A cooking utensil
used in many styles of Eastern cooking
. It is a large, iron
bowl, and can vary from 40cm to 100cm in length. Recently, the materials used to make a wok
has changed, such as the inclusion of teflon
, but traditional woks
are made from brittle iron
, which gives it a hollow "clang"
noise when you strike it. The curvature
of a wok
is designed for maximum efficiency in the transmission of heat
when applied to its bottom. Since most Chinese
foods are cooked sliced and diced instead of in large chunks (e.g. steak
must be distributed evenly to cook the food
The bottom of a wok is flat, and oil and other condiments are usually added in a little pool at the bottom of a pre-heated wok before the food is dumped in. A wok is usually accompanied by a steel spatula, curved at the ends so food can be picked up easily, and a huge metal cover. Once the food is dumped into the wok, cooks use the large spatula to stir food around to make sure the heat is evenly distributed. Stir fry in a wok is when oil is added in.
A wok can cook food in other ways, such as steaming. Water is added in a pool at the bottom, the food is suspended inside the wok with a metal holder, and the wok is covered with the cover. With fish, stuff is often added to the water to give it flavor. Cantonese steamed fish (usually carp) is famous in China.
The design of a wok is essential to the sliced and diced style of Chinese food. The wok, along with chopsticks, which are designed to pick up small pieces of food, were designed around the way Chinese food is cooked. The wok is also extremely versatile, being able to cook many types of food in different styles.