The Wok Mon: The ultimate wok range for your home burner
It seems like every summer brings new and innovative products, like the Anova Precision Cooker and the Reversible Griddle Baking Steel. These are just a couple of examples of the great ideas that keep rolling in!
If you've ever tried to make a Chinese dish at home and failed, it's not because you're missing a secret ingredient. It's all about the heat. You need to use ridiculously high heat to make a good stir-fry.
I used to always advocate for cooking your food in small batches and letting the pan preheat in between each batch. It's not a perfect solution, but it's a decent workaround. However, grilling your wok is much better and gets it up to the temperatures it needs. It's great for summer, but what about when you want to cook inside?
There are many reasons to choose wok cooking, including the fact that it is a healthy option. Wok cooking uses less oil than other methods, so it is a good choice for those who are trying to watch their fat intake. Additionally, wok cooking allows you to cook food quickly, so it is a good option for those who are short on time.
It has a smaller surface area in contact with the food, so the food spends less time in contact with the hot pan.
The shape of a wok concentrates the heat in the center of the pan, so the food cooks more evenly.
The sloped sides of the wok make it easy to toss the food while cooking.
The shape of the wok allows for easy stirring of large amounts of ingredients, the thin walls make it responsive to heat changes, and the flared walls allow for easy tossing of the food. The vaporization of oil droplets from the heat of the burner below creates a smoky flavor.
You cannot do any of these things with a Western-style flat skillet.
The wok is only half the battle when it comes to cooking. The biggest constraint in a Western kitchen is the burner. The heat output and burner shape are the two main factors.
In restaurants, cooks use high-output burners with separate outputs for gas and oxygen, allowing them to instantly adjust the heat under their wok from zero to hotter-'n-a-kerosene-cat-in-hell-with-gasoline-drawers-on. At home, our burners are a good 20 to 25 times weaker. If we put too much food in the pan, we end up slowly stewing them rather than rapidly searing meats and vegetables.
One issue with using a wok is the arrangement of your burners. Take a look at your average home burner and you'll see that it's arranged in a ring. This creates problems when using a wok because rather than heating up the bottom of the wok, you end up heating the sides. More importantly, a lot of the heat energy that is being produced is being deflected by the sloped sides of the wok, which means that rather than heating your food, it's just heating your kitchen.
How does the WokMon work?
The WokMon is a device that helps you cook perfect rice every time. It has a built-in rice cooker that takes care of the cooking for you. All you need to do is add the rice and water, and the WokMon will do the rest.
The product is a domed metal ring that fits around your existing burner and has air vents placed in strategic locations. This allows the ring to redirect the flow of gas and change its shape from a ring to a solid, jet engine-like column. The column is placed directly under your wok, where it is supposed to be. The product fits under your normal stovetop grates on top of which you place a standard wok ring. The wok ring is a round piece of metal with vent holes that is designed to lift your round-bottomed wok above the cooking surface for stability.
Look at that flame! I've taken careful temperature readings using an IR thermometer of my wok through various methods of heating in the past. With a standard wok on a regular home burner, I could get it up to 650°F. However, once I added food, the temperature would drop rapidly to 400°F, before gradually making its way up to about 550°F.
On a grill, the starting value would be bumped up by about 25°F, and the final cruising altitude by 100°F.
The WokMon has a concentrated flame that gets the bottom of the wok up to 700-800 degrees Fahrenheit!
The WokMon did not maintain heat as well as the grill when food was added. The grill is better at maintaining a consistent temperature, meaning that you can cook in batches more effectively.