How to use a wok properly

How to use a wok properly

The Wok frying pan is a versatile helper in the kitchen. It will easily replace not only your usual frying pan but also a double boiler, deep fryer, you can also make soups and cook stews in it. In addition, the dishes in it are much more useful because of the short heat treatment time. But it is very important to properly prepare the product and learn all the secrets of its further operation so that the frying pan will last a long time.

What is a wok?

The classic Chinese wok has a round shape, a convex bottom, high and thin walls. It is made of cast iron or carbon steel. It has one or two handles.
In China, it is often cooked on special burners, in the center of which there is a recess in the shape of a semicircle. With its help, the wok pan becomes stable, and a powerful flame quickly and evenly heats the walls.

Why many people choose a WOK pan

It has a lot of advantages. The first is high cooking speed. On average, it takes up to 10 minutes. Thanks to this, the dishes are obtained:

  1. More usefulthan when frying in a regular frying pan. Thanks to this speed, more vitamins and other useful elements remain in the products.
  2. Not greasy. When frying, 1 tsp of oil is enough, and if one of the ingredients is fatty meat, you can do without it altogether.
  3. Flavorful, crunchy. Many people love such dishes, because they not only smell nice, but also have a delicious crispy crust.

When is a wok used?

Initially, it was used for cooking dishes in the “stir-fry” technique (translated as “fry and stir”). But it is also suitable in other cases:

  • for quenching ingredients (in this case, you can not do without a lid)
  • for deep-frying.
  • as a steamer.

In this pan you can stew or fry vegetables, meat, make side dishes

And some housewives have even learned to make soup in it. Thus, one frying pan can replace even a pot with a saucepan in your kitchen.

Tips for preparing a frying pan

Before you start frying, it is very important to prepare the pan. To do this, “apply” a special coating, which will allow you to get non-stick properties. Thanks to this, products will not stick to it even when frying on high heat.

This process is called “hoi wok”.

The instructions are very simple:

  1. Wash the container thoroughly to remove any dust or dirt that may have formed after transportation.
  2. Pour a little water into the pan and boil the water in it to remove the internal dirt as well. Make sure that the pan is not greasy to the touch.
  3. Put a clean wok on the stove at maximum heat and wait for the metal color to turn red. Turn the product slowly so that the walls are calcined.
  4. After that, you need to add a little oil-about 100 ml. It should cover the bottom of the pan with an even layer. Turn the wok several times so that the oil covers all the walls. The main thing is not to remove the pan far from the fire – it should not cool down.
  5. After 3-5 minutes and cool the wok under cold water. Then put it back on the stove and warm it up until the liquid evaporates.
  6. Pour in 50 ml of oil, spread over the entire surface and heat until smoke appears.
  7. Rub the remaining oil with a paper towel. Most importantly, do not forget to use a potholder, because the pan will be very hot.

Important point: after such preparation, the wok will not be washed with any detergents. Only clean water and a soft sponge are allowed.

Otherwise, after a couple of times of use, the food will just start pestering her.


The main application is fast frying, which is also called stir-fry, which translates from English as frying and stirring, but you can use it in the following way:

  • stew meat and vegetables;
  • use for deep-frying;
  • cook for a couple, using a special grill or steamer;
  • make soups.


Stir-fry is a method of roasting with constant stirring over high heat, for which it is better to use a wok with one handle. Food in the wok is prepared for 10-20 minutes, and at the same time remains:

useful. Foods do not lose vitamins and nutrients with such rapid heat treatment. Food cooked in a wok turns out to be healthier than in a regular frying pan since each type of ingredient is fried for 3-5 minutes;

Not fat. A tablespoon of oil is enough for roasting, and the process itself takes minutes; Plus, excess oil is absorbed into the walls of the wok, making the food lean.;

Crisp and flavorful. Meat and vegetables, when quickly fried, acquire an appetizing appearance, a dense “shell” on the outside and remain un-dried inside.


  • Prepare all the ingredients in advance. You won’t have time to cut vegetables or meat. Choose tender meat, pork neck or chicken fillet. If you will use noodles or rice in the recipe, prepare them before you start frying the first ingredients. 
  • Cut the food into strips or cubes evenly and small (1×2 cm). The harder the vegetable, the thinner it should be sliced. The larger the pieces of meat, the more likely they are to remain raw inside. So don’t ignore this rule. 
  • Use only vegetable oil for frying. It is best to use oils that can withstand high temperatures and do not have a cloying taste and smell. Therefore, butter, olive oil, 100% sesame seeds are not suitable for intensive frying, but sunflower oil is just right.
  • Separate cooking. If the ingredients have different cooking times, prepare them separately. Meat is separated from vegetables. Chicken separately from carrots. For roasting small pieces of chicken 1×2 cm until tender, it takes 3-4 minutes, for roasting sweet pepper straws until tender – 1-2 minutes. You can, of course, fry together. But in this case, put the ingredients in turn.
  • The wok should not be even half full. The more ingredients in a wok, the more unevenly distributed the temperature, the more likely it is that something will burn and something will remain raw. If there are few ingredients, intensive mixing ensures even heat distribution and air ingress.
  • Ingredients during frying should be constantly mixed from the middle to the edges. So the components of the wok dishes are prepared on a hot bottom and reach readiness on less hot walls. This allows you to save more useful substances and does not allow the ingredients to burn.
  • After cooking, the wok should be washed with hot water, using a soft sponge or brush for cleaning, then wiped with a paper or cloth towel and oiled.

Stewing in a wok

Before you start to stew food, fry them lightly using the stir-fry method. The process of quenching in a wok is simple. Cut the meat and vegetables into small pieces, cover them with plenty of water and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. You can add oil or some kind of cooking sauce to taste.

Wok roast

When deep-frying, it is important to remember that the oil should be strictly for deep-frying and there should be a lot of it (1/2 or 2/3 wok) to avoid burning. Deep-frying gives the product a crispy crust and does not soak it with oil from the inside, as it happens during normal frying. So, this method of cooking can be called useful.

We cook in a wok for a couple

Steamed products retain not only their natural color, smell, shape, and taste, but also most of the trace elements and vitamins contained in the raw product. This method is suitable for those who follow a strict diet or a healthy diet. For steaming, it is better to use a wok with two handles, so that it is convenient to place a double boiler or a special grill on it.

How to cook? Add water to the wok so that it remains 2-3 cm to the grate or to the bottom of the bamboo steamer. We place the products in a chaotic order and cover the steamer with a lid, if it is a grid, then you need to cover the whole wok. It is better to steam over medium heat for 30 minutes to two hours, depending on what foods you are cooking, periodically adding water.

Cook the soup in a wok

You can even cook soup in a wok. The principle of cooking is the same as when cooking in a regular pot. Or you can pre-fry the meat with vegetables in a wok and only then pour broth or water over everything, cooking for 5 minutes. However, this method is not as common as the others. And in most cases, the pan is really more convenient to use.

An ordinary frying pan loses to a wok in almost all parameters, and not only because it can be cooked in 5 different ways, but also because the products remain juicy, crispy, and toasty. And the dishes themselves get an authentic look and taste, step-by-step recipes of which can be found here. Once you’ve used a wok in the kitchen, you won’t be able to use regular dishes any more. And this is great because the wok alone takes up much less space than all the other dishes.

Secrets of cooking in a wok

To make the dishes in the pan crispy and flavorful, you need to follow simple rules:

  1. Prepare all the products in advance. Due to the high speed of cooking, you simply do not have enough time to prepare them.
  2. Cut the products into cubes or strips, they should be the same length and thickness. And the harder the product you choose, the smaller the piece.
  3. For frying, it is better to use ordinary vegetable oil – olive oil is not suitable. If you don’t like vegetable oil, replace it with grape seed or sesame oil.
  4. Before putting the ingredients in the pan, it needs to be warmed up properly. And during the entire cooking period, do not reduce the flame.It is very important that the frying pan does not cool down during cooking
  5. First, fry the ingredients that take longer to cook, such as meat. Then gradually lay out the products in descending order.
  6. Products during frying, stir constantly, moving to the edges from the middle. Due to this, the components will not burn and will retain more benefits.
  7. Immediately after cooking, rinse the pan with hot water.

Proper preparation and subsequent use will extend the life of the pan.

Sharing Is Caring:

Howtowise team has helped thousands of housewife to fix their home Problems with step-by-step tutorials Howtowise has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.