How to choose a wok for stir frying — Material
Welcome to asiangarden2table. A wok is a versatile cooking vessel, originating from China. Every household in China must have at least a wok for cooking and more than 80% of the food is cooked in a wok. A good wok can be a family heirloom passed on from generation to generation. If you are serious about adding healthy Asian cooking in your daily diet, start from choosing the right and good wok. A wok can be made of several materials: copper, Aluminum, steel. Copper has superior heat conductivity but copper cookware is expensive, difficult to maintain, and easy to be worn out. Also Copper may interact with foods and release toxic Copper products. Aluminum also has excellent heat conductivity, and at the same time, lightweight, very affordable. But it has similar problem with copper: Aluminum products from interacting with food could cause health problem. Anodized aluminum is safer and harder at the same time still has great heat conductivity and light weight which make it a good material for cookware. But once the oxidized Aluminum film is damaged, the risk from the exposed Aluminum under the film is still a concern to your health. Aluminum cookware can also be coated with a non-stick plastic film. The biggest advantage for this kind of cookware is non-stickiness. But it is not a good option for a wok. Cooking in a wok usually requires high temperature and intense stirring. The non-stick film is easily peeled off. Both the film fragments and exposed Aluminum body can cause health concern. The most popular material for a wok is steel: stainless steel, carbon steel and Cast iron. So it goes no wrong if you choose any of these three. Stainless steel cookware is non-interactive with food, heavy, durable, dishwasher-safe and inexpensive most of the time. But compared to other materials we talk about here, stainless steel has poorer heat conductivity. An expensive stainless steel wok with a copper/aluminum inner core improves the heat conductivity. So it is good option for you to consider. Carbon steel wok is inexpensive, light weight and has great heat conductivity. With good care and well seasoning, carbon steel wok can generate a natural non-stick film which makes stir-frying easier. It can be used at high temperature with intense stirring. It is also believed that iron released from cooking with carbon steel cookware is a great source for iron supplement in your body. The down side for carbon steel wok is it requires good maintenance and no-acid food in cooking or it will easily get rusty. Because carbon steel wok is usually light and thin, when used on an electric or induction cooktop, it is easy to deform and difficult to control the heat applied to your food. Cast iron shares a lot of features with carbon steel except it is heavier and has bigger pores in its micro structure. Compared to carbon steel wok, a cast iron wok is easier to generate a non-stick result and performs better on an electric or induction cooktop. A good piece of cast iron wok can last very long time. The more and longer you use it, the better it works. A well cared cast iron wok can be a valuable treasure to you and your family. And that is my number one recommendation to you. To be continued, I will share with you more about choosing a cast iron wok Thank you for watching. I will see you next time.