Authentic Wok Cooking
When cooking with a wok the Chinese traditionally use extremely hot stoves fueled with wood or coal. Wherever else authentic wok cuisine is practiced, powerful gas burners provide the necessary heat, with temperatures you would also find in the furnace of a blacksmith. It is only with this kind of heat that you may achieve the wok hei (pronounced “he-i”), they incomparable aroma that only exists in authentic wok cuisine. Regular gas burners of Western make simply don’t have enough power to create these genuine aromas. But now Roaring Dragons brings you the right kind of power for real wok enjoyment – no matter if food professional or hobby chef.
Roaring Dragon Wok Burner Tables
Roaring Dragons are wok burners integrated into a sturdy metal-frame table. As such they are quite impressive pieces of outdoor furniture while they are all about usability. Because of their prodigal output power safety is always a concern: a solid and sturdy built that easily supports great weights makes for a safe workplace. Roaring Dragons are by no means improvised frames to merely support the burner itself. Instead they are designed to give you enough space to keep at the ready all ingredients and utensils you may need – crucial for the brisk pace of authentic wok cooking
Wok or Wok Pan?
Wok and wok pan are by no means one and the same. A wok is the traditional Asian cooking implement with a rounded, half-sphere bottom and two handles, sometimes with a panhandle. Because of its half-spherical shape the heat disseminates quickly to the walls, creating different zones with different temperatures. Obviously such an implement cannot be used on modern western ranges because of its rounded bottom. For this, special woks have been designed, that have a flat bottom and which rest evenly on the flat surface of a regular electric stove or range. These wok pans, however, do not generate the kind of different heat zones like a traditional wok does. Ingredients are thus cooked in the flatter middle part of the pan, but receive little to no heat from the walls. Authentic wok cooking that entirely envelops the food with a kind of heat blanket is not possible with these wok pans. In order to achieve the required all-direction heat and different temperature zones a traditional wok with a rounded bottom is the only way to go: resting on a stand and with the sides evenly exposed to the flames of a burner.
Preparing food on a wok burner is different. It is nothing short of a spectacle. At the same time it is an artful and highly cultivated form of harmoniously combining authentic Asian aromas. Cooking with a wok has a somewhat stylish and exotic flair – but mostly it is about a genuine experience in taste. No matter if you are a foodie or a professional chef, a BBQ enthusiast or somebody who works in event catering: preparing food with a Roaring Dragon is an event in itself while the taste is simply a revelation.
Cooking with a wok on a wok burner requires some practice and a lot of finesse. But you can easily learn this. We offer classes and seminars where beginners learn the basics and the tricks of the trade, while the more advanced may pick up new techniques and recipes.
Steel or Cast Iron?
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.
Seasoning a Wok
Before using a traditional Asian steel wok for the first time it needs to be properly seasoned, meaning it has to be dry-heated and cleaned with vegetable oil. For safety reasons this should be done with great care and, for the sake of the smoke this process usually generates, always out of doors. A brand new steel wok s usually coated with a chemical protection film that needs to be scrubbed off with detergent and a coarse sponge, Then heat the wok on your “Dragon” on the highest flame and after a short while the wok will start to take on color. When the wok is really hot and has changed color the flame is killed and the hot wok is carefully wiped out with a piece of cloth soaked in vegetable oil (peanut or sunflower oil will do). Here great caution is needed, because the hot wok may inflame the vegetable oil if you use too much of it or simply pour it into the wok.
Seasoning a Hand-Hammered Wok
A thorough and detailed manual for seasoning our hand-hammered woks is provided by our friend Sven on Disturbed Cooking