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Wok Tools – What Do You Use?


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11 minutes ago, KennethT said:

One question for wok users about braising things - one of the curries I make has tamarind in it, which is acidic.  I'm concerned about cooking this dish in my well seasoned carbon steel wok because I'm nervous that the acid will break down my seasoning and A) make me have to reseason every time I make that dish and B) will taint my curry with dissolved seasoning!  Are my concerns unfounded?

 

I don't braise in the wok for just those reasons.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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And I can understand why people do, especially if it's the main vessel used for cooking. 

I like a Dutch oven or a rondeau for braising...that way, I can do a braised dish and use the wok for stir-frying a side veg.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, weinoo said:

And I can understand why people do, especially if it's the main vessel used for cooking. 

I like a Dutch oven or a rondeau for braising...that way, I can do a braised dish and use the wok for stir-frying a side veg

 

 

Chinese way would be to finish the braised dish, then stir-fry the veg in the same wok (after a quick clean). After all, how long does it take to stir-fry a vegetable side?

Alternatively, revolutionary idea, have more than one wok! I have three, but rarely use two of them.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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14 minutes ago, weinoo said:

And I can understand why people do, especially if it's the main vessel used for cooking. 

I like a Dutch oven or a rondeau for braising...that way, I can do a braised dish and use the wok for stir-frying a side veg.

 

 

Main vessel... or only!  But the good thing about the wok is that it cleans fast (just a quick rinse in hot water) and the stir fried veg cook super fast, so you can plate your braised dish (typically family style), clean the wok and cook the veg and the braised dish will have barely cooled down.  That's my experience anyway..

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Main vessel... or only!  But the good thing about the wok is that it cleans fast (just a quick rinse in hot water) and the stir fried veg cook super fast, so you can plate your braised dish (typically family style), clean the wok and cook the veg and the braised dish will have barely cooled down.  That's my experience anyway..

 

What I was trying to say, you have done more eloquently.

Only one thing. Few Chinese home kitchens have a hot water supply.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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My late sister-in-law regularly made 4 or 5 dish dinners plus soup. All cooked in the same wok. No one here would even think that remarkable. It's normal.

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7 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Only one thing. Few Chinese home kitchens have a hot water supply.

 

Interesting.... I guess it doesn't really matter - especially since you don't use that much water anyway, and the wok is already hot - you rinse with hot water regardless of the initial water temp!

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1 minute ago, KennethT said:

I guess it doesn't really matter - especially since you don't use that much water anyway, and the wok is already hot - you rinse with hot water regardless of the initial water temp!

 

Yes, exactly. People just bung a little cold water in and swirl it around over the heat while scraping with their scoop if necessary, then run under the cold tap to remove any debris.

 

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I'm just gonna submit that, let's say a two-hour braise of beef with tomatoes and red wine, will not be good for the seasoning of either cast iron or carbon steel.

 

But please provide me with alternative facts, other than anecdotal.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, weinoo said:

I'm just gonna submit that, let's say a two-hour braise of beef with tomatoes and red wine, will not be good for the seasoning of either cast iron or carbon steel.

 

But please provide me with alternative facts, other than anecdotal.

 

One fact is that I've been cooking such things in a wok for a quarter of a century without problems.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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53 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I'm just gonna submit that, let's say a two-hour braise of beef with tomatoes and red wine, will not be good for the seasoning of either cast iron or carbon steel.

 

But please provide me with alternative facts, other than anecdotal.

OK - I guess I wasn't clear for what I do though... my braise in the tamarind liquid would be for about 15 minutes tops...  I don't know if I'd do a 2 hour braise in the seasoned wok, but most Asian wok braising doesn't take that long.  I'm going to attempt it teh next time I make that dish... I'll report back my findings.

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6 hours ago, KennethT said:

OK - I guess I wasn't clear for what I do though... my braise in the tamarind liquid would be for about 15 minutes tops...  I don't know if I'd do a 2 hour braise in the seasoned wok, but most Asian wok braising doesn't take that long.  I'm going to attempt it teh next time I make that dish... I'll report back my findings.

This makes sense.

 

A two-hour braise, a la a beef bourguignon, does not.

 

The question then becomes, is that really a braise?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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30 minutes ago, weinoo said:

This makes sense.

 

A two-hour braise, a la a beef bourguignon, does not.

 

The question then becomes, is that really a braise?

Is it really a braise? No, probably not to the classical definition, but I just called it that because it is meat cooking half in/half out of liquid in a covered pot, so what else would you call it?  Simmered chicken half in/half out of liquid in a covered pot is quite a mouthful.  Then again, do you really have to braise chicken thighs?  Or any piece of chicken that isn't the gizzard or something?

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4 hours ago, KennethT said:

what else would you call it? 

 

I'm working on it...

 

4 hours ago, KennethT said:

Then again, do you really have to braise chicken thighs?  Or any piece of chicken that isn't the gizzard or something?

 

I think it depends on the age and /or size of that bird!

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10 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

I think it depends on the age and /or size of that bird!

I've had some birds in SE Asia that could have used a long braise - one in particular was in Indonesia, a kampung chicken (considered a delicacy) - which is basically a yardbird that eats all sorts of grubs and whatever else chickens love to eat, all while seemingly running a marathon every other day.  I don't think it was actually that old, but it had tons of flavor, and was quite tough - especially the joints. I couldn't cut through the leg/thigh joint with whatever utensil I could find.

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On 5/6/2021 at 4:27 PM, KennethT said:

 BTW, speaking of wok, I just got a relatively inexpensive 240V 3500W induction hob. 

I'm very interested to read this. Please could you share details and pictures?

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7 minutes ago, Kerala said:

I'm very interested to read this. Please could you share details and pictures?

This is what I got:

 

It was about $300 on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016XY88AA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

There's a lot of inexpensive induction units on Amazon - lots of them with really bad reviews, mostly about longevity.  This one seemed to have a better ratio of good/bad reviews.  Also, once I get the other, more industrial strength, hob, I won't be using this one as often - it's purpose will be bringing pots of water to a boil and lighter duty stuff that doesn't require much finesse.

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Thank you! I need to go and do some research. I was under the impression that the round shape of a wok made it unsuitable for use on induction hobs. 

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1 minute ago, Kerala said:

Thank you! I need to go and do some research. I was under the impression that the round shape of a wok made it unsuitable for use on induction hobs. 

I have a flat bottomed wok.  It works fine.  From what I understand, flat bottomed woks are pretty common throughout Asia, unless you're a restaurant.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Kerala said:

Thank you! I need to go and do some research. I was under the impression that the round shape of a wok made it unsuitable for use on induction hobs. 

 

It has become very difficult in recent years to find round bottomed woks, even here in China. Most department stores, supermarkets and other domestic kitchen supply shops etc only stock the (at least slightly) flat bottomed type.

The reason is very simple. Induction cookers. Whereas in the past people used gas burners for the ever-popular table top hotpot style of cooking (even in restaurants), it quickly became apparant that free standing induction cookers were more convenient and safer. I'd say that that's what 90% of people use now.

It is still possible to buy the traditional type, but only in artisan craft shops or professional, restaurant suppliers' places - sometimes not even there.

I have both types.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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. I see.

I have a massive carbon steel wok my brother in law bought in the market in Trivandrum and brought over in his airplane luggage to England. It's been my favourite bit of kit in the kitchen for the last few years. So versatile for Kerala cooking, stir-fries, fried chicken, tempura... If you're reading this thread you probably know! And it has the added sentimental value.

We've recently moved house, and we now have an electric ceramic hob rather than the gas hobs we've had for decades. We're strongly inclined to fit a gas hob, but I do feel the lure of induction. I think that old wok is going to make the decision for me.

 

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Posted (edited)

My traditional bamboo wok brush arrived today. They are becoming more difficult to find in the city. I ordered this one online after my usual store didn't have any.

 

467435482_wokbrush.thumb.jpg.92a0fb9ada2441c6efa2d654d0ec5bbe.jpg

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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I remember seeing those in plenty of restaurants here; now, not so much, if at all.  I had one (or two) for many years. But really, they take up a lot of room and get disgusting, so a scrubbie seems so much easier, cleaner, and more practical.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I remember seeing those in plenty of restaurants here; now, not so much, if at all.  I had one (or two) for many years. But really, they take up a lot of room and get disgusting, so a scrubbie seems so much easier, cleaner, and more practical.

I had to look up 'scrubbie'. Never seen one in my life! China don't have! I agree the bamboo brushes need constant replacing, but are cheap and environmentally friendly. You had one for many years⁈⁈

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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