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I book I'm reading recommends it. Seems like it might hold heat better. Any thoughts?

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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I've never seen a cast iron wok. I thought most traditional woks were carbon steel (aka black steel or blue steel). They build up a nice finish so stuff doesn't stick, heat well, and are light enough to be able to pick up and dump the contents out quickly as needed when everything is done. I would think a cast iron wok of adequate dimensions would be prohibitively heavy. I guess I don't think of a wok as needing to "hold" heat--they just need to get really hot for a relatively short amount of time. The carbon steel seems able to distribute the heat well enough up the sides to make it an effective tool for stir-fry.

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I have a cast iron wok made from Le Creuset.

All I have to say is that it's REALLY heavy!!

My initial thought when I bought it was bc my heat source was so small that I can heat up the wok to really high temps so I can make better stir frys but now I realized that even though I can do that, it's kinda difficult to scoop up all the liquids and washing the wok between dishes kinda defeats the whole purpose and cools down the wok.

I do love my wok but my parent's black carbon steel wok is a lot lighter and heats up faster. :)

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Thanks. I feared it would be kind of heavy, but it was recommended by a Chinese-American who traveled extensively in China and apprenticed herself in several kitchens, so I figured she was on to something. Good read, by the way, "Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China" by Jen Lin-Liu.

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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Besides the weight, one problem you might encounter with a cast iron wok is that it holds heat too well. With steel, you can control the heat much better and for the tasks you use a wok for like stir frying or deep frying smallish chunks of food, I think you'd want the control of steel over the heat-retention of iron.

nunc est bibendum...

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Traditional/original Chinese cast iron woks should be relatively thin (a few mm) and light, Western versions are much thicker. Cast iron was the original metal wok using a very specific technique.

Here is a link to the makings of these woks.

I've looked hard, but haven't ever found a cast iron wok of this type, only the thicker versions, which I think would not be very good for me.

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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Traditional/original Chinese cast iron woks should be relatively thin (a few mm) and light, Western versions are much thicker. Cast iron was the original metal wok using a very specific technique.

Here is a link to the makings of these woks.

I've looked hard, but haven't ever found a cast iron wok of this type, only the thicker versions, which I think would not be very good for me.

I have a 12 incher, and altho it is heavy, it is not nearly as heavy as cast iron skillets I've used. I bought it at Kam Man in NJ, but it doesn't have a label on it, so I can't tell the make. It has a long handle and a loop handle

You can google light-weight cast iron woks.

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Yes, you can get them from Amazon, but unfortunately haven't seen them here in Melbourne.

An indication of the difference between the traditional an Western versions are the shipping weights. Shipping weight for 14 inch Traditional is 3.5 pounds, Prologic 14 inch is 14 pounds, Le Creuset 14.5 inch (with lid) is 15 pounds.

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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We have a 14-inch and a 16-inch “traditional cast iron wok” from the Wok Shop (click). These woks are made from thin cast iron. They are lightweight, season readily, heat up quickly, and seem to transmit heat better than our old carbon steel wok.

The finish is a bit rough, and some don’t like that, but I love them and use them constantly.

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I have a thick cast iron wok that I use for deep frying. Its heat retention means that you dont get much of a temp drop when you add ingrediants. I use this in tandem with a infrared thermometer so that I can get an accurate temp read.

I did try using it for stir-frying when I first got it but I found I prefer a wok to be more mobile and temperature responsive. So now it sits next to my wok on the stobe top for when I want to deep-fry and then pass over with a spider to my carbon steel wok for stir-frying. For this aspect of cooking I highly recomend it.

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We've been talking about light and heavy cast iron woks in terms of weight. Another way to tell is that "Chinese" cast iron woks are about 3mm thick; western woks are about 9mm thick.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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I'd only seen the thick cast iron woks before and didn't even know a thinner one existed. The idea of a thick one doesn't seem very versatile to me, but I really like the idea of a thin one. I want to get into wok cookery, so I got a 14" traditional cast iron one from the Wok Shop--I'm excited to get it and use it. Thanks for the references and info.

nunc est bibendum...

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Just went to weigh. Yep, my wok is the thin cast iron one, 14" 3.5 lb. Adam, Melbourne isn't that far away, I would have thought you have it there? Happy to send one your way...

Cheers

TP

Thanks Tepee for the kind offer. I think that you are right, they will be here somewhere, I just have to look harder. But who knows, I might have to take you up on your offer. :rolleyes:

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Thanks, C. sapidus, I've ordered one from Wok Shop. Nice Maryland user name, by the way.

I guess if I used one of those real heavy babies, I'd have to wok like a man.

Edited by bobmac (log)

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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You are quite welcome, bobmac, and I hope you enjoy your wok. Batard is right, thin cast iron woks are reputed to be fragile. I am not especially gentle with ours, and we have had no trouble.

I guess if I used one of those real heavy babies, I'd have to wok like a man.

As long as you don't sing like Frankie Valli. :wink:

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I have a 16" heavy cast iron wok that I love. One of my favorite things to do is to throw it in a hot oven and then use it on my electric stove that does not have that much heat output. I find I get great results. I actually bought it an a sporting goods store in the camping section for $7.00 :)

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  • 4 months later...
Just be careful, because the thin cast iron woks can break quite easily if you drop one.

Based on Elizabeth Young's "Breath of a Wok", thin cast iron only lasts 3-6 months in most commercial restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore, base on the intense hot (75,000 BTU) and cold (washing) cycles. I order my "thin" woks from [http] http://www.asianequipmentworld.com; "Asian Equipment World"[/http].

My LeCreuset "thick" cast iron wok will outlive me.

Regards,

JasonZ

JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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<>Based on Elizabeth Young's "Breath of a Wok", ...<>

Hi Jason,

I bought my steel wok based on the mention in "Breath of a Wok." In fact, I bought it from Tane Chen at www.wokshop.com. Tane is pictured in the book.

After watching "Simply Ming" I got an all clad stainless wok which I use regularly now.

Regards,

Hank

'A person's integrity is never more tested than when he has power over a voiceless creature.' A C Grayling.

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