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The wok is a kind of frying pan used in the Far East and Southeast Asia, it is a kind of round frying pan and is characteristic because it is curved in the bottom, the average size is usually 30 cm or more in diameter. It is usually made of steel, cast iron and even aluminum specimens.
The most traditional woks are made with cast iron normally, and have a characteristic oval shape, which allows that in traditional stoves, where the flame is the one that heats the wok, can be cooked so that the heat is applied equally in the Zone of similar height, while the intensity of the same is smaller the higher the area in which we cook. This allows to cook several ingredients at the same time, thanks to the different temperatures that we have in the surface of the wok.
Apart from sautéing foods, the wok can also be used for frying or steaming by placing a bamboo (or mushiki) vaporizer basket on top of it.
The main advantage of the wok, apart from the materials used in its construction, is the concave part inside. This form provides a small region of intense heat in the bottom of the wok with a relatively small amount of fuel. The shape also allows to remove the food in different parts of the frying pan without there being any danger of it overturning or overflowing. Curved walls provide the possibility that no food is stuck on its surface, and if it does, the temperature is much lower than the bottom and therefore will not burn (resulting in a change of flavors).
The curve also provides a usable larger cooking surface versus western-style pots and pans, which typically have vertical edges. This allows large pieces of food burned at the bottom of the wok to be pushed up the gently sloped sides to continue cooking at a slower rate. While this happens another ingredient for the same dish that needs high heat is cooking in the bottom. The pointed bottom also allows even small amounts of oil for the pool. As such, large foods can be fried shallow, while finely chopped garlic, chilies, scallions and ginger can be essentially fried in both cases with very small amounts of cooking oil.
- Due to its characteristics and with the help of accessories, you can cook with different techniques: frying, sautéing, steamed, stewed.
- In the wok the heat is maintained and distributed evenly, allowing food to cook in less time, better preserving its texture, flavor and nutrients.
- In addition, it requires a smaller amount of oil than ordinary pans, making it a fast and healthy cooking method.
- Its high walls also allow the food to be removed without danger of overturning or overturning.
- By the distribution of the heat more concentrated in the bottom and smaller in the walls it avoids that the foods are glued on its surface and they burn.
Its main job is to sauté foods of all kinds, although it can also be used for steam cooking or frying, which makes it very versatile. Correctly employed, the wok allows to make a kitchen where the foods retain all their flavor and properties, thanks to the traditional technique known as "wok hei", with which it is possible to cook the food preserving all its flavor and texture, and this is so Thanks to the fact that the ingredients are always in movement and they cook on the outside and they remain with that texture that make it tender but "crisp" at the same time.
Use and Conservation Tips
The Expert's Opinion
The healthiness of a preparation depends directly on the ingredients used and the cooking technique. This element allows to elaborate dishes with little amount of oil and, besides, being a fast cooking it is possible to preserve better the characteristics of flavor, texture and nutrients of the foods. On the other hand, wok preparations generally carry a wide variety of vegetables as ingredients, which are a fundamental part of healthy eating.
Is it useful as a cooking element?
Yes, it really is very versatile, there is a wide variety of preparations that can be made with this element. From sautéing’s, stews, steaming, fritters, etc; so it is extremely useful for the current kitchen that requires little time and simple preparations.
What precautions should we take to make the preparations "light"?
The main precaution is to use a measured amount of oil if they are sautéed or choose to steam. The vegetables are infaltables and are the basis of all "light" preparation. If you incorporate meats you have to choose lean cuts and remove the visible fat before the cooking. To prevent the preparations from sticking together and as the cooking liquid is required, defatted broth can be added. Do not add more oil.
Do you have to be careful with the condiments that are used in Eastern cuisine?
Fresh or powdered spices have no greater contraindications, more than their use according to tolerance. Instead sauces like soy, fish, etc. Have a high sodium content and provide calories, so it is advisable to moderate its use. These sauces are contraindicated for people with hypertension.
Noodles with seafood, vegetables and spicy sauce.
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Mix vegetables with fried tofu and spicy sauce.
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