Chef J. Kenji López-Alt tells NPR why the wok is such a fantastic cooking tool

Originally published at: Chef J. Kenji López-Alt tells NPR why the wok is such a fantastic cooking tool | Boing Boing


A wok is kind of like an Aga cooktop: technically one surface, but depending on where you put your food/pot, it can be seared, roasted, sauteed, simmered, or kept warm.


My wife got me that book for Fathers day. Just like everything else Kenji writes it’s great.

I have made a few recipies from it and they turned out great but the real strength of the book is the clear explanation of concepts and flavours to help you make better wok recipies on your own.

Can’t go wrong with another cookbook that recommends a blow torch! (his simple smokey bok choy is delicious).


Does the book say anything about using a wok on western gas or electric ranges? I’ve avoided picking up a wok worried it wouldn’t pair well with my stove top (and because I try really, really hard not to pick up each and every kitchen gadget I think of). It’s also why I’ve wanted to thumb through this book before buying it.

Woks also work well for shallow deep-frying!



I have an electric (halogen) as well. One tip I liked is for recipies which require you to change the heat just keep two elements running, one at high and one at low. That way you can quickly change temps. You might also need to do more smaller batches of ingredients (I find doing half the meat at a time in his recipies works well). Also the Joyce chen wok has a good sized flat portion on the bottom.

And a blow torch helps get the wok hei smokey flavour…

Its a bit harder to season the side of the wok but so far so good.

edit - minor spelling errors.


And steaming!

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Ooh! I forgot about steaming! That reminds me, I need to fix the lid handle on my wok.

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His roasted potato recipe is absolutely brilliant. They come out fantastic, especially if you use something primo like duck fat.


The general shape of the things tends to get you full on deep frying. As in the food is fully suspended in the oil, rather than cooking in part from contact with the pan.

If i have to fry inside, it’s for my money the absolute best approach.

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