Woks were designed for stir-frying to shorten cooking time and save fuel. They are a round-bottomed all-purpose cooking utensil, perfect for deep-frying, steaming and stewing food.
How to Buy
The wok easiest to use is 14 to 16 inches in diameter. Woks are made from rolled carbon steel, aluminum or stainless steel. There are also electric woks and woks with nonstick finishes. The carbon steel woks are the traditional Chinese versions. They were developed to heat quickly and evenly and require special care. Aluminum and stainless steel woks require no seasoning, but they do not heat as evenly as carbon steel. Beacause they do not rust, they are a good choice for steaming foods. Electric woks are also convenient. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions for their care and use.
To "season" a carbon steel wok, wash it with hot, soapy water and dry it on your stove over medium heat. Rub about 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil evenly over the inside of the wok, using a soft cloth. Repeat the process if food sticks during stir-frying.