Induction woks – what are they?
Induction woks are cooking vessels that are created to work with induction cooking tops. These induction woks have to be created out of ferrous metals in order to create the magnetic field required for heat to be produced. The induction woks sit on top of the induction cooking top and start heating up ready for use.
Wok cooking tips
- Check to see whether your wok is seasoned or not. If it is not seasoned, you better get around seasoning it to create that beautiful protective layer.
- Always keep an eye on the food especially if the induction hob is set on high temperatures.
- Avoid using Teflon coated woks in food processes that require temperatures 500°F.
- Carbon steel woks should not be out in the dishwasher. The non-stick coating created after seasoning might not hold.
- Different materials take different times to heat up. Ensure that optimal temperatures are acquired before you start cooking.
- Avoid leaving your wok dirty or unattended with food inside for long periods of time. The moisture in the food may cause the wok to rust.
How much you pay for the induction wok will depend on the material used and the size of the item. Stainless steel induction woks may cost you more compared with a regular steel wok. Depending on your budget make sure to select an induction wok that will get the job done. The price can range from a less than $100 to more than $1000. The choice is yours really.
Features to consider while buying the best induction wok
Below are some factors that need consideration before selecting a reliable induction wok. The information presented will make it easier to select a wok that suits you from a barrage of products.
How to choose a material?
The materials used to create the induction wok are important as they react differently. These materials have their pitfalls but they also have their merits. Let us look at these varied materials:
Teflon coated woks are basically woks coated with non-stick materials. People find them easier to handle, as they are easy to clean and require no prior seasoning. The downside is that these kinds of woks are unable to withstand high temperatures. Unlike other woke materials that can withstand searing temperatures, it is recommended to avoid stir-frying/deep frying in Teflon coated woks. The residue left behind is unhealthy and alters the appearance of the food. You may try the ceramic Teflon coated woks but the Teflon coating will only last for a while.
Stainless steel woks, conduct heat very fast and if you are not keen you may end up scorching your food. Preferred for their non-reactiveness, these kinds of woks are perfect for making acidic foods. The stainless steel is lightweight and therefore easy to move around even when piled high with food. Depending on the brand, they can be a bit costly but nonetheless worth the trouble.
Cast iron woks, like Le Creuset, remind you of the traditional woks the Chinese have used for centuries on end. These are a bit heavier compared to the other materials, however, they are able to handle high temperatures very well. They have to be well seasoned before being used and they also require a bit of care so that they don’t succumb to rust. Remember, the heavier and larger a cast iron wok is, the more you will have to pay for it.
Carbon steel woks are the popular children of the group. They are lighter than the traditional cast iron woks and can be easily seasoned to create the perfect non-stick surface. Additionally, they heat up pretty fast. The only pitfalls with these kinds of woks are that they need some maintenance so as keep the non-stick coating created and they are not dishwasher safe.
Whenever you see a wok there are three possible handle styles that you will see. These handles may be convenient for some more than others, but then again it all boils down to preference.
Stick handles extend from the woks body giving you control especially when undertaking processes like stir-frying. These handles will have a plastic or wooden surface to keep the user’s hand from burning.
Loop handles are can be found in both restaurant and domestic size induction woks. The handles are convenient for lifting the wok off the cooking station.
A helper handle is that loop that you find opposite your stick handle wok. The loop acts as a secondary handle to provide more stability when moving the wok.
Lid the way
Unless you will be stir-frying full time, it is better to settle for a wok that has a lid. The lid is essential in some cooking processes like steaming and simmering. The lid also ensures that the heat produced is effectively used. By trapping the heat in between, the food is exposed to high temperatures allowing it to cook evenly.
How much food will you be making? Look at the diameter of the wok and its general capacity. If you are making a bit of food there is no reason to buy a massive 16-inch wok. You can settle for an 8-inch wok and still be satisfied. Alternatively, you can always get a larger wok and save all the delicious leftovers for another day. Either way, we see no losses here.
The weight of the wok will affect how fast it will heat up and how comfortable it is to lift when full of food. Cast iron woks are the heavyweights of the group and they take some time to heat up. However, once they heat up they are great at maintaining temperature. Carbon steel woks are lightweight and therefore heat up really fast. They make good cooking vessels for stir-fry but you have to keep an eye on the food. It only takes a few seconds to go wrong.
Bottom: flat or round?
When working with an induction-cooking top, the best way to go is the flat-bottom. The flat bottom allows more of the woks surface to be exposed to the heating element. Even if you have the old school electric range with heating coils, the best way to go is flat. Round bottom woks work well with gas stoves and may be found in large food production areas. Be careful of the flat-bottomed woks, as they will smoke up fast due to more exposure to the heating surface.
Coating – do you need it?
No one wants to cook food and end up losing half of it to the bottom of the wok. If you really need a non-stick coating, there are two things to remember.
The effectiveness of the non-stick layer will depend on the kind of wok that you are using and how the non-stick coating was applied. Carbon steel woks do not work well with non-stick coating, it needs maintenance. Meanwhile, a heavy-duty aluminum wok takes non-stick coating well. Try one made with Calphalon and experience a good non-stick coating.
Wok manufacturers have to ensure that the quality they put out there matches the high industry standards. Woks are durable products and therefore you may find manufacturers offering lifetime warranties. This goes to show you that you can depend on the quality of the wok. Just to make you sleep better at night, select a wok that offers a warranty. If anything goes wrong, you will be covered.