Traditional western pots and pans no longer complete the kitchen; you need a wok as well, preferably one of the best woks. Woks began to appear in western kitchens during the 1960s when the U.S. became painfully aware of the Far East. Soldiers who ate from kitchens where the wok was the primary cooking utensil brought back a yearning for the tasty food, the one thing they enjoyed about Vietnam. The demand for woks grew as it became a working symbol of the 1960s revolution. Today, the wok is coveted for its ability to generate the complex flavors found in stir-fry and oriental sautés.
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1. Lodge 14-Inch Cast Iron Wok
At 11.86 pounds, this cast iron wok lets you know that it is in your hand while you play with your food. The great thing about woks is that the entire surface is evenly heated so that those items tossed onto the sides of the vessel cook just as fast as those at the bottom. The Lodge wok is preseasoned at the factory and comes ready for action. The two grips on opposing sides give you the balance you need to fling your food just like any authentic wok you find in professional restaurants.
2. 14” Green Earth Wok by Ozeri
For those concerned about Earth and environment issues, this wok for Ozeri extends your statement about those concerns into the kitchen. The pan consists of an exterior made from heavy-gauge die-cast aluminum with a scratch-resistant 100% ceramic interior that resists sticking, even at high heat levels. The pan’s non-stick property allows you to use fewer oils while cooking, which translates to fewer fumes in your kitchen. The baked in Earth Green color makes your statement evident every time you cook.
3. Wok Pan with Premium Lid and Bonus Bamboo Spatula
When Willow & Elliot created this 13-inch stainless steel wok, they envisioned a shiny object with a purpose that added texture and glitz to a radiant kitchen tool. The pan heats evenly across the entirety of its surface for the best stir fry experience while the lid remains cool doing its job of keeping the food inside hot when the heat is removed. The bamboo spatula lends a touch of the orient so that we always remember the wok’s originations.
4. Calphalon Contemporary Flat-Bottom Wok
Calphalon designed this aluminum wok as a contemporary twist that introduces a western flair to the traditional oriental cooking device. Consisting of an aluminum exterior and a three-layer non-stick interior, the pan disperses heat evenly while resisting the stickiness associated with conventional pans on high heat. The brushed stainless-steel handle stays cool while the pan stays hot making handling the traditional flipping process, for which the wok is famous, an easy task. The pan is usable on the top as the stove or in the oven.
5. 16-inch Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok
Marketed by Craft Wok, this pan is a perfect example of the traditional steel wok used in the Orient. Consisting of 15-gauge carbon steel, this wok is pounded into shape by professional in Guangzhou using the ancient hammer method. Professionals prefer to use this item over other less traditional woks. It is delivered unseasoned so that you can use seasoning to your taste. Held at one end by a wood handle and the other by a steel helper handle, chefs easily avoid burning while tossing masses of food.
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6. The Ieoke Wok Pan
Ieoke looks toward the traditional wok found in Oriental homes for an example of the proper wok. Purchasing this pan gets you a bit of the old Chinese life. The thick round bottom is perfect for stir-fry cooking as the hand hammered sides consisting of carbon steel disperse heat evenly across the entirety of the pan’s surface. The pan comes with wooden stirring tools to help maintain the integrity of the pan.
7. Bruntmor Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Wok
Bruntmor created this wok with a diverse application in mind. The flat bottom to this 14-inch pan allows it to sit comfortably on any burner or inside any oven. The pan is manipulated by using two large loops attached at either end of the pan to toss foods or to balance before placing on a pad. Stir-fries, sautés, and soups find equal comfort in this pan as the temperature is evenly dispersed throughout the surface.
8. The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Wok
Cuisinart’s 12.5-inch wok features a durable exterior and an anodized non-stick interior that holds enough food for a family. The item comes with a tempered glass cover to keep food warm between helpings. The pan comes with a stainless-steel handle at one end and a stainless-steel helper handle at the other to reduce heat transfer to the hand. The wok features a drip-free rim that is tapered to accommodate clean and easy pouring of liquid materials as well as solids like noodles and vegetables.
9. The Breville Hot Wok
Here is a wok for those who enjoy the modern advantages that electric fry pans offer. Breville created this cross-over device as a juncture between the ancient cultures on the Orient and the modern cultures of the West. The 14-inch pan is large enough to feed any family and comes with a cover to retain heat for a longer period. The pan operates off a 120-volt connection and heats up to 425-degrees, more than enough to cook any meal.
10. The Cooklover Chinese Wok
Cooklover designed its Chinese wok to heat quickly, cook evenly, and have a great appearance. The pan’s exterior consists of thick die-cast aluminum that transfers heat evenly across the entire surface. The interior is a ceramic marble non-stick surface that cleans easily in the dishwasher. The pan comes with a glass cover that has a steam vent to allow easy viewing for those times you wish to simmer your food. Both the pan and the glass cover have wood handles to keep your hands cool.
Looking back, we can see where the wok found a foothold in western culture and how the introduction of the pan led to new ideas about cooking methodology. If this list is any indication, the adaptability of the wok is seeing several translations that enter the kitchens across the U.S. Selecting the best wok today depends on the needs, thoughts, and personalities that choose them; making the wok into a genuinely democratic cooking tool.
By BCR Staff
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