Can you only use flat bottom woks for electric stove?
You have to be rather picky when you are choosing a wok for an electric stove. Not all woks are meant to be used with electric stove-tops which is why you should be careful about picking a model that is recommended by a brand for such stoves.
Woks with flat bottoms are ideal for electric stoves for the sole reason that they are better for heat conductivity. They come into direct contact with the heating element which leads to better flavors and even cooking. You could arguably use a wok with a round bottom as well, but you will have to use it with a wok ring which can take a longer time to heat.
You should always be careful about the material of the wok you are using because it will determine the heat distribution. Carbon steel woks are a popular choice when it comes to cooking on electric flavors. Professional chefs find that these woks lend a special, smokey flavor to their food. Other top choices are stainless steel and cast iron because they are efficient conductors of heat that are not prone to warping.
At the end of the day, flat-bottomed woks are definitely the better choice for an electric stove.
How to pick the best wok for electric stove: Things to consider
There are certain factors that you need to keep in mind when choosing a wok for an electric stove. As long as you consider these factors beforehand, you will end up selecting the perfect wok for your electric stove. Once you decide on the features you want in your wok, you will know how you want to make your final choice.
The material of the wok is an important choice that you have to make early on in the decision-making process. The material is responsible for how the wok will perform on an electric stove as well as the flavor of the food that you cook. Teflon-coated woks are a bad choice because they are unable to withstand hot temperatures. Flat-bottomed works usually have direct contact with the heat as it is. Moreover, you will want a wok that can tolerate high temperatures so that you can experiment with your cooking.
Carbon steel woks like the Bielmeier 12.5″ Wok Pan and the Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok usually receive the most love from professionals and amateurs alike. They happen to be on the inexpensive side and are fairly lightweight. These woks will season by themselves over the course of time as you cook on them. You have to be a little careful about rusting and ensure proper maintenance if you want your wok to last for a long time. Carbon steel also gives that slightly smoky flavor to the food that you find in restaurant dishes.
Cast iron woks also perform decently on electric stoves. They are heavier and can be a little difficult to manage while you are still getting used to the weight. However, they conduct heat well and have been traditionally used for wok cooking everywhere. If the weight is a real concern, you can opt for light cast iron that is much easier to carry. You will not have to worry about warping when it comes to cast iron woks, but you should be vigilant about any rust formation.
You could also consider stainless steel woks like the Willow & Everett Store Wok Pan with Lid for your electric stove. They are usually lightweight and not very expensive. The only drawback is that they can conduct heat too swiftly in some cases leading to burnt patches in your food. These woks also tend to be non-reactive which makes it easier for you to cook acidic dishes.
Diameter and overall size
The diameter of the wok is an important consideration to make if you know that you are going to cook food for more people. Another reason why you should be careful when choosing the correct size for your wok is portability. If you are planning to travel with your wok, it is a bad idea to go for a bigger wok.
Depending on your requirements, you can choose the best size for your wok and then narrow down your choices accordingly. Wok sizes usually range from 10 inches to 20 inches. Ideally, a 12-14 inch wok will be satisfactory for all your needs. The Kenmore Hammond Flat Bottom Carbon Steel Wok measures 14 inches in diameter, while the KYTD Carbon Steel Wok is just 12.5 inches in diameter. For regular usage, you might as well go for the smaller size and have a separate larger wok for parties so that you do not have to handle a big wok on a daily basis.
The handle of the wok is something you should not ignore. It might seem like a trivial detail but it will dictate your cooking experience. You will want a handle that is comfortable to hold when you are cooking. This is especially necessary for stir-fry cooking when you have to constantly mix the ingredients in the wok. To begin with, the handles should provide a good grip. Slippery handles can not only spoil your delicious food but they can also pose a health hazard if they slip from your hands and come into contact with your body while they are hot.
Additionally, handles should have an ergonomic design so that you find it easy to move it around the pot. If you are not sure about the handles you feel just from the pictures, you could also go to a store and check what suits you the best. Wooden handles like that of the Kenmore Hammond wok tend to get hotter and could be difficult to hold if exposed to the heat for too long. Some woks like the Bielmeier Wok Pan have a detachable handle so that you can easily use it in the oven.
If portability is something that matters to you when it comes to a wok, you should definitely opt for a lightweight model so that you can carry it with relative ease. You should check the weight specifications before you make the final purchase. Usually, the weight of the wok depends on the material with which it is made. Cast iron woks tend to be the heaviest, however you can get away with using a light cast iron wok that will perform in a similar manner.
Carbon steel woks tend to be on the lighter side and you will find that they are still very durable. If you haven’t used a wok before or are inexperienced in the kitchen overall, it is better to opt for a lightweight wok because you might face problems in handling heavy woks. You can deliver your best dishes only when you are comfortable.
Buying a wok pan is not always enough to get your wok cooking existence started. You need to get a hold of all the different accessories you will need in order to cook a wok successfully. Instead of going on a hunt for the perfect accessories, it is best that you buy a wok set with all the important things you will need. Most woks are accompanied by a spatula that you can use to stir the contents of the wok. Wooden spatulas are a popular choice since they are lightweight and easy to maneuver. They are also ergonomic and you will be able to use it comfortably over an extended period of time.
Another necessary addition to any wok set is a lid. You might get a wooden lid or a glass lid or a stainless steel lid depending on the model. The advantage of glass lids is that you can peek in from time to time to check how far the food has been cooked. The Willow & Everett Store Wok Pan with Lid, the Souped Up Recipes Carbon Steel Wok, and the Joyce Chen Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok come with lids and spatulas.
Durability and warranty
Durability is an important factor when you are choosing a wok because they tend to be long-term investments. Cast iron and carbon steel woks tend to be the most durable and sturdy. Not only should the body of the wok be strong, but the handles should also be constructed well. Heat resistance and durability go hand in hand when it comes to woks. If you are planning to cook at high temperatures, it is imperative that the material be heat-resistant or else you might find the wok breaking down.
You should check the warranty offered by a company on its wok to know how long you can expect them to help you if the wok needs repairs. Some models like the KYTD carbon steel wok come with lifetime warranty which speaks volumes about the manufacturer’s faith in the product. You should opt for woks that have a 25-year warranty at the very least.