Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

hzrt8w

hzrt8w's wok and burner shopping project

Recommended Posts

If yoy lay one wok on top of another, both woks shouldnt take up significantly more storage space than a single 16".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had to laugh when I saw Chris's mention of a post by "project". :blink:

Those of us on this forum may remember his "dumpling post"! The BTU was similar. MY brain is once again twisted up like a Chinese fortune cookie AND pretzel together! :wink:  :wacko:  :laugh:  :laugh:

i loved project's posts. they made me laugh, and were totally awesome. where did he go, anyway?

also, i agree with everyone here--both woks wouldn't take up that much more space than just the one...


Edited by mrbigjas (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Send a copy of this thread to Storekeeper #1 so that he will know the negative impact his attitude is giving. And tell him to give a raise to storekeeper #2 as she is the reason you (a potential customer) stayed.

I like the idea of showing what a seasoned wok looks like.

Did they have woks with a wooden handle and a METAL ear on the other side? Do the ones with the wooden handles wiggle? I like the immovability of the solid metal.

I stack my woks, too. The 12'' (flat and round) upside down on each other, and the same with the 14"er flat and round bottoms. They are right over the stove for easy access. (I am tall) And an 18" hangs on a wall.

For about a year I had my cast iron wok upside down on top of one of the stacks. When I've used it, I've replaced it back on the pile. But last week, I didn't balance it correctly, I guess, as it came tumbling down, knocking over a large teflon wok in which I was boiling a pile of potatoes for salad. The boiling water went flying and the heaviness of the iron wok DENTED the heavy teflon one. Thank goodness I wasn't in the kitchen -- but what a BANG (and mess)! So-- stack, but stack carefully if you get both woks!

BTW -- your pictorial visit to the WOK STORE was great --- as far as it went. Too bad the storekeeper didn't realize that you were giving him some publicity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Did they have woks with a wooden handle and a METAL ear on the other side?  Do the ones with the wooden handles wiggle?  I like the immovability of the solid metal.

Excellent point. My wok has a wooden handle that definitely wiggles when I use it. I pray to the kitchen gods that it won't break off while in the middle of a stir-fry!

My wok is also without a helper handle (or ear, as you're calling it). It certainly would have come in handy (no pun intended).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Storekeeper#1 kept looking out the door, and kept greeting the tourists who walked in the door and saying thank-you to those were going out.  And this 40-some year old Chinese who speaks her own language was completely ignored.  Oh... I immediately knew what that implied.  I didn't fit the profile of their typical customer!

So much for citing a celebrity status on eGullet and getting some keen advice.  I should have asked eje to come with me to this store.  Then perhaps I would get storekeeper#1 to talk to me.

I don't know that bringing along a 40 something caucasian would have helped...

:raz:

...though, I certainly would have enjoyed meeting you!

It's too bad your experience was bad. I've never heard anything but good things about the wok shop. Not letting you take pictures in the store is just strange.

-Erik

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have two 14" inch carbon steel woks. They both have one ear and a wooden handle. Not sure what kind of wooden handle the rest of you have, but mine screw onto a steel bracket that is welded onto the wok. There is a "loop" that I use to hang onto a hook over my stove. The handles never wiggle.

Both of my woks hang over my stove with the rest of the pots I use the most often. My larger woks are stored in the garage. I find the 14" is sufficient for all my cooking, even for a crowd.

I must confess I DO use soap for washing my woks. I soap with a soft plastic scrubbie, rinse, wipe dry, then wipe down with oil on a paper towel. Maybe they are not as "seasoned" as what you all try to achieve, but there's been no complaints about my food. My family and friends know enough to "never look a gift horse in the mouth!" :raz::laugh::laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So much for citing a celebrity status on eGullet and getting some keen advice.  I should have asked eje to come with me to this store.  Then perhaps I would get storekeeper#1 to talk to me.

A bossy Chinese mother-in-law can come in very handy in these types of situations! :biggrin:


Edited by sheetz (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Meanwhile, I do hope that you'll write a note to the folks at the Wok Shop about your bad encounter. From my reading about the people who run the place, I think they'd want to know about your experience.

I don't know if this would make any difference. Like I said, storekeeper#1 looked like a manager, or perhaps even the owner of the place from the way she talked to other workers in the store.

I was really in shock that an owner/manager class would treat prospects the way she did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the last episode:

hzrt8w was standing inside "The Wok Shop" in San Francisco in a rainy Saturday afternoon. Through the process of elimination, he had only one choice to make to purchase his first wok:

14-inch or 16-inch?

The 14-inch is lighter, while the 16-inch can accommodate more ingredients.

14-inch or 16-inch?

His heart was torn. And he had to think on his feet. Or else this 90-mile drive would be a waste. Which one?

====================================================

I stood there for a minute, contemplating. It did occur to me that I could buy both. However, they are sufficiently similar. Buying both may be a bit of a waste. How do I decide?

Well... think about it this way: I can always cook fewer ingredients on a larger wok, but not the other way around. I would rather have a large enough wok to fry a fonder than not having enough room. 16-inch wok: US$24.95. 14-inch wok: US$16.95. The price difference is... Wait a minute, how far did you drive to get out here? 90 miles? How much is a gallon of gas? $3.00? And how much did you pay for the parking meter to come to this shop? ...

No more thought on the price difference. And I am sure this won't be the only wok I would buy in my life.

I proceeded to ask storekeeper#2 to bag the 16-inch carbon steel wok for me. While I was at it, I also picked up a few wok accessories. I even picked up a bone-chopping cleaver! :raz:

Here are what I bought:

gallery_19795_2734_254.jpg

The 16-inch carbon steel wok sitting on my stove over a wok-ring.

gallery_19795_2734_14616.jpg

I bought a wok-lid, in case I need to cook with the lid on. However, I don't plan to use my wok for steaming. I have a steamer for that. I am afraid using a wok for steaming repeatedly may degrade the seasoning (the oil sheen) on the wok.

gallery_19795_2734_2564.jpg

I also picked up a bamboo wok brush to wash the wok with. This is very handy.

gallery_19795_2734_1239.jpg

I also bought a 10-inch colander. It would be used for scooping up meat from a frying wok. This size would work well with my wok.

Having bought a few items from The Wok Shop, they gave me a complimentary set of long chopsticks (for picking up items during frying) and a wooden spoon for scooping rice. How nice! :smile:

Now having selected my wok, the next step is to season it. This will be my weekend project. I need to re-read some of the old posts from Ben Sook on wok seasoning, and re-read the section on wok seasoning from "The Breath of a Wok".

Storekeeper#2 handed me a pamphlet that provides instructions on how to season a wok. She suggested me to use the oven to bake the wok to season instead of burning it over fire (with oil smeared on the wok using either method, of course). Baking at 400F in the oven will season the wok more evenly than burning. Seems to make sense.

Hmmmm? Another decision to make: How to season my wok?

Bake? Or burn?

Okay, American Idol fans: what's your vote?

For: I should bake, dial: 1 866 436 5701

For: I should burn, dial: 1 866 436 5702

(To be continued)


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Baking works well but I think you would have to remove the wooden handles first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Baking works well but I think you would have to remove the wooden handles first.

Yes. That's what they told me. The straight wooden handle can be twisted off. However, the wooden "helper handle" cannot be taken off. They said just wrap it with wet towels and then wrap the towels with aluminum foils. Bake for 20 minutes a time. Re-smear the oil on the wok (and cool the wet towel with cold water, re-wrap it). Bake again. Repeat the baking process 3 times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also prefer to use lard as the seasoning fat as I feel it coats the metal better than cooking oil does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also prefer to use lard as the seasoning fat as I feel it coats the metal better than cooking oil does.

I agree animal fat is far superior to vegetable oils for wok seasoning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I must confess I DO use soap for washing my woks. I soap with a soft plastic scrubbie, rinse, wipe dry, then wipe down with oil on a paper towel. Maybe they are not as "seasoned" as what you all try to achieve, but there's been no complaints about my food. My family and friends know enough to "never look a gift horse in the mouth!" :raz:  :laugh:  :laugh:

I do too, but I use a wok brush instead of a plastic scrubbie.

Ah Leung, I tried “1-866 436 5701” (bake), but it didn’t work. :laugh:

So I think you should bake. I inherited my wok from my sister, so it was already somewhat seasoned, but when I got new cast iron skillet, I read that baking is better for the reasons stated previously. As for animal fat, I don’t usually have it around the house, but just out of curiosity, won’t lard leave a little residual flavor? Not that it’s a bad thing.

I'll have to also get Grace Wong's book so I can learn more.

edited to add: P.S. Not that I'm not learning anything here.


Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone dare try those numbers?

I've only used the burn method so can't compare, but the top of the stove seems easier. (to lazy me)

About the wok rim --- I see you have the wok sitting on the smaller opening, so that it sits higher over the heat. If you invert it, so that the wok sits on the wider opening, the wok will be closer to the heat source -- if you want hot heat. The smaller opening is good when you want a lower heat. Some cook-book authors have mentioned this, but one says to use the wider opening on an electric stove.

Any thoughts on this anyone?

I have several wok rims and don't use any of them. The grates that my stove uses over the burners are slightly concave if I turn them over. So the wok sits nice and close to the flame. Check yours.

The bamboo brush I have now sits gathering dust. I've used it, but now I just use my plastic Tuffy mesh thingie. I get better pressure on tough spots with it.

Any pictures of the cleaver?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations! My precious, 15 year old wok is also carbon steel. My brother actually seasoned it for me and gave it to me as a present. (I'm thinking he did it on the stove instead of baking it, being a Chinese chef.)

I also use a plastic scrubber thing, and sometimes a copper one, which I find I can use more pressure with than the bamboo brush.

I have several wok rims and don't use any of them.

I use mine only when steaming or making soup. I've learned to compensate even when using my round-bottomed wok on an electric burner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...

I have several wok rims and don't use any of them.  The grates that my stove uses over the burners are slightly concave if I turn them over. So the wok sits nice and close to the flame. Check yours.

...

Both the burners on my stove on either side sit in a single fairly deep trough, so I can't really use a wok ring. I do wish I had a wok ring that fit over the burners properly and securely. For better or for worse, I just balance my wok on top of the stove grate.

I've got a similar spun carbon steel wok of the same size that hzrt8w just purchased. You do have to watch the long handle. I always check to make sure that it is tightened before I start cooking.

Since it's the hottest thing I've got, my next goal is to try stir frying over lump mesquite on the charcoal grill. Of course, the danger is, I might burn the wooden handles right off my wok, if I'm not careful.

I've never heard of baking a wok to season and have always just used the vegetable (usually peanut) oil I cook with. I do bake my cast iron pans to season them, though. I guess it is more of an unattended process.

edit - typo


Edited by eje (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried inverting my wok rim, but it wobbles just as much as if I weren't using it, so I have to take the middle grate (really unnecessary) off my stove if the wok is to rest properly. I tried not using it, but I'm too uncoordinated to cook without it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those of you who use the wok rims, I assume have gas stoves. I have only had electric stoves in my homes, so the flat bottom woks are what I have used in direct contact with the element.

As for seasoning, I have baked and nearly burnt the "ear" of one wok as I didn't think to wrap and wet! :sad: It survived tho'.

The other wok, I just used it for deep frying for the first while, and it seemed to do the seasoning job. Nothing sticks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ohh, I'm glad I caught this thread. I'm looking foward to more pictures post seasoning. :D

Actually, my parents are in the market for a new wok. We have a 14" cast iron cantonese wok with the tiny metal handles. We're thinking of upgrading to a 16 incher. We don't do the pow action, so there would be no loss between carbon steel and cast iron.

The most important thing is the wok hei. Which imparts more? Cast Iron or Carbon Steel? Upkeep isn't really important when the wok is used two, sometimes three times daily.

The carbon steel wok does look a lot more rounded. A wok shovel wouldn't work so well, eh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a different style wok ring.

However you can also go to a metal shop - take the wok along - and have one made of iron that has just 3 legs so it will rest steady on the cooktop. It is just a ring with 3 legs welded onto the bottom of the ring and they will make it at the height you want so the wok is at the correct height from the burner.

It would look similar to this one made for the DCS range only with three legs instead of 4, but you can have 4 legs if you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The carbon steel wok does look a lot more rounded. A wok shovel wouldn't work so well, eh?

I always use a wok shovel (wok chahn) for stir-frying, and tongs when I need to separate noodles, etc.

That colander looks huge, tho', Ah Leung! :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wonderbread:

How much does your cast iron wok weigh? Is it as heavy as a 10 inch cast iron fry pan?

Ah Leung:

I wondered about the burners you showed in your posts. To me, they also looked like the replacement burners for my "wok tables"  :unsure:

Nope, not as heavy as an American cast iron. I also at one point had the single-handled, round-bottom wok made of the same material, and I could shake and toss the ingredients inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Lisa Shock
      Years ago, when I visited Tokyo, I ate in a small but fascinating restaurant called 'It's Vegetable' which is now, unfortunately, closed. The chef was from Taiwan, and he made Buddhist vegetarian and vegan dishes that resembled meat. During my visit, several monks wearing robes stopped in to eat dinner. The dishes were pretty amazing. I understood some of them, like using seitan to mimic chicken in stir fry dishes, others used tofu products like yuba, but, others were complex and obviously difficult. One very notable dish we enjoyed was a large 'fish' fillet designed to serve several people. It had a 'skin' made of carefully layered 'scales' cut from nori and attached to the surface. Inside, the white 'flesh' flaked and tasted much like a mild fish. Anyway, apparently Buddhist fake meat meals are very popular in Taiwan and many places, cheap through to fine dining serve them. Yes, if I worked on it for a while, I could probably refine one or two dishes on my own, but, I am wondering if there's a Modernist Cuisine type cookbook for skillfully making these mock meats from scratch? (I have heard that some items are commercially made and available frozen there, much like soy-based burgers are in the US.) I am willing to try almost any offering, even if it's entirely in Chinese. And, I know how to use remailers to purchase regional items from the various local retailers worldwide who do not ship to the US.
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known  for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Today is 元宵 yuán xiāo, the Lantern Festival marking the 15th day of the first lunar month and the last day of the Spring Festival (春节 chūn jié) which begins with the Chinese New Year on the 1st of the lunar month.
       
      Today is the day for eating 汤圆 tāng yuán, sweet glutinous rice balls.
       
      I was invited to take part in a celebration ceremony this morning in what is considered to be the city's most beautiful park. I half agree. It lies in the south of the city, surrounded by karst hill formations, but for me, the park itself is over-manicured. I like a bit of wild. That said, there are said to be around 700 species of wildlife, but most of that is on the inaccessible hills. There are pony rides for the kids and some of the locals are a bit on the wild side.
       

      Park Entrance
       

      Karst Hill
       
      Although the park has beautiful flower displays and great trees, what I love most is the bamboo. Such a beautiful plant and so useful.
       

       
      They had also hung the traditional red lanterns on some of the trees.
       


      The main reason for us to be there was to be entertained by, at first, these three young men who bizarrely welcomed us with  a rendition of Auld Lang Syne played on their bamboo wind instruments - I forget what they are called. They are wearing the traditional dress of the local Zhuang ethnic minority.
       

       
      Then some local school kids sang for us and did a short play in English. Clap, clap, clap.
       
      Then on to the main event. We were asked to form groups around one of four tables looking like this.
       

       
      Appetising, huh? What we have here at top is a dough made from glutinous rice flour. Then below black sesame paste and ground peanut paste. We are about to learn to make Tangyuan, glutinous rice balls. Basically you take a lump of dough, roll it into a ball, then flatten it, then form a cup shape. add some of each or either of the two pastes and reform the ball to enclose the filling. Simple! Maybe not.
       

       
      Some of us were more successful than others
       

       
      These are supposed to be white, but you can see the filling - not good; its like having egg showing all over the outside of your scotch eggs.
       
      Modesty Shame prevents me telling you which were mine.
       

       
      At least one person seemed to think bigger is better! No! They are meant to be about an inch in diameter. Sometimes size does matter!
       
      Finally the balls we had made were taken away to be boiled in the park's on-site restaurant. What we were served were identically sized balls with no filling showing. They are served in this sweet ginger soup. The local pigs probably had ours for lunch.
       
       

       


      The orange-ish and purplish looking ones are made in the same way, but using red and black glutinous rice instead.
       
      Fun was had, which was the whole point.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Today is 小年 (xiǎo nián) which literally means 'little [new] year', but is something more. It takes place approximately a week before Chinese New Year (February 16th this time round - Year of the Dog) and is the festival for the Kitchen God
       
      In traditional animist Chinese thought, there is a god for everything and the kitchen god is responsible for all aspects of, you guessed, the kitchen. Once a year (today), the kitchen god pops back  to report to the god of heaven on the happenings of the last 12 months. Therefore we have to placate him so he makes a good report.  My neighbours are busy preparing offerings of sticky rice and assorted sugary confections for the god, so that when he eats them, his teeth and lips will stick together and he will be unable to report any bad behaviour. An alternative theory suggest the sugary stuff will sweeten his words. Then we'll be OK for another year!
       
      This is  the fellow


    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or grilled/BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Sliced  Beef
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil, but any  vegetable oil except olive oil would be fine) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×