If you love to stir-fry often, a wok is something you should consider having. Woks work differently on different cooktops. A gas stove is the most commonly used when cooking anything on a wok. It works well with both wok types – round and flat-bottomed. There is more than one type of gas stove, and in each, how you place the wok will vary significantly. In this article, you will learn how to cook with a wok on a gas stove. Without further ado, let’s get down to business.
Gas types for gas stoves
There are two main types – natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Let’s see how they differ from each other.
1. Natural gas : The common type of gas used in making the stove operate is natural gas or methane. Natural gas is considered more eco-friendly than LPG because it produces less carbon dioxide when burned.
2. Liquid Petroleum Gas : Also known as propane, LPG is a combination of different gases. It is less expensive, hence making it the perfect alternative to natural gas.
Types of gas stoves
It is better to know the type of gas stove you are using as they come in a variety, and each requires a different set up for the wok. Gas stoves are into three categories: a free-standing gas stove, a gas hob, and a cylindrical stove.
1. Free-standing gas stoves : This type of gas stove accommodates both round and flat-bottomed woks. They are easy to cook with and come with many burners for multiple cooking.
2. Gas Hob : The best wok to use on this stove is the flat-bottomed one. Due to its shape, it makes it easy to place on the burners and has no difficult time when cooking. Heat is evenly spread on the wok’s surfaces to give you better cooking.
It makes stir-frying easier without having to hold the handles for more support. On the other hand, using a round-bottomed wok on a gas hob stove will not balance well and therefore shouldn’t be an option when cooking on this gas stove.
3. Cylindrical stove : The final type of gas stove is the cylindrical-shaped one with a burner set on it. You are likely to find this gas stove on outdoor cooking. People who are adventurous and like to go for picnics or camping like to use it.
It accommodates any wok type without issues. Some cooking methods require you to give the wok support whole time as you cook. It, however, takes time to pre-heat a wok but gives you a desirable amount of heat, making the food cook evenly.
The types of wok
Woks are available as round and flat at the bottom. Each wok sits differently on the cooktop.
These are good for deep frying and stirring dishes. More heat gets concentrated at the bottom, making it ideal to use on the high heat a gas stove produces. Cooking with a rounded wok is easy, but sometimes it needs additional support when placed on a gas stove. Some gas stoves may require you to add a wok ring before cooking on it.
Woks with a flat bottom are very versatile to use on any gas stove. It does require stability with a wok ring to keep it balanced. It’s good for when you plan to do a lot of stir-frying on a gas stove. It will fit well on any of the gas stoves mentioned above.
You can use any of these cooktops to cook foods with a wok. Whichever is available will work for you with the correct setup.
The first step to cooking any food with a wok is to pre-heat the wok first. Prepare the wok for cooking by seasoning it and heating it.
Cooking on a gas stove
Seasoning is a very important part in wok cooking. Some are non-stick, but the common ones like carbon steel require seasoning before and after cooking. The manufactures coating needs washing if you are using a brand-new wok. Before you heat the wok, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil or any fatty oil to the wok and swirl. Spread the oil to form a thin coating on the wok using a paper towel.
Setting up a wok on a gas stove
A wok can be set directly on the gas stove grates when they have a flat bottom. Maximum contact with the heat helps you achieve your cooking needs.
The rounded one will call for a wok ring to balance well on the grates and allow even heating flow from the burners.
Placing a wok ring
A wok ring helps in supporting and adding balance to the round-bottomed wok. The ring regulates the amount of heat, ensuring the wok gets maximum heat to cook food. Place it on the flat gas stove with the larger part facing down and the smaller side touching the wok when placed on top. Some rings are for specific wok sizes, and you should choose the appropriate size.
Prepare your dishes
When you have set up a wok correctly on the gas stove, cooking should be easy. You can have your food steamed, fried, boiled, or even smoked. Whichever method you choose to cook, the wok will be ready for use. Use high smoke point oils when cooking.
When done cooking, remove the wok and clean it appropriately. Clean with dishwashing soap and a soft sponge, and don’t forget to rinse with hot water. Season it to prevent rusting and keep it safely for the next cooking.
Read more: How to Cook Vegetables in a Wok
A lot of Asian dishes require cooking on high temperatures with a wok. Most homes have gas stoves. It doesn’t matter which type of gas stove is available in your kitchen, it will always accommodate a wok. Place the wok as close to the heat as possible.
If you are using a round-bottomed wok, a wok ring is vital to prevent wobbling while you are cooking your food. Knowing the various gas stoves and woks will ease the cooking process. If you get the right wok that fits the gas stove, you will have restaurant-styled dishes at home.