A wok is a great kitchen gadget for a wide variety of dishes. The special thing about cooking in a wok is that very high temperatures are used. That's why a wok should meet certain criteria: Creating delicious Asian wok dishes with a light smoky flavour. You want to buy a wok, but don't know exactly what to look for when buying a wok? We created a wok buying guide to show you all the important facts and which wok is the best one to buy.
What is a wok?
Cooking with a wok is particularly widespread in the Asian region. Compared to a traditional frying pan, a wok has a spherical shape in which the heat is highest in the centre. Traditional wok pans do not have a flat spot on the bottom that can be placed on a cooker or a straight surface. However, there are now many woks that have a flattened bottom. The special thing about cooking in a wok is that it is prepared at very hot temperatures. The individual ingredients are fried one after the other and comparatively briefly, depending on when they are cooked. Stir-frying is a popular technique when cooking in a wok. The ingredients are stirred continuously, and the pan is always kept in motion by regular swirling. This prevents the ingredients from burning due to the high temperatures in the wok. Typical wok dishes are all kinds of curries and stir-fry dishes. In addition to frying, you can also deep-fry, steam and stew. A wok pan is an absolute all-rounder and a must-have for every kitchen - whether for beginners or professionals.
In the meantime, there are many woks that can be used in household kitchens in addition to professional pans. If you want to buy a wok pan for everyday use, make sure that the wok is flattened at the bottom. These are the type of woks you can use on a conventional cooker. The hottest spot here is also at the centre of the pan, so the typical preparation also works very well with a flattened wok.
Material & weight
Another point in our wok buying guide is the material and the weight of the wok. Traditional wok pans are made of cast iron. However, this material is very heavy and requires a lot of care. When buying a wok, make sure that the material is not too heavy but still heat-resistant. Otherwise it is very difficult to handle, especially for beginners. A good example of a lighter material is stainless steel. It is also robust, distributes the heat ideally in the pan and stores it additionally.
With a cast-iron pan, the wok seasoned using a special technique before use to form a natural protective layer, the patina. However, you can save yourself this hassle by making sure that your wok has a non-stick coating when you buy it. This coating is very important, especially for beginners. It ensures that the ingredients in the pan do not burn. You also need less oil when cooking. In addition, most woks with a non-stick coating are less prone to unsightly scratches.
What else is there to look for when buying a wok? Traditional woks are typically used on an open fire, which is why many of the Asian pans are designed for this purpose. When buying a wok, make sure that it is suitable for your cooker. It's best to choose a wok that you can use on a gas cooker, an electric cooker and an induction cooker.
Your favourite ingredients should all fit into the wok at the same time and without any problems. The larger the wok, the heavier and more unwieldy it will be. If it is too small, you can only cook small amounts in it. We recommend a diameter of about 32 cm. This provides plenty of space, but does not make the wok bulky, heavy or unwieldy.
In contrast to frying in a pan, one of the most important features of cooking in a wok is that it is prepared at a very high temperature. Vegetables, meat and tofu are tossed in the pan at around 200 °C. For this reason, it is important that the wok is heat-resistant and does not deform at the high temperatures.
Extra advantage: dishwasher safe
What else is important when buying a wok? Many pans are less suitable for cleaning in a dishwasher. However, there are now some models that can be put in the dishwasher without causing any damage. If you want to avoid annoying washing by hand, make sure that the wok is dishwasher-safe.