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Old 04-10-2003, 08:50 PM
Sheellah
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

I've read the pros and cons of cast iron woks, and had decided to get the 14"
one. I also see an 11" available, but discontinued. The 14" really is a
monster. Is the 11" too small? It would be more manageable for me, but I want a
size for at least 2-3 servings. Anyone have one to comment?

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Old 05-10-2003, 12:12 AM
Kate Dicey
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

Sheellah wrote:

I've read the pros and cons of cast iron woks, and had decided to get the 14"
one. I also see an 11" available, but discontinued. The 14" really is a
monster. Is the 11" too small? It would be more manageable for me, but I want a
size for at least 2-3 servings. Anyone have one to comment?


I have a 14" wok, and it's really too small for more than 2 servings of
some dishes (things with rice or noodles in). You need a LOT of space
in a wok!
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Old 05-10-2003, 11:01 PM
Debbie Deutsch
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

B.Server wrote in
:

[SNIP]


Since you have made up your mind to spend a lot of money and heft a
lot of iron, I would go for the 14in. (though I cannot imagine how
much that sucker weighs) My 14in is the one I most often use and is
the smaller of the two I keep. Both are beaten mild steel from a
Chinese market and cost around $8-13.

IMO, any pan whose manufacturer suggests only using it over low or
medium heat, is unlikely to be applicable to Chinese stir frying. If
it is to be used for slow Chinese cooking, you would get a lot more
use out of a small "dutch" oven or braising pan..


Ditto on your comment about getting an inexpensive wok from a Chinese
market. My favorite wok cost $8.50 and is 14" wide and quite deep. It is
thin black steel and has a long handle sticking out. It heats quickly when
I put it on a hot burner and cools quickly when I take it off. This gives
a lot of control over cooking. I also have a small cast-iron wok from a
Chinese market. It is only about 12" wide and quite shallow. Unlike the
LC, there is no enamel on it. Even though it is relatively thin as cast
iron goes, this wok definitely takes more time to heat and cool down.
(This cast iron wok cost me about $12, IIRC.)

Like you, I have a larger steel wok for bigger productions.

FWIW, as far as I can tell, Chen-san uses the same kind of wok on Iron
Chef. You don't necessarily need expensive equipment to cook authentically
and well.

Debbie

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Old 06-10-2003, 03:52 AM
Sheellah
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

Thanks Debbie. My main concern is that a stainless clad, or thinner metal wok,
would cool down too quickly once the food was added, and the food would be
soggy. I wanted to go with the cast iron, as I felt that once heated, it would
retain the heat when food was added, and keep the sizzle. I once had a carbon
steel wok, and hated the rusting, and having to keep seasoning it. It also
looked quite unsightly.

I liked the Le Creuset, as it was enamel coated, and needed no real seasoning.
I think it's beautiful too! Got a great deal on it, so the price wasn't too
bad;-).


Ditto on your comment about getting an inexpensive wok from a Chinese
market. My favorite wok cost $8.50 and is 14" wide and quite deep. It is
thin black steel and has a long handle sticking out. It heats quickly when
I put it on a hot burner and cools quickly when I take it off. This gives
a lot of control over cooking. I also have a small cast-iron wok from a
Chinese market. It is only about 12" wide and quite shallow. Unlike the
LC, there is no enamel on it. Even though it is relatively thin as cast
iron goes, this wok definitely takes more time to heat and cool down.
(This cast iron wok cost me about $12, IIRC.)

Like you, I have a larger steel wok for bigger productions.

FWIW, as far as I can tell, Chen-san uses the same kind of wok on Iron
Chef. You don't necessarily need expensive equipment to cook authentically
and well.

Debbie



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Old 06-10-2003, 05:07 AM
Debbie Deutsch
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

(Sheellah) wrote in
:

Thanks Debbie. My main concern is that a stainless clad, or thinner
metal wok, would cool down too quickly once the food was added, and
the food would be soggy. I wanted to go with the cast iron, as I felt
that once heated, it would retain the heat when food was added, and
keep the sizzle. I once had a carbon steel wok, and hated the rusting,
and having to keep seasoning it. It also looked quite unsightly.


The way to keep a thin steel wok from cooling down when you add food is
to keep the burner cranked up high. It does no damage to the wok.

In discussing something like this, it is important to remember that
energy is conserved. When you heat a wok, you are storing energy in it.
When you add food, energy is transferred from the wok to the food. It's
the same amount energy no matter what the wok is made of, assuming a
given starting temperature for the wok and a given starting temperature
for the food.

If the burner temperature were the same, it would take the same amount of
time to re-add that energy to the wok. The only difference would be in
the size of the swing in temperatures. It would be larger for the thin
steel wok, since as you point out, it stores less heat.

However, this is not an accurate comparison. You can cook at a much
higher temperature using the thin steel wok. That means it will come
back up to temperature faster. In other words, while the thin steel wok
might briefly be cooler than the cast iron wok, after a while it would be
hotter, because you are cooking on a hotter burner and there is less
metal to heat.

Theory aside, there is also empirical evidence in favor of thin steel
woks. I've never had a problem "losing the sizzle". I have a nasty old
electric stove with one big burner. I turn it up all the way to high, so
the burner is glowing. It's probably not as good as a wok burner, but
everything sizzles away merrily.

(Of course I am cooking normal-sized recipes. I suppose that if you
threw in pounds of stuff into a wok so it was heaped up instead of all
the food being in contact with the surface, you would "lose the sizzle",
just like what happens when you crowd a western-style pan and gets
steamed food instead of nicely browned food. However I don't think cast
iron would solve that.)

If you just wipe out your steel wok there's no need to re-season it all
the time. it's the same principal as cast iron cookware (no enamel).

As for what my wok looks like, the food that goes on the table is more
important to me than the beauty of the pan that I use in the kitchen.
It's not that I don't care about appearances. My tableware looks nice;
the wok stays in the kitchen. Its somewhat funky appearance is like my
gray hairs - both speak to experience gained.

Debbie

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Old 06-10-2003, 05:50 AM
Debbie Deutsch
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

Phaedrine Stonebridge wrote in
news
In article 2,
Debbie Deutsch wrote:

(Sheellah) wrote in
:

Thanks Debbie. My main concern is that a stainless clad, or thinner
metal wok, would cool down too quickly once the food was added, and
the food would be soggy. I wanted to go with the cast iron, as I felt
that once heated, it would retain the heat when food was added, and
keep the sizzle. I once had a carbon steel wok, and hated the rusting,
and having to keep seasoning it. It also looked quite unsightly.


The way to keep a thin steel wok from cooling down when you add food is
to keep the burner cranked up high. It does no damage to the wok.



Oh yes it does. It will eventually warp the bottom. No problem on gas
but on a flat-top range, it will no longer function even adequately with
a warped bottom.


I've never had a problem with the bottom of my wok warping, and my big one
is at least 15 years old. However, if it does, no problem. A thin steel
wok costs about $10, give or take, if you buy it at a Chinese market. Who
cares if you replace it every few years at a cost of a few dollars per
year? (Once again, I will point out that I have never had that problem.)

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Old 06-10-2003, 05:53 AM
Debbie Deutsch
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

Phaedrine Stonebridge wrote
in
news

I still vastly prefer my Atlas wok on a gas burner but the
thinner-walled woks just warp too much for use on a flat-top or
induction range and I have yet to find one with a disk bottom except
for the DeMeyere which was too darn small and way too expensive. The
14 inch Le Creuset can easily be had for under $100. (retail is $200).


You can buy at least 10 thin steel woks in a Chinese market for the price
of one Le Creuset work!

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Old 06-10-2003, 03:47 PM
Vox Humana
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks


"Debbie Deutsch" wrote in message
1.230...
Phaedrine Stonebridge wrote
in
news

I still vastly prefer my Atlas wok on a gas burner but the
thinner-walled woks just warp too much for use on a flat-top or
induction range and I have yet to find one with a disk bottom except
for the DeMeyere which was too darn small and way too expensive. The
14 inch Le Creuset can easily be had for under $100. (retail is $200).


You can buy at least 10 thin steel woks in a Chinese market for the price
of one Le Creuset work!


I can see why someone might want the Le Creuset wok even if it isn't the
most cost effective alternative. However I was at a going out of business
sale at The Great Indoors this weekend and people were frantically snapping
up things like Le Creuset tea kettles. One woman was on her cell phone
consulting with someone about the LC kettles. I looked at them and they
appeared to be nothing more than inexpensive stamped metal painted to match
the rest of the LC cookware.



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Old 06-10-2003, 06:16 PM
Phaedrine Stonebridge
 
Posts: n/a
Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

In article 0,
Debbie Deutsch wrote:

Phaedrine Stonebridge wrote in
news
In article 2,
Debbie Deutsch wrote:

(Sheellah) wrote in
:

Thanks Debbie. My main concern is that a stainless clad, or thinner
metal wok, would cool down too quickly once the food was added, and
the food would be soggy. I wanted to go with the cast iron, as I felt
that once heated, it would retain the heat when food was added, and
keep the sizzle. I once had a carbon steel wok, and hated the rusting,
and having to keep seasoning it. It also looked quite unsightly.

The way to keep a thin steel wok from cooling down when you add food is
to keep the burner cranked up high. It does no damage to the wok.



Oh yes it does. It will eventually warp the bottom. No problem on gas
but on a flat-top range, it will no longer function even adequately with
a warped bottom.


I've never had a problem with the bottom of my wok warping, and my big one
is at least 15 years old. However, if it does, no problem. A thin steel
wok costs about $10, give or take, if you buy it at a Chinese market. Who
cares if you replace it every few years at a cost of a few dollars per
year? (Once again, I will point out that I have never had that problem.)



Most people don't notice the warping until they try to use it on a glass
or induction top which requires a rolling-pin flat pan. My Atlas
(carbon steel) wok "looks" pretty flat until you heat it on the
glass-top lol. The higher the BTUs and the thinner the metal, the more
likely it is to warp. If yours is absolutely flat, then you are very
lucky.

Most of the "thin" steel woks I have seen at Asian markets are round
bottom woks requiring a collar to use on gas and are, of course,
unusable on a flat-top range. Because you have not had a problem is no
indication that others will not--- especially if they are using higher
BTUs than you are. Moreover, one never sees such thin-walled woks in
use at any Asian restaurant. They use heavy carbon steel, usually, for
obvious reasons.

For those who prefer or who must get a heavier, rolling pin-flat bottom
wok, there is the small DeMeyere and the Le Creuset. For those who
don't, there are many other choices in addition to the $10 cheapies
(caveat emptor) including the Atlas and Joyce Chen (made by Atlas I
think) woks which have maintained great reviews by the pros. These
choices are always subjective and there is no one solution best for all.

..
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Old 06-10-2003, 08:12 PM
Debbie Deutsch
 
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Default Le Creuset 11" & 14" Woks

Phaedrine Stonebridge wrote
in
news

Most people don't notice the warping until they try to use it on a
glass or induction top which requires a rolling-pin flat pan. My
Atlas (carbon steel) wok "looks" pretty flat until you heat it on the
glass-top lol. The higher the BTUs and the thinner the metal, the
more likely it is to warp. If yours is absolutely flat, then you are
very lucky.

Most of the "thin" steel woks I have seen at Asian markets are round
bottom woks requiring a collar to use on gas and are, of course,
unusable on a flat-top range. Because you have not had a problem is
no indication that others will not--- especially if they are using
higher BTUs than you are. Moreover, one never sees such thin-walled
woks in use at any Asian restaurant. They use heavy carbon steel,
usually, for obvious reasons.

For those who prefer or who must get a heavier, rolling pin-flat
bottom wok, there is the small DeMeyere and the Le Creuset. For those
who don't, there are many other choices in addition to the $10
cheapies (caveat emptor) including the Atlas and Joyce Chen (made by
Atlas I think) woks which have maintained great reviews by the pros.
These choices are always subjective and there is no one solution best
for all.

.


Ah, I see what is going on. My stove has electric coils, so small
irregularities that might interfere with use on a flat-top range are not an
issue for me.

FWIW, as far as I can tell, my woks are about the same thickness as the
ones I see in Chinese restaurant open kitchens.

Debbie

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