I tend to use a wok for a lot of my cooking as I find that food cooks evenly and quickly in a wok. I tend to use a wok for most of my online cookery lessons too as people can see the ingredients much better when they are spread in a wok. My favourite is making a mixed vegetable curry where all the vegetables are stuffed with spices and left to cook slowly with the lid on. I have several different woks and have listed below some more uses for using a wok.
5 Unique Uses for a Wok
Most households have a wok somewhere in the back of their kitchen cupboards that they bring out for stir-fries or other attempts at Asian cuisine. However, if you’re only using your wok for this type of cooking, you’re really missing out!
Woks are an incredibly versatile piece of cookware that no home should be without. With a large surface area for heating, sloped sides to minimize mess, and the convenience of making perfect one-pot dinners, there’s so much to love about your wok.
So, rather than only reaching for the wok when making stir-fried rice, why not take it to the next level? With a wok, you can make anything from a simple curry to the perfect scrambled paneer. Trust us, once you’ve mastered a few tricks, nothing is impossible!
What makes a Wok unique?
Woks are a round-bottomed cooking pot that first originated in China and are now popular worldwide. They’re most commonly used for Chinese cooking techniques, covering anything from stir-frying to poaching, braising to stewing, and anything in between.
The wok is set apart from other pieces of cookware by its unique shape. Traditional woks feature a round bottom, although it is possible to find flat-bottomed woks in Western countries to allow the usage of wok on electric stove. The materials the wok is made from allow the sides of the pot to heat up, offering food a wide heated surface to cook from, and it’s easy to toss foods inside the wok without sticking.
The best woks are usually made from carbon steel or cast-iron to produce a quality cooking vessel that will last. They’re also surprisingly lightweight for a large cookpot and maintain heat fantastically.
It’s worth investing in a quality wok, as this will give you unlimited versatility in your cooking and can last decades… Giving you plenty of time to perfect a vast range of wok cooking techniques.
The most famous use for a wok is, naturally, to create delicious and flavourful stir-fries. The sloped sides of the pot allow for easy tossing and flipping of your food, and the heat distribution ensures food can get the unique charred flavor of a stir-fry without overcooking. I like to use it for stir frying sambharo.
A less common but still traditional use of the wok is to use it for steaming food. This could be to create anything from delicious dumplings to steamed broccoli or other vegetables. If you steam regularly, you might want to invest in a quality bamboo steamer, but you can also achieve incredible results by placing a can or other aluminum container into the wok to balance your steaming ingredients above. I like to use the wok for steaming dhoklas and idlis.
In Western cuisine, we tend to think of ‘braising’ as a low-heat, moist cooking method designed to break-down the tough connective tissues in some foods before cooking. ‘Wok braising,’ however, is a little different. This method creates more of a simmered dish with a deliciously saucy consistency with less hassle and less mess. The sloped sides of the wok make it much easier to stir the braising food without needing a utensil, and it’s far easier to pour out the end results straight into a serving vessel.
Your wok might not be the first utensil you think of when it comes to deep-frying food, and the sloped sides do mean that you’ll need to use more oil than you would in a standard pot. However, the sloped sides also make it much easier to hold tools to manipulate your frying foods and decrease the risk of hot oils boiling over while frying. I love using my wok for frying samosas and kachoris.
No, you don’t need a dedicated smoke room in your house to create incredible smoky dishes! To use your wok for smoking, you will need a lot of aluminum foil, but otherwise, this dish is appropriate for steaming anything from tofu for a delicious vegan cheesesteak! To use your wok for smoking, all you’ll need to do is line the wok with foil to prevent burning foods from ruining the wok’s seasoning. Top your foil-covered wok with whatever you want to smoke and turn on the flame. Once the smoking has begun, cover the whole thing (wok and food included) with more foil and allow it to sit for approximately 30 minutes without touching it. Easy homemade smoked foods await!
The wok is probably the most versatile and used utensil in my kitchen. It’s so easy to use and clean too. Do share your uses for the wok in your kitchen.
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