Wok is Cantonese for ‘cooking pot’ and is an item of cookware that is widely used in Oriental cooking. Traditionally, woks have been used across Asia as a versatile kitchen implement and they can be used for all purposes from making soups or stews to steaming, poaching and deep frying. True woks have historically have thin sides and were made from carbon steel to allow for superior heat conduction. This level of conduction is necessary for stir frying which requires high heat and quick cooking. Woks are also widely defined by their shape; they have a wide opening and are deeper than a frying pan with sides that slope in. Although woks would originally have had a rounded bottom, many now come with a flat bottom to make them suitable for use on a range of hobs.
Chef's Pans & Stir-Fry Pans
A chef’s pan is similar in style to a frying pan but is deeper and has sloped sides. Though neither the depth nor the slope of the sides is equal to that of a wok. A chef’s pan is therefore a good middle ground between a frying pan and a wok. It is great if you want some of the benefits and versatility of a wok whilst still retaining some of the advantages of a frying pan. A stir-fry pan is similar to a flat bottomed wok but with a larger flat bottom. The sloping sides and wide opening more closely resemble a wok, but the larger base is more similar to a chef’s pan. Stir-fry pans also tend to be made from materials more similar to those of a chef’s pan and are often non-stick.