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CanadianHomeChef

Stir Frying in Stainless Steel

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I was listing some things on Kijiji (Canadian Classifieds website), and I noticed someone selling a oil-stained All-Clad 14" Wok for $25. Considering the price, and the fact that I have Bar Keeper's Friend on hand, I got in contact with the owner and purchased the item. I cleaned it up removing all the stains with Bar Keeper's Friend, and now it looks pretty decent, but I'm left wondering if this piece of cookware has much use? I have an induction cooktop, and the heat does spread decently up the sides; however, stainless is notoriously non-nonstick, which is great for building a fond in certain applications, but not so great for stir frying.

 

Has anyone had success stir frying in a stainless steel vessel? Any tips or tricks? I guess depending on the dish, I could incorporate the fond into the final sauce. I'm just envisioning ripped apart veggies and protein.

Now that I've cleaned up the pan, I could probably sell it for a profit if I don't have any use for it. 

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 No experience but I do know that Chef Ming Tsai occasionally uses an All Clad stainless steel wok. Quite sure it’s for promotional purposes rather than a really considered choice on his part.  

 

I do not have an All Clad one but I do have a stainless steel wok which I use on my induction range and I find it works perfectly well. Given that I have no hope in heck of reaching the kind of temperatures that one is supposed to get in order to properly stirfry it  works adequately.  Mine was picked up in a thrift store and appears to have been homemade or at least converted from something else. 

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I have the Demeyer stainless steel wok.  I hate using it.  Stuff sticks to it no matter how much I pre-heat it.  It takes up a lot of room.  I should sell it.

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I have poor results  in SS.  It's really not my choice for a pan to do high heating in.  Maybe I haven't mastered it's  potential 

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7 minutes ago, scubadoo97 said:

I have poor results  in SS.  It's really not my choice for a pan to do high heating in.  Maybe I haven't mastered it's  potential 

 

I use it for high heat searing, but a certain degree of stickyness is wanted to develop a fond for a pan sauce. 

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I have a stainless steel William Sonoma stir-fry pan (eg. wok) that I got on closeout for about $30.  It has become possibly my most used cooking vessel.  Sticking has not been a problem.  If I don't use it everyday I believe I can say without exaggeration I use it at least every third day for something.  Last night for mushrooms.

 

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32 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I have a stainless steel William Sonoma stir-fry pan (eg. wok) that I got on closeout for about $30.  It has become possibly my most used cooking vessel.  Sticking has not been a problem.  If I don't use it everyday I believe I can say without exaggeration I use it at least every third day for something.  Last night for mushrooms.

 

 

How big is yours? This one is 14 inches. Can’t imagine lugging it out everyday even if I figure out the technique.  

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What's the secret to keep food (proteins) from sticking too long.....and burning.  I assume lower temp


Edited by scubadoo97 (log)

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Food sticks to stainless because the food is too wet or the pan isn't hot enough. Sticking is always a technique issue. You should be able to cook fish with the skin on in a stainless pan, with no sticking.

 

I still don't think stainless is a great material for traditional wok (one you'll use for real stir frying). It's less conductive than spun steel, and more expensive. And while you could probably get some seasoning to build up on it, it will be fragile, so you'll probably end up cleaning off any polymerized oils. Which means you'll need more perfect technique to keep things from sticking, so it won't be as casual to use.

 

We have a vaguely wok-like pan ... a flat-bottomed, curved sided thing with a conductive disk bottom. I kind of like it. Is this the sort of thing people are talking about? I see these as a hybrid between a wok and a sauté pan. They're nice for sautéing vegetables, because they hold a lot of them, and make tossing them nearly effortless. But this isn't real stir-frying. You're not using the kind of heat that could set the ceiling on fire.

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51 minutes ago, CanadianHomeChef said:

 

How big is yours? This one is 14 inches. Can’t imagine lugging it out everyday even if I figure out the technique.  

 

Also 14 inches.  I leave mine out.

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If nothing else, you can use it with a bamboo steamer. I use a ss pan for searing sous vide meat but that's different because you can let it sit until it releases rather than keeping the food moving. Maybe cleaning your wok up was a bad idea, though.

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The stains were all on the outside, so it wasn’t seasoned or anything. I haven’t actually stir fried anything  in it yet, but just going off previous experience. 

 

They make it seem so easy: 

 

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15 hours ago, paulraphael said:

We have a vaguely wok-like pan ... a flat-bottomed, curved sided thing with a conductive disk bottom. I kind of like it. Is this the sort of thing people are talking about? I see these as a hybrid between a wok and a sauté pan. They're nice for sautéing vegetables, because they hold a lot of them, and make tossing them nearly effortless. But this isn't real stir-frying. You're not using the kind of heat that could set the ceiling on fire.

Exactly.

 

I have a very similar (maybe the same) pan, believe the one I have is a Mauviel. In addition to its use for vegetables, I often make pasta sauces in it. It's great for that purpose, as it will hold a pound of cooked pasta easily, and allows me the right amount of room to toss the pasta around in the sauce.

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Did an innagural stir fry in the pan. The sides of the pan heated up really nicely—better than I expected. However, the Control Freak had a difficult time maintaining the temperature (I’m thinking something to do with the large amount of metal in the pan, but just small portion that makes contact with the induction element?). I also encountered the sticking issue that I expected; however, once the first layer of fond built up, it essentially created a seasoning for additional ingredients (got blacker than I would have liked however). 

 

The stir fry was delicious, especially because of how hot it was out of the pan (I try and limit the heat with nonstick due to fumes). Lots of blistering on the bell pepper. Not sure if it was that much better than nonstick though to warrant the hassle. 

 

I was was thinking this pan might good for spaghettti and sauce; however, it’s a pain to store. Still on the face whether or not to keep it. 

4E21779B-01BD-4737-8661-3C31ED3E2E57.jpeg


Edited by CanadianHomeChef (log)
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59 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

It’s a PITA

sell

 

Agreed.

 

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10 minutes ago, lindag said:

Agreed.

 

I don’t know. Seems to me it’s better than stir frying in Non stick. But to each their own.

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A reasonably priced carbon steel wok from Chinatown, seasoned properly is a thing of beauty.

I agree no nonstick coated wok.

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5 hours ago, CanadianHomeChef said:

Did an innagural stir fry in the pan. The sides of the pan heated up really nicely—better than I expected. However, the Control Freak had a difficult time maintaining the temperature (I’m thinking something to do with the large amount of metal in the pan, but just small portion that makes contact with the induction element?). I also encountered the sticking issue that I expected; however, once the first layer of fond built up, it essentially created a seasoning for additional ingredients (got blacker than I would have liked however). 

 

The stir fry was delicious, especially because of how hot it was out of the pan (I try and limit the heat with nonstick due to fumes). Lots of blistering on the bell pepper. Not sure if it was that much better than nonstick though to warrant the hassle. 

 

I was was thinking this pan might good for spaghettti and sauce; however, it’s a pain to store. Still on the face whether or not to keep it. 

4E21779B-01BD-4737-8661-3C31ED3E2E57.jpeg

 

 

Oh, from looking at the picture I don't think your temperature was high enough.  (But I'm no expert.)

 

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Started off at 475 in the oven, but tried to regulate it at 425 on the control freak. Lots of burning happening to stuck on food. But maybe it wouldn't have stuck if it was higher?

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27 minutes ago, CanadianHomeChef said:

Started off at 475 in the oven, but tried to regulate it at 425 on the control freak. Lots of burning happening to stuck on food. But maybe it wouldn't have stuck if it was higher?

 

High smoke point oil should be smoking before you add the food.  I'm guessing about 525-550F.

 

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11 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

High smoke point oil should be smoking before you add the food.  I'm guessing about 525-550F.

 

Hmm. That’s about 75-100 degrees beyond the smoke point of peanut oil, and approaching the flash point according to my sources. I was getting smoke at 475. But maybe I’ll try bumping it up a bit more. 

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Pardon me from butting in on this topic, but I have a related inquiry... I'm trying to set up a friend with a wok, but she has only (conventional) electric stove.

 

Would regular round carbon steel wok work with induction plate (I have one lying around, and don't mind lending it to her- because I think it would be more responsive to adjustments)? My idea is to make (or have it made) a solid steel 'adapter' which would be placed on induction plate. It would protect the plate top, to some degree steady the wok and hold it in place, while distributing more heat to the bottom of the wok, and woul additionally prevent induction plate from shutting off when lifting wok to toss the food in it... So, my quiestion is- would it work? Is it worth the trouble?

Adapter.jpg

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Interesting. Carbon steel will work on its own on an induction plate, but my concern is getting the heat up the side walls. I don’t think (but may be wrong) that carbon steel is efficient for this. 

 

Your adapter concept has me intrigued. What kind of material are you thinking?

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