Selecting a wok

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Because there are many types of woks available for sale on the market, the novice wok cook should make some distinction among them.

Some woks are sold individually while others are sold as sets with lids, rings, etc. The materials that woks are made of are spun sheet steel, hand hammered iron (low carbon steel), and stainless steel.

There are also teflon coated electric woks. For the beginner, the author recommends that he purchase a wok set with lid, ring, wok turner, ladle, and strainer. A wok made of low carbon steel is preferred are this type of metal is a better conductor of heat. If one is concerned with appearance, a stainless steel wok is recommended. It can be scoured with steel wool and restored to newness after each use. Because stainless steel is a relatively poor conductor of heat and tends to reflect the heat back to the stove, it is recommended that a stainless wok be chosen with a slightly flattened bottom, to provide greater contact with the heating element of an electric stove.

Regardless of the type of wok that one selects, one should consider the concaveness of a wok. There are shallow concave woks and deep concave woks. The best wok shape is a medium concave wok. If a wok is too deep then the heat of it will be mostly concentrated in the bottom of it and not enough on the sides. If the wok is too shallow, again, only the center of it will be heated and sides hardly at all.

For the same reasons of heat conductivity, a thicker gauge wok is preferred to a thin metal wok.

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