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Woks are an essential part of every commercial kitchen. They allow you to run a kitchen that’s versatile, fast and bursting with delicious food. There are many good reasons why woks have been used for thousands of years and will continue to be a fundamental piece of cookware in the kitchen. Let’s look at the benefits of cooking with woks, which woks are perfect for your café or restaurant and how to care for and clean your wok to ensure you get the longest life out of it.
Cooking with Woks
Every venue wants to serve delicious food, fast. Woks are well known for retaining high heat and sealing in taste. Remember to ask the team at Stanlee about seasoning your wok before use. If you don’t first season your wok, the food can stick to the surface and your wok won’t produce the rich flavours you want.
Cook Fast – Woks are perfect for stir fry dishes and anything that needs to be heated fast. The shape of the wok spreads the heat around the pan ensuring the food is cooked evenly.
Seal in Taste – The shape makes it difficult to overcook food – even when food is cooked at high heat over long periods. The combination of high heat and continual stirring seals in the flavour.
Healthy Option – Woks require less oil than traditional frying options making them a healthy option. Woks are also great for cooking vegetables as they help retain the vegetable’s texture and won’t become soggy.
Choosing a Wok
The three choices you’ll have to make when choosing a wok are surface, size and single or double handle.
Surface – For a commercial kitchen it is preferred to use a wok with carbon steel or cast-iron surface. A cast-iron surface will give you an evenly dispersed heat and has low toxicity making it an excellent choice.
Size – Remember, you’ll need the wok to sit on a burner, so you don’t want it too large. Anything from 30 – 60cm wide is ideal. It’s always good to have a variety of sizes in your kitchen.
Handle – There are two choices when it comes to handles. Woks with two small handles on opposite sides are Cantonese-style woks. The design made it easy to lift the wok in and out of a traditional Chinese wood stove. A wok with a long handle (usually wooden) is a Mandarin-style wok and makes it easy to flip the food while cooking.
Cleaning your Wok
Your wok doesn’t need to be spotless before you begin cooking. In fact, after seasoning your wok it will begin to develop a patina. This is a protective coating that prevents corrosion and rust while also enhancing the flavour of your food.
Don’t try to scrub the patina off while cleaning. It’s best to rinse your wok in warm or hot water only – not soapy water. If you need to remove food particles gently remove them with a brush. Don’t use a scouring pad or anything abrasive. Clean your wok with a towel and place it back on the burner on medium heat to evaporate any remaining surface water.
Remember, it’s vitally important to prepare your wok before use. If you want expert advice on preparation and choosing the right wok for your café or restaurant, contact the team at Stanlee Hospitality Supplies.