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Home Cooking 11

Troubleshooting my Wok Issues

Westminstress | Apr 3, 2014 08:41 AM

I recently acquired my first wok -- a 14", flat-bottomed carbon steel model (such as is often recommended for residential stoves). After a few months using the wok, I am having major issues maintaining appropriate temperatures for stir-frying. Basically, even starting with a smoking hot wok, as soon as I put the protein or main veg into the wok, the temperature drops significantly and doesn't seem to climb back up again. I think the issue is my stove -- it is a vintage range and I think the BTU output of my burners is less than normal. I do try really hard not to overload the wok with too much food at once per recommendations from Grace Young and others. But still I feel that food is not searing and liquids do not reduce appropriately when I stirfry.

Prior to owning the wok, I used a cast iron or stainless steel skillet for stir-frying. In these pans, I would have no problem maintaining adequate temperatures, but the food would always stick to the bottom of the pan. I don't have that problem with the wok and don't want to go back to using the skillet.

Would a cast iron wok retain and hold temperature better than carbon steel? Is there anything else I should try to maintain appropriate temperature when I stirfry?

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