes no longer than a few minutes.
- The chao technique can be compared to braising in Western cuisine. The ingredients are fried over medium heat and then the wok is covered with a lid. The ingredients are braised in this way with the water escaping.
2. Braising in the wok
If you want to braise in a wok, we recommend using firm ingredients such as potatoes or carrots. To do this, first stir-fry the desired ingredients with a little oil and deglaze with liquid. They are then cooked with low heat. The cooking time is longer than with stir-frying.
3. Steaming with the wok
Steaming is the gentlest way to prepare ingredients. Vitamins, colours and important nutrients are preserved as much as possible. To do this, fill your wok with a little water and place a sieve attachment inside. Important: The water should remain under the sieve. Place your ingredients in the sieve insert, close the lid of the wok and bring the water to the boil. The hot steam gently steams your ingredients.
4. Deep-frying in the wok
In this cooking technique, a bigger amount of oil is heated in the wok so that the ingredients can be deep-fried in the oil until they are golden brown. The high heat gives the ingredients a crispy crust on the outside, while everything remains juicy on the inside. When the golden yellow colour is reached, let the excess fat drip off the ingredients. For example, how about this: fried bananas with rice syrup poured over them? Incredibly delicious! We have written down detailed instructions for deep frying in a wok.
Good ingredients to cook in a wok
To be able to cook in a wok, a heat-resistant oil is particularly important. Peanut oil and coconut oil are very popular oils to cook in a wok. Another essential ingredients for wok dishes are vegetables. Broccoli, bamboo shoots, spring onions, carrots, courgettes and sugar snap peas are some of the many vegetables that are particularly suitable for cooking in a wok. Theoretically, however, you can use any vegetable that tastes particularly good to you. In addition to vegetables, meat, fish or tofu can also play a leading role in the dish.
The right order of ingredients
However, before you put your favourites in the wok, you should make sure that some of them, such as the vegetables, are washed and dried first. Because of the short cooking times, we recommend cutting all the ingredients before starting to cook. Depending on the cooking time, add them to the wok one by one.
Tip: Divide your ingredients into soft, medium and hard! To ensure that all the ingredients are cooked at the same time, put the hard ingredients, such as broccoli or cauliflower, into the wok first. When they are almost cooked, add the medium-hard ingredients and only at the very end the soft ingredients. The medium-hard ingredients might include peppers or beans, while the soft ingredients might include broccoli leaves or tomatoes.
Cooking rice in the wok
Practically all dishes can be prepared in a wok. So if you don't want to limit yourself to vegetables and instead want to expand your wok horizons, we naturally recommend cooking with rice in the wok. A well-known rice dish that can be prepared particularly well in the wok is nasi goreng.
However, many other rice dishes can be transformed in the wok at will. Regardless of which rice dish you choose, prepare the rice in advance according to the package instructions in the saucepan or, in the best case, in our digital rice cooker. After the rice is cooked, add it to the wok for frying. For frying, we recommend using rice from the previous day or letting it rest for at least 2 hours. This gives the rice grains a particularly crispy and crunchy flavour. So fried rice not only tastes incredibly delicious but is also an excellent leftover remover. Win-win situation, isn't it?
Quick tips for the perfect wok experience
- Cooking in a wok is very quick because of the high heat. Therefore, you should have all the ingredients ready to hand and already cut.
- When the wok is hot, add heat-resistant oil and then add the ingredients one by one. The ingredients with the longest cooking time go into the wok first.
- Don't overcook so that your fresh ingredients remain crunchy, firm to the bite and rich in colour. This also preserves the important vitamins.
- Generally, you should only add spices, sauces and herbs at the end.
- Cooking in a wok is particularly good for using leftovers. Instead of throwing away your ingredients, use them to create a delicious wok dish of your choice.
- After cooking is before cooking: Make sure you clean the wok properly.