Steel or Cast Iron?

Steel Woks

The traditional wok is made from stainless steel. Its curvature concentrates the heat in the middle and quickly and evenly spreads it from there to the walls. As mentioned above, a traditional steel wok’s design aides the forming of different temperature zones within the vessel. Because of this, ingredients may first be sharply fried in the middle before being moved toward the walls to simmer until done. When stir-frying food – which is a very traditional Asian way of cooking – meat, fish, seafood and vegetables can thus be quickly cooked without releasing excess amounts of moisture, preserving vitamins and nutrients in the process. In addition to that a steel wok is easy to care for and much more manageable, as it is a lot less heavy.

Cast Iron Woks

Cast Iron has been used for ages in the manufacturing of cooking utensils. The advantage of cast iron is the fact that it stores heat for a very long time. Woks made from cast iron almost all have the flat bottom mentioned above (wok pans), in order to be able to place them on regular stoves or ranges. Because of this heat-storing capability relatively high temperatures may even be achieved on conventional modern stoves.  However, they do not form different temperature zones, such as steel woks do, which limits their usability when it comes to cooking techniques. That means, you may very well cook Asian recipes with them – but due to completely different heat patterns and sheer lack of power they don’t even come close to the aroma and quality  hat may be achieved with a traditional steel wok placed on a wok burner.