Last week I kicked off my new series Mission: Appliances with the Food Chopper, a small but handy kitchen appliance. I’m happy to report that I have used it a few times since! This week my appliance of choice is considerably larger, and one that I am pretty excited about: a Wok.
The Wok that I officially own is the Rival Electric Wok Skillet. We got it as a wedding gift and it was probably one of the appliances I was most excited about using. Unfortunately, I’ve only used it once!
Wok Vital Statistics
- Brand: Rival
- Average Price: $55
- Power: 1400 Watts; Heats to 450 degrees F
- Size: 10 X 10 X 4 inches; 10 inch diameter
- Accessories: Glass lid, detachable cord, wire racks
- Complexity: Fairly easy to use
- Versatility: Used for stir-frying
- Cleaning: Very easy to clean, and removable wok pan is dishwasher safe
- Storage: Stores best in a big cupboard or on a wide shelf. Unit is pretty large
- Safety Tips: Wok pan gets very hot
- Pre-series Location: Deep cupboard; requires removal of several other pots/pans and appliances to reach
- Pre-series Use Level: Used once
As I stated above, I had only used my Wok once prior to this project. I can think of two reasons why. First, I have it stored in a very inconvenient place! It’s hard to reach and I have to remove several other pots and pans to get to it—annoying! Second, my one and only experience with my Wok wasn’t totally ideal. My veggies got overdone and oil kept splattering everywhere. I was pretty clueless about what temperature setting to use.
So this time around, I decided to be a little more careful knowing that hot oil can splatter and food cooks FAST. I used the Wok to prepare Thai Noodles, a sauté that includes rice noodles, veggies, and a wide variety of sauces and spices.
I turned on the Wok and began heating my sesame oil at a temperature of 350 degrees. I was planning on adding chicken and that seemed like a good temperature. Well, when I added the chicken, oil started spraying everywhere! I think the main problem was that the chicken was still partially frozen (water+oil=splatter), but I also know now that the temperature was just too high.
After turning down the temperature to 250 degrees, I had a much better time. I was quite glad I had prepared all my veggies ahead of time (carrots, mushrooms, peppers) because everything sautéed really really fast! The whole process only took a few minutes after the chicken was fully cooked and then I turned the heat off. The veggies were nice and crisp and the flavors had melded well.
Now that I understand how volatile and fast the Wok can be, I know to be prepared in advance. I liked using it because it seemed to cook everything evenly, the wok pan is very large and non-stick, the cooking process was extremely fast, and the unit was pretty easy to clean—I just washed the pan out with soapy water.
I’ve decided to store it in the same cupboard (I really don’t have another option!), but for now I’m leaving it closer to the front. We’ll see if other appliances compete for that spot in the future.
Do you own a Wok? How often do you use it?