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The wok is a cooking vessel that originated in Asia. Because of its hemispherical shape, there is no flat bottom, unlike other frying pans. The traditional heat source is an open coal cooker. In gastronomy in western countries, the wok is usually heated on a gas burner. Thanks to its rounded shape, only a little fuel is needed to reach high temperatures: The heat is concentrated, especially in the middle of the wok. In this way, the food can be cooked in different temperature ranges.

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The wok: what makes it special


The diameter of a wok can range from 30 centimetres to one metre. The semicircular pan is typically equipped with two opposing handles, one of which can also be made from wood. Woks are traditionally made of cast iron, but there are also some made of sheet steel, stainless steel, or aluminium. A non-stick coating usually cannot withstand the high temperatures of a wok burner. For this reason, cast iron woks are baked before they are used for the first time, i.e., they are heated to high temperatures and then rubbed with oil. This creates a protective layer of oil that gives the cast iron wok a non-stick effect. Cooking with a wok is considered to be particularly easy, fast, tasty and healthy – and is therefore not only popular in Far Eastern cuisine.

Versatile cooking with the wok

Although the wok is best known for Chinese and Thai cuisine, there is also a similar cooking vessel in India. There, it is mainly used to prepare curries. Caribbean cuisine also uses a pan in the shape of a hemisphere. In the meantime, however, the wok has also become popular outside Asian cuisine. No wonder – because the wok is a versatile cooking tool and enables different cooking methods: 

  • Frying:

Food is cooked in oil over high heat for browning on the surface and the typical flavour.

  • Steaming:

Steaming gently cooks ingredients in liquid for a more tender and moist texture. Deep frying: To enjoy food crispy and golden brown, a large amount of oil can be heated in a wok to immerse it in.

  • Braising

Ingredients are cooked slowly and gently in liquid over low heat in the wok for a tender texture and intense flavours.

  • Boiling

Water or a broth is heated in the wok and the ingredients are fully cooked in it.

  • Blanching

Food is placed in boiling water and then immediately rinsed in ice water.

  • Smoking

Wood chips in a wok can be used to smoke food.

  • Roasting

This is where the food is fried over medium heat in a dry wok.

  • Steaming

Using a steamer insert, for example made of bamboo, food can be steamed in the wok.

  • Sautéing

Stir-frying is the most common way of cooking with the wok. All the ingredients are added to the wok one after the other, stirring quickly, and fried under high heat, mixing them together.



Wok or wok pan?

For electric, induction, and gas cookers in western households, there are wok pans with a flattened bottom. The flat bottom of the wok pan is similar to that of a frying pan, but with a much smaller diameter. However, different cooking zones are not created in it. On this frying surface, the wok pan becomes hottest and fries, steams, and cooks with maximum heat. Ordinary electric hotplates and gas cookers do not develop the power of special wok cookers. When using a wok burner, the heat is also distributed to the outer wall of the wok with the upward flowing hot air, whereas an electric cooker only heats the bottom.


Cooking equipment for the wok

Anyone who likes to cook often or even professionally with a wok does not want to do without practical wok equipment. The basic items include:

  • Wok scraping tools

Special wok scraping tools such as metal spatulas or wok ladles are useful for moving and turning the ingredients in the wok. To withstand the high heat, they are often made of metal.

  • Wok lid

A suitable lid for the wok can be useful for trapping heat and making it easier to cook certain dishes. A lid also allows food to be kept warm or steamed.

  • Wok burner

A special high-power wok burner is often necessary to generate the high heat required. These burners are powerful and allow the wok to heat up quickly and maintain a constant heat.

  • Wok ring

Eine A wok ring is located on a gas cooker or stool cooker to stabilise and securely position the wok on the cooking surface. It also helps transferring heat evenly to the wok.

 

Wok station, wok range, stool cooker or cooking island?


Are you looking for a suitable wok cooking station? To choose the right wok burner for your purposes, it is best to consider the following aspects when making your selection:

  • Gas burner

A gas burner is ideal for the wok as it provides high heat and is easy to control. Professional induction hobs are equipped with a wok cuvette, into which the curve of an induction wok fits perfectly.

 

  • Wok ring

Professional wok burners are already equipped with a wok ring. The diameter should be matched to your wok.

 

  • Power

The more powerful the burner or induction hob, the more heat is delivered, and faster and more even frying is possible.

 

  • Dimensions and capacities

Whether you choose a stool cooker, a wok hob or an entire wok cooking island depends on both your use and the space you have available.

Do you have any questions? Contact your expert for wok cooking stations, HEIDEBRENNER. We will be happy to advise you.


    FAQ

    What is the difference between a wok burner and other cookers?

    A wok burner is a gas hob that usually has a wok ring. Unlike conventional hobs or gas hobs, this holds the hemispherical pan securely in place.

    How big should a wok cooking zone be for a restaurant?
    There are different cooking station options for wok burners: 

    Wok station
    Induction wok stations are available, for example, with 1, 2 or 4 induction wok cooking zones with either 8, 16 or 24 kW power. In addition, warming containers with an output of 2 kW can be integrated.

    Wok range
    Wok ranges are wok gas cookers placed side by side on a work surface.

    Stool cooker
    stool cooker has only one gas burner and can be placed where it is needed.
     
    Cooking Island
    A wok cooking islandhas either 4, 6, 8 or 10 gas burners arranged in a rectangular pattern.
    How often should a wok burner be checked?
    High-quality manufacturers and suppliers of wok burners offer maintenance support from the time the cooking zones are put into operation an.


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