How do you wok?

Over the next month, our entrance table will be dedicated to the wok and its instruments, with inspirational books to allow you to explore this tool and master all the useful techniques.

The wok originated in China and is, in its current form, closer to the woks that are used in northern China; what we call “northern style’’.

This versatile tool allows you to:

  • sauté (what is called a stir-fry)
  • steaming (with bamboo baskets) (steaming)
  • frying food (deep-frying)
  • to braise (braising)
  • smoking food in the wok (smoking)

Cooking with a wok is a technique that can be learned, but which requires certain basic knowledge, in particular:

  • you generally cook in a wok at higher temperatures
  • you generally use cooking oils that are resistant to high temperatures (vegetable, peanut, grapeseed or avocado oil)

The traditional wok is made of carbon and with use, a patina is built up which becomes a non-stick surface. It is the most inexpensive and the most used. You will find in-store a procedure on how to build this patina which makes it non-stick over time, what is called seasoning.

  • Here you can see after about 20-30 uses what the carbon steel wok looks like (the wok in the middle). The black patina at the bottom of the wok is actually non-stick.

Seasoned wok

For ease of daily use, we have selected high-performance alternatives that allow you to come close to the properties of the traditional wok in a home kitchen:

  • the Gastrolux wok, with its thick molded base, which allows great heat retention and allows cooking at high temperatures
  • the cast iron wok, which cannot be handled like a carbon wok given its weight, also allows a lot of heat to be stored in its body.
  • the stainless steel wok, for its ease of maintenance: it is dishwasher safe and does not fear any utensil.

The utensils that help you in your preparation are not trivial either:

  • a spider, to push aside or quickly remove large quantities of food from the wok;
  • a spatula or shovel, which allows you to easily handle the food when cooking it;
  • plastic bottles to put oil, soy sauce and other condiments quickly in your preparation;
  • multiple bowls for preparing your ingredients in advance;
  • a horsehair washing brush that allows you to clean carbon steel woks without removing the patina you want to build/have built.

You will find books in French and English at the store, including Kenji Lopez's new bible, The Wok, which will allow you to better tame this tool to prepare quick meals, full of flavors and which will make you travel around Asia in a blink.



Loïc Martin-Rouillard
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