Woks are the hallmark equipment of Chinese and Asian cuisine in general and have already conquered the global market. To find out how to choose the best carbon steel wok for creating culinary masterpieces, keep reading this article!
Editor’s Choice: Quick Comparison
1. Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Flat Bottom Wok
The flat bottom makes it suitable for numerous stove surfaces, and the overall well-thought-out construction allows achieving timely and optimum heating.
This tool is equipped with bamboo handle which is resistant to heat and temperature changes. The kit includes four items: apart from the wok with a suitable sturdy lid, chef recipe booklet, instruction guide, bamboo spatula, and a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer (it is valid in case of any workmanship defects are found).
2. Pre-Seasoned Carbon Steel Pow Wok
The manufacturer does not include any coating to the product, so cleaning is easier. In addition, it is non-stick and does not emit any harmful gases or materials.
This carbon steel can withstand high temperatures and is comfortable in use.
3. Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok
This round-bottomed wok is not just a highly qualitative item but rather a great investment. For less than fifty dollars, you will achieve product which meets safety standards and is truly reliable.
Its wooden handle is pleasant to touch and does not get warm during cooking. Since this wok includes no plastic but healthy materials only, high temperatures will not promote any chemicals emission, as in case with poor-quality utensils.
Equipped with helper handle, the pan is easy to move and store. With 1.8 mm walls, this 15 gauge appliance can serve more than five people at once.
Since it is made of carbon steel, the wok under consideration is to be seasoned. To simplify the task, the manufacturer includes all necessary steps and recommendations in the kit.
4. Pre-Seasoned Chinese Carbon Steel Wok
This product by Coller distinguishes with its excellent properties. First of all, it can boast of its non-stick and non-rust capabilities. The utensil under consideration is 100% handcrafted and made in accordance to best traditional Chinese standards of safety and quality.
Another great thing about this wok is that it does not include any harmful substances and is completely safe. No chemical coating means that all your food will stay healthy and full of nutrients.
This wok is a perfect match for cooking vegetables, meat, and numerous fried and stewed meals. It is equipped with one wooden handle.
Unlike several alternatives, this carbon steel wok is pre-seasoned, so you can start your cooking session immediately when you achieve the purchase. However, the second seasoning will not cause damage.
5. Carbon Steel Wok with Wooden Handle by Sauteed
Convenient handles are designed to simplify your cooking experience. For instance, ergonomic grip is what you need to feel like a boss on your kitchen: it does not slip in hand and is soft and pleasant.
Strong but not too heavy — this carbon steel appliance is a perfect substitute to titanium or aluminum equipment.
The manufacturer also provides consumers with a detailed video instruction on how to pass the seasoning stage without a headache and damages.
6. Carbon Steel Wok by Souped Up Recipes
Suitable for various heat sources, such qualitative wok will be an excellent present to anyone from your surroundings, regardless of the person’s age or occupation. The hammered texture of the product is great. No coating is available on the surface, so the seasoning is a must. The manufacturer includes a detailed instruction of how to make this process a piece of cake for you. Video guide is also available.
Besides, the kit includes several accessories — a metal spatula and a wooden lid. With their help, every cooking session will be like a dream.
7. M’Steel Black Steel Wok
Designed in France by Mauviel, such product will be a great complement to your cookware collection. Equipped with two handles, this wok is convenient in maintain and operation.
Thanks to the materials used, this wok can withstand high temperatures. M’Steel is designed to last. It is suitable to work on different cooking surfaces.
8. Authentic Hand Hammered Wok
When it comes to cooking traditional Chinese meals, a wok is the first tool to think about. If you are interested in a healthy diet and lifestyle, this appliance will help you create tasty and useful dishes.
The wok by Mammafong is included to the list of top products as for its meeting quality and safety standards. It is a 100%-handmade — a reason to be proud of such purchase.
Moreover, incredible nonstick capabilities allow you to use less oil during food preparation. With two handles, cooking manipulations are simplified greatly.
9. Carbon Steel Wok with Helper Handle
Made in the USA, this flat-bottomed wok is a perfect choice for both a big family and a professional kitchen. The use of extremely profound materials increases the product’s durability greatly. Easy in operation, this appliance is a must-have for preparing Chinese cuisine dishes and much more.
Carbon steel wok copes great with rapid temperature drops. Please note it must be seasoned to last longer.
It is equipped with two wooden handles on the sides. While the long promotes great hand-touch, the second rectangular one is suitable for storing the utensil.
Such product by M.V. Trading is an awesome investment: Amazon offers great discounts, if you purchase this wok with 14.5 inch handle wok spatula, made of bamboo.
Since the depth of the product reaches 4”, this item can help you cook dishes for up to twelve people.
10. Carbon Steel Flat Bottom Wok
It is a flat-bottomed wok, so you can place it on grills directly. Unlike many other products, this particular utensil is equipped with two metal handles. They are short rectangle and can be heated during cooking slightly.
The product’s construction allows fast food preparation since the surface is warmed up thoroughly within a short period of time. This appliance measures 4” in depth, so it will be a great investment if you need to serve up to twelve people.
Advantages of Carbon Steel Wok
In comparison to other materials, carbon steel may not conquer each of them, when taking into consideration a particular parameter. However, it is the best one in terms of combination of the entire feature set. This material is durable, possesses great non-stick and heat-resistance skills and is relatively cheap and super affordable. What can be better?
Tips on How to Choose the Best Wok
Professional woks are divided into several types, including Asian, European (a thick-walled one), Chinese and others. They have a slightly different construction and specifications caused by the fact that each country has accustomed to particular cooking techniques. When using this item, the ingredients are constantly stirring and preparing quickly — that is perhaps the only similarity between all the types.
To simplify your research, we have checked different perspectives on the idea of the best carbon steel wok. Here there are some simple tips to help you select the best carbon steel wok to buy.
The most basic thing you are to pay attention to when choosing a wok is its wall thickness. The thinner the walls are, the higher the temperature of preparation is. Products with thin walls are not very heavy, so they are more so-called user-friendly. This measurement may vary from 1.2 to 2.0 mm. Please, bear in mind that woks with thin walls are more likely to become out of service faster. So, we recommend items with 2.0 mm walls.
Each metal has its own advantages and disadvantages. Its features precisely determine the wok pan quality:
- Carbon steel — Lightweightness is lower than in case with aluminum, but the products of carbon steel are still convenient in use. This metal is affordable, fairly strong and durable. The chances to burn your food in such wok are small. However, deformation and rust can become eventual problems with this kitchen appliance.
- Cast iron — Durable in heating, but resistant to rapid cooling, this metal also differentiates with its non-stick qualities. In comparison with other materials, this one can “boast” of high tendency to rust.
- Stainless steel — Such vessel is not supposed to rust and can withstand low and high temperatures.
- Titanium — This environmentally friendly non-stick coating does not emit any harmful effects and has incredible resistance to mechanical load. However, the price rate is definitely high.
- Teflon — It is the most popular type of coating which has high non-stick properties. Teflon is resistant to the aggressive effects of acids, alkalis and moderate temperatures. However, it requires careful handling. Otherwise, scratches will appear on the delicate coating. When the protective layer is damaged, the pan starts to emit harmful toxins.
- Granite — Reliable and durable layer has excellent thermal conductivity. Such kitchen appliances are relatively light and comfortable to use.
- Enamel — The long-term existence of this coating proved to be an excellent protection against metal oxidation. But instability to shock, mechanical stress and temperature changes make enameled woks unreliable.
- Ceramics — This coating provides a uniform distribution of heat on the pan surface. But a sharp temperature drop can cause cracking of the material.
- Aluminum — This material is very lightweight and warms up quickly. However, it is not 100% reliable in terms of security. Such woks are suitable for gas and electric stoves only.
Overall, the majority of woks are either round- or flat-bottomed. The first ones suit any stove with a burner or ring, but they are not really convenient for induction, for instance. A flat bottom makes the wok stable. Check your stove type and choose the wok with round bottom or its alternative.
The common wok is equipped with two side handles. They are usually non-removable. Besides, the Western woks are equipped with one long handle and a rounded holder on the other side. The long handle is often removable for easy storage.
Seasoning a Carbon Steel Wok
Before you start using your wok pan, it is necessary to prepare this appliance properly. If every step is performed right, the product’s durability will please you significantly:
- Step 1: The pan should be wiped with a dry paper towel to remove dust and excess industrial grease.
- Step 2: Put the wok on a large fire and bake it. You need to calcine the entire surface of the pan, so turn the sides of the container on the fire.
- Step 3. Pour some water into the wok to cover two or three parts of its surface. Add a little dishwashing liquid. Rub the inside of the wok without pressure with a washcloth and rinse under running water.
- Step 4. Having wiped your washed and calcined wok, put it back on fire and pour in 50 ml of vegetable oil. As soon as the appliance warms up, lubricate thoroughly the inner walls of the pan with a silicone brush. Warm up for another ten minutes and drain the oil.
- Step 5. Wipe the pan with a soft and dry cloth.
Such wok with frequent use will be covered with a black film quickly. The latter is a must to safe but not to scrape and remove. As in case with cast iron dishes, the black film will protect your wok from corrosion and improve its non-stick properties.
Another seasoning method is oven. In this case, you are to preheat your device up to 230°C or 450°F. When placing the wok there, coat it with oil (the entire inner and outer surface). After twenty minutes pass, take this appliance out of your oven and let it cool. Then you can wash the wok with a sponge (once again, the use of soap is prohibited) and dry it on the stove top (medium heat will be enough). Preferring this method, make sure you remove wok handles if they are made of plastic. Otherwise, it is better to go for another seasoning technology.
There is one thing to remember: it is literally prohibited to use sharp or hard materials to clean and scrub the wok’s surface. There are high risks they can damage the seasons and make your wok wasted.
The Rules of Use
Carbon steel woks are relatively delicate in maintaining and cleaning. You are not supposed to clean them in casual washing machines or scrub them with soap. After your food preparation is done, submerge the appliance in warm water. You can also pour some warm liquid and let it soak for five minutes.
Proper cleaning involves wiping after use with a paper towel to remove food debris and excess oil.
What are the benefits of woks?
There are several parameters that attract fans of cooking in woks:
- High speed heat treatment — Modern woks cope with fast cooking no worse than their traditional predecessors.
- Universality — Woks allow cooking not fried dishes only, but stewed and even boiled. If the pan is complemented by a wire rack, then it is possible to steam, too.
- High food quality — Since products are cooked extremely fast, they retain the maximum of nutrients.
- Ease of use — A wok pan possesses high walls, so that food can be actively mixed without any difficulties or fear to lose a single piece (let it fall on the stove). Since such appliance has sturdy and comfortable handles, transportation of products does not cause any issues.
What is carbon steel?
From ordinary steels, carbon steel is distinguished by a lower content of impurities and a small amount of silicon, magnesium and manganese. This material is characterized by increased strength and high hardness.
Is this material safe?
Carbon steel does not relate to toxic metals. It is suitable for kitchen loads and does not leach any harmful substances during food preparation.
Is it a versatile material for woks?
Carbon steel woks are suitable for several types of stoves, including electric, glass and ceramic heating equipment.
A wok pan is an incredibly versatile kitchen utensil suitable for daily use. It does not require super routine care. Food prepared on a wok differentiates with special aromas on smoke. Just one appliance is necessary to create multiple variable, both simple and complicated dishes.
The main thing is to choose the most suitable wok for your needs and kitchen specifications (type of stove, for instance). With our tips and recommendations, wok-shopping will become an interesting adventure. Check it out!