For a delicious Stir-Fry, one thing must not be missing: the right wok oil. Some cooking oils are better than others for frying vegetables, fish, meat or tofu in the round pan. We tell you which oils are the best for use in a wok.
This is why you need special wok oil
Why is special oil needed when cooking in a wok? It's quite simple: cooking in a wok is characterised by working at high temperatures. For this reason, a heat-resistant cooking oil that can withstand temperatures of around 200 °C is used for preparation in the wok. These highly heatable oils have a high smoke point. This means that they only start to smoke at very high heat. With some cooking oils, this occurs before the right temperature has been reached for ideal preparation in the wok. The formation of smoke is a sign that the oil has become too hot. From this point on, it should not be used for cooking. When the smoke point is reached, so-called "volatile components" such as omega-3 fatty acids oxidise and then become visible as smoke. Exceeding the smoke point causes the oil to lose flavour and nutrients. In addition, the harmful substance acrolein can be formed. For these reasons, it is very important to use the right oil with a high smoke point when cooking in a wok.
What properties should wok oils have?
The most important property for a wok oil is its high smoke point. The smoke point depends on the proportion of saturated fatty acids in the oil. The higher this proportion, the higher the smoke point. This oil is therefore more suitable for cooking at high temperatures. Refined oils also have a high smoke point. Refined oils are made heat-resistant by hot pressing and the addition of chemical solvents. This procedure is often used in industrial production and is rather disadvantageous for the quality of the oil: it has fewer nutrients and is less intense in flavour.
Which oil is best for cooking in a wok?
In short: coconut oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil and also peanut oil are excellent for frying and cooking in the wok. In some cases, there are also special wok oils that are a combination of the mentioned high-heat oils. In the following, we present our most popular and best oils for the wok:
Peanut oil is ideal for all those who like an intense aroma and want to give their wok dishes a nutty flavour. With a heat resistance of up to 230 °C, peanut oil has a high smoke point and is therefore very suitable for preparation in the wok. The cooking oil is obtained from the dried seeds of the peanut. For some peanut oils, the peanuts are roasted before pressing and then gently processed. This gives the golden-yellow wok oil a particularly nutty-sweet aroma and makes it the perfect companion for a wide variety of wok dishes and even for deep-frying in the wok. Fried rice and spicy chicken in particular cut a fine figure in peanut oil. Our secret tip: If you are preparing a peanut curry, toss your stir-fry vegetables in peanut oil beforehand.
For those who want to use a milder oil for stir-frying, coconut oil is a very good option. In Asian cuisine, coconut oil is often used for stir-frying crunchy vegetables and crispy tofu. On the one hand, this is because the smoke point of coconut oil is around 200 °C - perfect for hot preparation in a wok. Secondly, coconut oil is very mild and gives off a delicate flavour. As a result, the fried foods develop their very own aroma without being masked by an overly strong coconut flavour. Due to its fine aroma, the coconut oil is suitable for almost every wok dish. Whether for a Thai curry, Indonesian nasi goreng, Chinese fried noodles or other Sti-Fry dishes.
Oils for garnishing wok dishes
When it comes to sesame oil, it depends very much on what kind of oil it is. Refined sesame oil has a high smoke point and is therefore suitable for preparing stir-fry & co in the wok. We do not recommend using organic sesame oil for frying by high temperatures in the wok, but for refining cooked wok dishes. This gives the dishes the typical nutty sesame flavour afterwards. It is perfect as a topping for fried rice with carrots, spring onions and Chinese cabbage or for crispy fried tofu with vegetables.
Virgin olive oil is particularly suitable for gentle cooking methods and for refining dishes. It can be used for steaming, frying and baking as long as it does not get hotter than 180 °C. The full-bodies aroma makes it particularly suitable as a topping for wok vegetables or fried noodles.