Thursday, January 31, 2013

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The Basics of Cooking with a Wok

Although generally associated with the production of Thai or Chinese food a wok is very versatile and handy kitchen utensil. Due to the intense heat of the stove the large surface area of the wok allows all ingredients to access the heat and consequently speeds up the process of cooking. This makes it an ideal option for those struggling to find time to cook or needing a quick, yet nutritious fix.

A variety of sizes are available but a wok should be selected on the basis of the amount of ingredients involved. If cooking for just one, a small wok will be sufficient whereas a cooking for a family may require more space for the increased amount of ingredients meaning a larger wok will be needed.

The order of ingredients
There is a particular order that enhances the taste of all the ingredients and ensures bacteria are not an issue. It's advisable to wait until the wok is hot before pouring in the oil. When the oil is covering the base add the flavoursome ingredients such as garlic and other aromatics. The oil will carry these flavours to the other ingredients that are thrown in afterward.

As usual then add meat or another other protein related foods and cook until semi-finished. Then finally add the vegetables and any liquid sauces or spices. Turn the heat down and allow the ingredients to mix, ensuring the flavours fuse together creating an extra tasty meal.

A wok can fuse the flavours of all the ingredients leaving a delicious taste sensation!

How to select the ideal wok
Any wok will do its basic job and the users will experience the advantages that include evenly spread oil and heat distribution. However different woks can produce different outcomes so it is essential that this cooking utensil is chosen on the basis of individual needs.

In Westernised areas the majority of cookers use an electric range and this makes a flat bottomed wok a more appropriate option. Round bottomed woks, although still effective, can reflect heat back onto the product and consequently damage it. It is essential to ensure there is a non-stick cover on the bottom of the wok as this will reduce the amount of time spent scrubbing the remaining ingredients from the utensil. However, soft cleaning tools should be used otherwise the cover will be damaged.

Some basic recipes
There are so many meals that are complemented by the use of a wok. Individuals just getting started with a wok should seek out simplistic recipes to get them started. Stir fries are an obvious selection and by use of a wok are made far healthier than if the ingredients were to be deep fried.

However, contrary to popular believe it is not only noodles that can be cooked through use of this utensil but delicious rice based meals can be made even tastier by using a wok. Adding a range of vegetables, aromatics and spices can create a colourful and nutritious dinner for the whole family!

From straight forward recipes to more complex cooking, woks can help accommodate many meals!

Purchasing a wok could benefit any individual as it opens up a whole new range of recipes making meal times much more varied and interesting. As well as helping in reducing oil and therefore fat making cooking much more nutritious for health conscious individuals the combination of flavours immediately makes the meal more tasty with no additional skill required!

Author: Sally Lindsey, social media fanatic, hobby chef and German kitchen designer. She has graduated as a Food design specialist and worked as a chef and interior design adviser for almost 15 years. Her ultimate goal is to open her own restaurant that offers exotic dishes from all over the world.

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