A Woking we go ….

A Woking we go ….

I collect three things in my life and one of them is woks. I just love a good wok and I like to try them out. I do read reviews but unless I have tried them out for myself I would not recommend nor ditch any.

Recently I have been asked by some ladies and one man, shocking not, which wok I was using when they saw a particular one in my posts. Short of explaining to them again and again I have decided (more like been persuaded) to do a post on the woks I currently have at home. As Murphy’s Law would have it, during the time I was taking pics and uploading them another lady messaged and asked me to recommend a wok for her everyday usage. So I aim to finish this write up by today.

I have raided my archive and found out when I have bought some of my woks and yes, though I may seem to have a lot but I have given woks as gifts to friends and families. Only the woks in the cardboard box pics are with me still. I am blessed with good friends whom I can gift to and are willing to take my second hand woks if I needed space for new ones. No complains.

Today in between seasoning my newest acquisition I took photos of all my woks. Now to sort them out in order of what? price? usefulness? knocks taking? Hmmmm…… Okay. I finally decided to arrange them in order of how much I love using them. I have decided not to put in prices. I mean, if one is interested then they can search for the best price on the internet. As for me, most of the things I bought are via Amazon then and even more so nowadays.

1. The new kid on the block – Seasoned and used this one today and I love it. It felt like I am back in my very much yesteryears and old memories came flooding back alive. The smell of ‘tong san’ iron and smoke. Nostalgic. This is just like one of those very heavy tong san wok. Today I seasoned it and fried mamak mee goreng with it. The noodles did not stick to the wok at all and in fact all the loose bit of potatoes stuck to the strands of noodles nicely just as this dish should. There were no sticking to the wok that could not be easily scrapped off with my spatula. Now I am excited to try and fry beehoon (rice vermicelli) with it hoping for the bottom lightly burnt BEST bits. It can take very high heat so the wok ‘hei’ aka “breath of the wok” would be GREAT.

Like all woks and all things in life you have to care for them and this is of no exceptions. This one needs just to be dried after washing and in the beginning I will oil it lightly and wipe with kitchen roll until it goes smooth smooth (The Chinese in me could not resist 😀 ). I bought this wok for the high heat it can take and because I find the stamped wooden cover so sexy 😀 /wonder if it’s a case of new broom sweeps clean but I doubt it from my woking experiences.

2. De Buyer – Now, I also have a fondness for the de buyer pans but you do REALLY have to care for them. After using you will have to wash, heat and then oil them back ready for the next usage. Failing to do so will equates to rust!!!! You can use steel wool to clean it and it will still be good. The trick to using this is to make sure you heat it well before you add oil and make sure your oil is hot before you start cooking. Then if you fry an egg it will slide off the pan. Yes it is that smooth. Most chefs in restaurants (I watched on television) uses them as they heat up FAST and can take a bit of abuse but you just have to care for them after.

However it cannot take too high heat or they will burn easily and the wok will be brown even before you put food in to cook. Moderate heat is fine but not extreme high heat. That is why I got the new wok.

I have been using this de buyer for everyday cooking. You can also cook sweet sour with tomato sauce, make an asam sambal sauce or red wine jus. The acid in these sauces will make your pan shinny and new again! Wash with minimum detergent. If you are using it just for clean cooking, like frying an egg, or omelette you don’t even have to wash your wok. Just cover it, reheat and use again. It also wipes clean well.

3. Circulon – Infinite Hard Anodised – I have this wok for more than a decade. As this is a non stick wok it has to be taken care of aka use carefully with love. Use only wooden, bamboo or silicon spatula as you do not want to scratch it. This is the biggest problem with non stick wok. Stays nice and dandy in the beginning ……

I have been moving away from woks like these because I don’t dare to use them after scratches appeared and sometimes even bamboo spatula can mark it. It is because of the wide brim I like to reserve the use of this wok to make paste like pineapples, red beans, yam etc ….

4. The Master Class Professional series – These babies are not too expensive and are really versatile to use. This means I do not mind my children using them as my heart would not feel as if I am having a heart attack! They can use metal spoons, forks and generally abuse them and I do not mind as much for they are not too expensive. The best thing for the children is that they are non stick and CARBON STEEL!

This means easy washing, can be abused and don’t mind being soaked overnight but I have yet to need to do so even after abusing and using them for a lot of years. I like to use them for the really sticky sweet sour stuff like ribs and coco-cola marinated ribs that my son is so partial to. I highly recommend this series for those who are undecisive on which woks to buy. Try starting with these as they are inexpensive and good.

I would recommend the one with the extra handle as it easier to carry a bigger and heavier load. I often use the 24cm for making sauces and it’s just simple to use, easier to wash and store.

5. The Le Cruset wok – This is the oldest wok amongst the collection in my house. It must be at least 20 years old. I loved it until it begins to have scratches. Now you can see I love my woks and I do take very good care of them. For the life of me I do not know how them scratches appeared as if by magic. As it is a non stick wok I do not want or dare to use it after but I kept it oiled and in the shed for that one day, I repeat, that one day, when I want to make salted chicken or beggar’s chicken. It is for this reason that I have moved away from heavily non stick coated woks.

6. The Lodge that’s almost a wok – This Lodge pan is so big and powerful with it’s high sides that it is literally a wok, a heavy cast iron wok except for the fact that the sides makes it a bit hard to use a spatula. it’s also much harder for me to carry.

It is mostly used for searing steaks but I have been known to use it to do a mix vegetables stir fry when I am having a few guests over. This is because it keeps the food warm much longer without me having to reheat it later. Nothing much taste as foul as reheated vegetables in my book.

7. The Outdoor Pan – This is one of them Chinese restaurant ‘tai chow’ wok that I bought to use outside in my garden kitchen set up when I want to fry kaki-ayam (chicken feet) or a whole crispy pipa chicken or even an entire oink oink trotter hahahahahaha

This one you can truly abuse but boy you have to wash, clean and then oil it after. Most importantly you need a gas hob to be able to use it.

8. The Sainsbury’s wok – A few years back I discovered this wok in Sainsbury and fell in love with it. Once when it was 50% off (on offer) I have friends helping me ‘sapu’ bought all of them from London to as far north as Northampton! I kept them for gifts and used them for daily cooking. Cheap and cheerful lasting nearly 1 to 1.5 years each wok. My children uses them to fry luncheon meat (SPAM), sausages etc and I do not have to shout at them to be careful of oil spits as the depth is so good. Then I will throw away when the non stick wears off and starts another one. A few have also travelled to Malaysia! I now have only one left and have been using it as a steamer bottom hence the sad situation it is now in. (Pic) I live in a hard water area and there is nothing much that could be done about it. As the wok only cost me £15 then it was much cheaper than buying a steamer 33cm size! The wok came with a tempered glass lid too.

To be continued …………………………..

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