A wok is a common type of cookware which is found in nearly all households. Whether you enjoy a stir-fried, deep-fried, or smoky flavored meal, a wok got you covered.
Woks come in various sizes and shapes, and they do the same job. They are made up of different materials, such as cast iron, carbon steel and non-stick.
You will also find one that has a flat-bottom and another that has a round-bottom. Everyone has their own opinion about what type of woks to use to achieve the best results. That said, each has its advantages and disadvantages.
So how does a flat bottom wok stack up to the round bottom wok? Let’s find out.
Flat bottom wok
Most of today’s woks are flat at the bottom and are more common than the traditional round-bottom woks. In an ideal world, they resemble a deep frying pan. They are mainly used in western countries such as the US and UK. You are likely to find round-shaped ones in Asia.
One of the biggest advantages of a flat-bottomed wok is that it is pretty versatile. It works on nearly all cooking surfaces. If you have flat gas hobs, this might be the wok you should have.
Flat bottomed woks either have an angular or rounded edge. They provide stability when on a flat cooking surface without wobbling as it makes direct contact with the heat. As a result, the heat gets evenly distributed at the bottom and sides of the wok, giving you an even cook.
You do not need to get a wok ring when using a flat bottom wok, and that’s an added advantage. Round bottom woks are very wobbly and therefore need support to keep them steady. But if you still doubt yourself with the stability, you can add a wok ring to keep it more secure.
For anyone cooking vegetables, steaming, this is the best one to have around in the kitchen.
Cons of flat bottom woks
When it comes to heating, the round bottom wok usually gets hotter than the flat one. It is because of how it’s shaped that makes it unable to distribute heat evenly up the pot’s sides.
High heating can cause warping at the bottom of a flat wok. Not all materials are prone to warping, though. However, some sturdy materials such as stainless steel and carbon steel may resist warping under the right circumstance.
It is not the best choice for stir-fried foods and might end with uneven cooking.
Using a spatula on this type of a wok is also not that easy when tossing food. Chances are you might accidentally damage the patina.
Food also easily sticks on its surface, making cleaning hectic after cooking. You get to take more time than how you would have if you were using a rounded one.
Round bottomed wok
A typical Chinese wok has a nice round shape and works quite efficiently with gas stoves. Usually, people prefer the wok’s original design because they are easier to use for stewing, stir-frying, boiling and searing. You get to do a lot with this cooking pot without any limitations. You cook more using less oil without worrying about uneven cooking unless you end up undercooking your food on your own.
Tossing food with a spatula is easy and does not cause any food particles to get stuck on the surface. Most restaurants prefer this one as it is quick in cooking. They do not warp as the flat bottom one does. A warping one will slow down your cooking and increase your budget for getting a new one.
When it comes to heat distribution, a round bottom wok has a higher heat threshold. The wok gets an even distribution of heat, and the cooked food does not get under or overcooked. As well, the round shape of the wok at the bottom provides easy movement of ingredients when you’re stir-frying.
The wok gets hot faster and maintains the heat from the bottom to the sides even when you take off the food from the burner.
Since we said tossing food is great on this wok, you are not limited to a spatula’s choice to use. The only spatula you should avoid using is metallic ones. You get to turn all the food quickly compared to flat bottoms.
To use this wok without having to worry about wobbling, you will need to get a wok ring. The round shape does not balance well on the stove and can cause kitchen accidents. A wobbly wok is risky and a step closer to pilling the cooking food on the floor or other surfaces. The wok from carbon steel, cast iron, wire, and stainless steel.
Cons of round-bottom woks
The biggest disadvantage that can make you rethink using a round bottom wok is when you own an electric stove. Even with a wok ring, people with electric stoves should stick to the flat-bottomed woks.
The flat bottomed ones are good options for people trying out the wok for the first time. As you become an expert, you get to know the ideal type suitable for your cooking needs. You can make every day a Chinese meal with any of these shapes in your kitchen.
Read more : Cooking Wok Vs Frying Pan
A wok says a lot about a person’s kitchen. It is good to know the cooking differences between a flat bottom vs. round bottom wok. The secret to having good cooking lies in the shape of the wok you are using for cooking. You get to achieve flavourful and tasty meals with just the right pot. If you own a gas stove, electric stoves, or flat burner, a flat bottom wok will do you great.
All said and done, it all boils down to personal preference. Different people prefer different shapes that suit their cooking style, budget and needs. Both give you a better cooking result and can fit in any kitchen. For beginner users on woks, differentiating the shapes and the uses should not be a problem anymore.