Wok Your Own Path

Last April I decided to purchase an authentic Chinese wok.  Ironically, having worked in a Chinese restaurant growing up, I had never owned one.  For some reason, I felt an underlying intimidation factor that came with wok  ownership.  There was the question of, is it even worth it to own a wok even though a household gas range can nowhere match the heat output of a commercial Chinese kitchen wok range?  After all, it’s all about cooking food with the essence  of ‘wok hei,’ loosely translated as the breath of the wok.  Then there was the other issue of maintaining the wok, seasoning for first time use, and making sure it doesn’t rust.  Those things were more than enough to put me off.

One day after leaving a bubble tea shop, I walked past the Chinese restaurant kitchen supply store.  On a whim, I turned back and went in.  Inside the shop, there was barely any walking room as aisles of steel racks were filled to the brim with restaurant supplies, looking as if something could topple over at any time.  I made my way to the back aisle where the rack and floor was lined with woks of different sizes.  I purchased  a 14-inch stainless carbon-steel wok for about twelve dollars, which was much cheaper than I thought.  For that amount of money, if I messed it up, I wouldn’t feel bad about it.

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Brand new, begging to be seasoned.

The wok I bought is round bottomed, which means it does not sit well on the stovetop grates.  I ended up purchasing a wok attachment for the grates, which ended up costing more that the wok.

I’ve been using the wok multiple times per week, which is much more than I have anticipated.  I’ve been stir-frying a lot more and since I am able to apply a fair amount of high heat on the wok, and the results have been amazing.  My wife has complimented that my stir-fries remind her of the food that is cooked at her family’s Chinese restaurant.

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After nine months of regular use.
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Kimchi Fried Rice, a dish I cook regularly.
Great for stir-frying Asian vegetables like Shanghai bok choy.
Great for stir-frying Asian vegetables like Shanghai bok choy.

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One of my favorite snacks. A crispy over-easy egg with soy sauce over rice. The edges of the egg white get nice and crispy.
One of my favorite snacks. A crispy over-easy egg with soy sauce over rice. The edges of the egg white get nice and crispy.

One thought on “Wok Your Own Path

  1. I am a professional chef. But I don’t know about wok and how to cook or how to use a wok. But to read your article I get enough knowledge on wok. Really wok is a special cooking pan.

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