5 Woks For Better Stir-Frys
By Jolyn Chua
May 15, 2020

5 Woks For Better Stir-Frys

These one-wok wonders are a wicked way to cook, especially if you’re making Asian food

Picking the right wok is no easy task, especially in a marketplace where woks of all varying sizes, shape, material and design exist. Traditionally made woks are actually hammered by hand and they allow food to be pushed and kept at the side easily. This is because the hand hammering creates uneven indents that prevent the ingredients from slipping back down. Stamped woks are made from a single sheet of rolled steel and are widely considered to be of inferior quality. Besides the traditional woks, many cooks also recommend the modern spun woks, which are made from carbon steel. It can conduct heat that’s high enough for frying, or creating that coveted “wok-hey” taste.

Overloaded by the amount of information? Fret not because we’ve wok-ed out a recommended list just for you:

1. Mammafong 14 Inch Carbon Steel Wok

Don’t freak out about this wok’s price tag just yet. This handcrafted Mammafong 14 Inch Carbon Steel Wok that was handmade in Guangdong is built to last in busy professional kitchens. Carbon steel is a favoured material for wok-frying your favourite Asian dishes due to its high conductivity. Unlike stainless steel, it heats up quickly and cools quickly, which are very important factors for achieving the beautiful “wok-hey” flavours of Indonesian Nasi Goreng or Green Bean and Prawn Omelette. That’s why you want a wok in the first place, right? We also prefer the northern style handles of this wok, which means you can hold it slightly more at arm’s length (take a look at the arms of wok-totting hawkers – they are often scarred with oil burns). A long handle also means easier tossing (please try this with care) of your ingredients with flair. The flat-bottomed feature allows for this wok to be used on gas, electric and induction stoves, a huge plus point for modern households. Take good care of it (avoid scrubbing and oil it after use) and it will last you for decades.  

2. Joyce Chen Asian Kitchen 14 Inch Wok Set

A more affordable price option, this Joyce Chen Asian Kitchen 14 Inch Wok Set comes with a wooden spatula and a matching non-stick lid that keeps your Nasi Goreng Kambing warm for later. As with most carbon steel woks, this wok requires seasoning before use. Why? Seasoning the wok before use will allow it to age well and for patina to form. Patina is a thin, natural, non-stick green layer that prevents the wok from rusting.  As another northern-style wok, the long birch-wood handles let you fry your Kung Pao King Mushroom or Indonesian Begedil with ease without getting burnt. It is flat-bottomed as well, which means you can use it on both gas and electric cooktops.

3. Lodge 14 inch Cast Iron Wok

This double-handled cast-iron wok comes pre-seasoned, so you can skip the slightly tedious steps of seasoning it! If you’ve peeked at the hawkers stir frying your delicious Sweet and Sour Chicken or Fragrant Crispy Fried Prawns at your local “Cze Char” stalls, you will see that many of them use Cantonese style woks that resemble this one. Cast iron still performs better than stainless steel, though it heats up and cools down slower as compared to carbon steel. When made thick enough, cast iron is extremely durable, though you need arms of steel to toss your ingredients with a heavy cast iron wok! If you are up for that challenge, this heavy-duty wok can also be used in the oven, stove or grill. Again, a flat-bottomed design is suited for those with induction cookers.

4. Jingmentang Cast Iron Wok

You might have noticed a trend now – woks often come in a 14-inch size, have flat bottoms to accommodate induction cookers and cast iron woks are usually made in the Cantonese dual handle style due to their weight. This Jingmentang 14 inch Cast Iron Wok is no different in that aspect. The earthy wooden lid definitely adds a Korean or Japanese touch to the wok, while keeping your fried dishes like Ayam Penyet or curries like the all-favourite Thai Beef Green Curry warm.

5. Imusa 14-inch Complete Wok Set 

If you are one of those who love your product to come with a lot of bells and whistles, this Imusa 14-inch Complete Wok Set might be a dream come true for you. This wok comes with 6 additional accessories – a metal half moon tray, a deep-fry skimmer, a bamboo spoon spatula, a see-through lid and a bamboo fork spatula. The metal half moon tray expands your cooking options by allowing you to fry up some classic tempura, or even steam some yummy Steamed Chicken and Pumpkin or Silky Steamed Eggs. The lid ensures that the steam is kept in, while allowing you to check on the food without letting the heat escape. The deep-fry skimmer is also useful for scooping up those Crispy Fried Chicken with Sambal or Sweet Potato Fries at once without laboriously picking them out one by one with chopsticks. The fork spatula is great for noodle-ly items such as Laksa Shirataki Fried Noodles or Indomie Goreng. We can’t think of anything else you might need to compliment this wok!

  • All products featured here are independently selected by our editorial team. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn a commission for purchases made.
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