Getting Started With Your Wok – HexClad Cookware
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Getting Started With Your Wok

by HexClad Cookware

Getting Started With Your Wok

So you’ve got a new wok and are wondering what to make with it. We are here to help. What other pan has produces its own specific flavor of deliciousness? (Wok hei is the delicious caramelized, smoke flavor that results from cooking in a well-seasoned wok over high heat.) Of course, we’re not ones to play favorites with pots and pans—each one has its own particular merits—but the wok may need a little wok know-how to get started. Whether you want to jump into making authentic Pad Thai or simply get in the habit of making veggie stir-fries for weeknight dinners, the wok is here for you.

First thing to know is that you can make much more than you might expect in a wok. It’s excellent for all sorts of Asian dishes, whether you’re looking to perfect your Bangkok-style pad see ew or whip up a batch of spicy udon noodles. But the wok is good for so much more than stir-fries, noodles and fried rice. Chef Deau Arpapornnopparat of Holy Basil in Los Angeles uses his wok for soup, curry, steaming vegetables, and frying, among other things. The point is: your wok is much more versatile than you think. Try it out with Chipotle Chicken Stove Top Nachos and Sweet and Spicy Snack Mix


Don’t be afraid to cook small portions in your wok.

In fact, Chef Arpapornnopparat says that most Thai wok-based recipes are best made in single or double portions. It’s great news for single cooks everywhere. If you do want to cook for more than 2, simply clean the wok out completely, and then begin again.

Woks do best when they’re not overcrowded.

To the same point as above, you actually want to avoid cooking too much in the wok at once. Unlike a big pot or Dutch oven, the wok is designed with sloped sides that maximize the heat. If you want to cook large batches of food, either opt for a bigger wok (HexClad makes a 10" Hybrid Wok, 12" Hybrid Wok, and 14" Hybrid Wok) or switch to your largest pot, instead.

Practice your flip before you send noodles flying.

If you’ve ever watched a pro toss food in the wok with what seems like a simple flick of the wrist, you might be eager to give it a go. Rather than start with searingly hot, oily veggies or noodles, start by using a cold, clean wok and flipping a ball of steel wool until you get the hang of it. That being said, you don’t have to flip. It’s perfectly fine to stir with chopsticks, tongs, or a spatula, instead.

Prepping your ingredients is a must.

Lots of wok-based recipes—like pad see ew or pad Thai—call for high heat and a succession of short steps. That means mise en place is more important than ever. Take the time to chop, slice, dice, and measure any necessary ingredients before you set the wok over the heat.

Consider getting some dedicated wok tools.

If you don’t already have a chuan (a specific metal spatula for a wok), you might want to invest in one. The edge is thin enough to slide under food in order to flip it, but it can also be used to scrape any tasty bits off the bottom of the wok. A ladle is handy, too, while a spider (that’s a long-handled tool with a mesh, metal strainer at one end) can help you fish hot, fried bits out of the pan. If you’re really ready to nerd out on everything you might want for your wok cooking kit, check out Serious Eats’ guide to wok gear.

    P.S. Many woks are made from carbon steel and will need seasoning before you start cooking. HexClad’s woks are coated with the trademark hybrid coating, which means you can get cooking right away (and for a bonus: their nonstick surface makes for easy clean up). That said, if the pan starts to stick at all, you can simply reseason it. Follow these steps to reseason your HexClad cookware.

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