Cooking With a Wok: 10 do’s and dont’s

man with chef's knife

Paul Ingram shares his “tips and tricks” for using a wok.

During our second class, I heard these reactions; “I didn’t know that.”, “Wow” and “I can do that now!” This was in reference to Paul Ingram’s list of “do and don’t” throughout his cooking presentation. “Wok” means “pan” in the far East and it can be used for almost all types of Oriental cuisine. However Paul insists that it needs to be used correctly. Here is his “Do” and “Don’t” list:

  • The best wok is just carbon steel with two handles. Avoid the ones coated with Teflon.
  • Lots of room is needed to move food around so buy one with a 14″ diameter or bigger.
  • For gas stoves, a round bottom with a holder is best.
  • For electric and induction stove tops, flat bottom is best.
  • Always cure your wok before using it the 1st time.
  • When done, use a bunch of lavender tied together to brush the wok clean.
  • Never wash the wok with soap and water. It removes the “cured” oil film.
  • Have ingredients washed, cut, and ready to cook. “Woking” is a fast process.
  • To stir fry, heat the wok to about 700 degrees before adding oil or food.
  • Use oil that can withstand high heat: grape seed, sesame, peanut, and safflower oil.
  • To stir, dip, and scoop all you need is a Chuan (Spatula) and Hoak (Ladle).
  • Stir frying is fast so keep the food moving all over the wok and up the sides.
  • “Woked” food continues to cook when taken out. Plan so as to not overcook.

Want to learn more? You can always find information (good and bad) over the internet. But, it’s more fun to experience Paul’s presentations. Maybe we can get him back next Fall.


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About Don R

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Retired teacher. Multiple successful business endeavors including screen printing / sporting goods business, executive director of a Boys & Girls Club, commercial fishing, and co-founding an alternative high school. Interests include family, hiking, cooking, Parkinson's research and developing an educational cooking program.