Lodge Cast Iron Wok is essentially a bowl. In a traditional wok, those are designed to be moderately light. It is meant to toss food with simple jerk of the arm. This allows Chinese Chef to cook food with blazing speed. Because our home fire has limitation that restaurant dont have, we can never really achieve the same result. Lodge is pretty ingenious in the way they designed their wok. They gave it the ability to store the maximum amount of heat from a small fire source. This review will take a closer look at how Lodge designed their wok. We will discuss how you can achieve similar result that professional chef have.
Lodge Cast Iron Wok Review Quick Summary
|Categories||Lodge Cast Iron Wok|
|Compatibility||Gas, Electric, Halogen, Glass Top, Induction|
|Country of Manufacturer||USA|
|Thoughts||A twist on a traditional Wok. It overcomes the limitation that we have at home and gives us almost authentic wok experience. Its heavy weight and flat bottom ensures that you get the maximum heat from your home range. While you cant toss food in it, a spatula will work just fine. I recommend the small 9 inch wok to double as a sizzling bow.|
|Reviewed Cookware||Lodge P14W3 Pro-Logic Cast Iron Wok, 14-inch, Black|
Why a Traditional Wok is Bad
Traditional Woks are made of Carbon Steel. Overtime, they develop a nonstick coating that performs like teflon. It is thin and light allowing food to be tossed easily. Because of its special shape and design, it performs best in a ring holder with a jet fire shooting out. Look at the video below to get an idea on how it looks.
Do you see the fire licking the side of the wok. You will have a difficult time achieving that at your home. Your home range will only heat the outer edge of the Wok. It will also loose heat really fast because of how thin it is. Futhermore, a traditional wok will not be stable on your cast iron grill. The round bottom will simply rock back and forth. For a home setting a traditional wok is generally bad. In the next section, we will start discussing how Lodge Wok came around these limitations.
Lodge Cast Iron Wok Design
Lodge cast iron wok is very different from your traditional wok. I would go as far as say its not even a wok. But, they perform the same function as a wok. I will talk about how the various aspect of the wok will affect cooking.
In the North of China, woks with wooden handles are popular. In the south, wok with two loops handles are more popular. Both do the same thing, they let chef toss food with ease. Lodge uses a double loop handle on their wok. However, the handle on Lodge Wok will not let you do that. First of all, the base is not round. Second is Lodge Wok is simply too heavy. You will not be able to toss food like a traditional wok. What is recommended is that you just use a chopstick or a spatula to move food around.
Since its an all metal design, gloves are always recommended when using these woks. They will get burning hot and you run the risk of hurting yourself if you are not careful.
The top of Lodge wok resembles that of a traditional WOk. It has a nice big bowl shape that lets you stir food with ease. As stated before, the bottom of the wok is flat. This design lets you keep it stable on the stove top. But there is another good thing about this design, its the contact with the fire. Since the base has the same amount of distance to the flame, the wok will maintain a more even temperature than a round bottom wok. You wont experience the same heat spot issue that other wok has.
Cast Iron Construction
In a traditional wok, thin and light is better. The fire from their kitchen more than makes up for that. Since we do not have the same luxury, a way to get around this is by making it heavy and thick. A heavy and thick pan will help you maintain the high temperature that is needed in a wok. If you use a light carbon steel pan, expect your food to steam rather than fry. Now the issue with this is that you cant toss the food. But that is a compromise we have to make.
Wok Hei or the breath of the wok is the upper most point of the wok where it gets the hottest. By tossing food at that point, your food will develop special flavor compound. Part of that is true and part of it isnt. When you see those fire shoot out of the wok, its mostly the oil vapor catching on fire. It does have a distinct aroma and it does impart flavor. But its not really catching the highest peak of temperature. You can actually stimulate this. Once you get enough oil in the pan and grease is in the air. Tip your wok or pan towards the flame. Expect to see some sort of flambe and smell a certain aroma. But take care when doing it, you dont want to burn your house down.
Wok a Bowl?
The Wmallest Wok doubles as a bowl, a very good bowl. People love sizzling food. Like they go crazy over it. If you bring out a sizzling bowl to their table, take a look at their face. For this reason, Lodge Wok is amazing. You have some stir fry or steak, heat it up before bringing it out. They will hear the sizzle and see you as a wizard. Trust me, this never fails.
Flair aside, these cast iron wok also stays hot longer. This means when they eat it, their food will stay hot and it will taste better. The 9 Inch Wok really doubles as the perfect bowl. I recommend getting it just for that reason.
Lodge Cast Iron Wok Thoughts
The way that Lodge Cast Iron Wok is designed overcomes the limitation of a traditional Wok. Its flat bottom shape ensures that it stays stable. The general construction and thickness of it also make sure that it gets hot and stays hot. Something that a traditional wok cannot do at home. While it does not function like a traditional wok, the result that you get from it is very similar. Just dont expect to toss food like a Chinese Chef.
I hope you like this Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Review. If you plan on getting the Wok, check out our Best Utensils for Wok Article.