Whether you want to make authentic Asian cuisine or just need a trusty pan for all types of frying, look no further than a wok. Williams Sonoma carries a wide selection of woks to fit any type of household and any type of culinary background. One night you can make your favourite fried rice dish in the wok, while the next night you can switch up and make grilled chicken served with fresh vegetables.
Woks give you a versatile alternative to a general skillet because you can heat up your cooking oil to a very high temperature and remain safe from splashing due to the high sides. This type of cooking suits flash-frying breaded meats and seafoods better than conventional cooking. If you prefer to not use oil, find a wok that has a nonstick coating, allowing you to fry your foods without any of the extra fat.
Woks come in a variety of styles for different types of cooking. A stainless-steel wok provides you with easy cleanup and has a high rate of heat conductivity. Woks that also include layers of aluminum help to conduct the heat, and then sustain it once you turn the oven to a lower temperature. A wok with a flat base works better on an electric range. Woks that feature a ceramic nonstick coating also resist scratches and scrapes when you use metal utensils during cooking, allowing you to be as rough with your pot of stir-fry as you wish.
Most woks come with a set of handles on each side. Once you put the wok on the oven, you might need to pick it up with a pair of oven mitts if both handles are made of the same material as the wok. Some woks feature a longer handle on the side that resists heat as you cook. This allows you to flip and stir the food inside of the wok without the use of utensils. If both handles feature a metal construction, you can transfer the wok into an oven to keep the food warm while waiting for guests to arrive.
Find a wok that comes with a glass lid or one that fits a lid as an accessory for an even more versatile cooking tool. A lid lets you simmer your stir-fry at a lower temperature, while the glass construction lets you view the progress. If you add extra water or broth to the wok, you can even put uncooked rice or pasta in it to add a starch component to your meal.
Another type of wok is an electric model. These do not need an oven present for use, as you plug it into the wall to cook with electricity. There is a dial on these woks that lets you control how hot it gets, allowing you to quickly fry meats or simmer food. Most of these woks reach temperatures of up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. They are perfect for going on camping trips where you have an electrical hookup or when you want to conserve energy in your own home. An electric wok is also good for taking to food competitions and shows where you need to show off your cooking skills.
One of the most unique international cookware accessories for a wok is a bamboo steamer. These allow you to make dumplings out of your favourite baking ingredients, place them in the steamer, and then cook them on top of a wok full of hot water. Create your favourite dim sum classics in a bamboo steamer, or simply steam up some fresh vegetables to go along with your protein for the night.