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Choosing the Ideal Material for Woks: Iron or Stainless Steel?

Views: 153     Author: China CHANGWEN Cookware      Publish Time: 11/16/2023      Origin:

Welcome to the world of culinary decision-making! I will guide you through the important choice between iron and stainless steel woks. There are various materials available in the market and iron and stainless steel woks are two widely used options. Choosing your wok is crucial as it directly affects the healthiness of your food. So, which one is better for a wok, iron or stainless steel?

1. Iron wok vs. stainless steel wok

Stainless steel wok: Made of iron-chromium alloy and other metal elements, it has beautiful appearance, good thermal conductivity, strong and durable, is not easy to produce oil smoke, and can achieve a balance between heat, quality and weight. However, the heat preservation effect of stainless steel woks is poor, and long-term contact with acidic and alkali foods may cause chemical reactions. When choosing a stainless steel wok, you need to pay attention to its quality, because inferior stainless steel woks may have excessive chromium, which is harmful to the body.

Iron wok: Arguably one of the safest kitchen utensils available, it is made of pig iron and contains no other chemicals. It has good thermal conductivity and is very sturdy and durable. Using iron woks to cook food can help prevent iron deficiency anemia to a certain extent. However, iron woks are prone to rust, are relatively heavy, have a rough surface, and are difficult to clean. If rust is accidentally absorbed, it may cause harm to the liver, so iron woks require careful maintenance.

2. Stainless steel wok maintenance tips

The newly purchased stainless steel wok cannot be used immediately and needs to be cleaned first. You can pour an appropriate amount of water into the pot, add some white vinegar, heat the water, scrub the stainless steel wok with a soft scrubber, and finally rinse it with hot water. It is best to wash with warm water after daily use. Cleaning with baking soda solution can effectively relieve stains.

When using a stainless steel wok, it is best not to let the flame exceed the bottom plate to avoid causing the pot to turn black; also do not dry-heat the pot body for a long time to avoid damage.

Do not keep food warm in a stainless steel wok for a long time as its heat retention properties are poor. Stainless steel woks are not suitable for long-term storage of acidic and alkaline foods, nor are they suitable for decoction.

Take a closer look at the differences between these two materials:

Iron pots, due to different production processes, are divided into cast iron pots and wrought iron pots. Pig iron pot, also known as cast iron pot, is a product made by casting, and its raw material is cast pig iron. Due to the casting process, cast iron pots are usually thicker and heavier.

Wrought iron pots, also known as fine iron pots, are forged using cold-rolled plates and other raw materials. Wrought iron pots have excellent ductility and high toughness, so the pot can be forged relatively thin, making it lighter and more suitable for women. Wrought iron pans conduct heat faster and sense temperature more directly, so they perform well when stir-frying.

Wrought iron pots are suitable for stir-frying dishes and are commonly used in restaurants. With increased use, the appearance of wrought iron pans will become darker and glossier. If you are going to be doing a lot of boiling or simmering, cast iron pans are more suitable because wrought iron pans are usually thin and susceptible to corrosion that can cause holes and rust.

In contrast, stainless steel pans have similar overall performance to wrought iron pans because they contain rust-resistant chromium. However, stainless steel has a relatively low thermal conductivity, causing the pot to heat more slowly, which can waste fuel. Therefore, stainless steel is not an ideal material for making woks, and there are basically no woks made of pure stainless steel on the market. However, stainless steel has the advantage of being corrosion-resistant, which is exactly what you need in a wok. Therefore, stainless steel woks usually adopt a composite bottom structure, such as three layers of “steel-aluminum-steel”.

Both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. Iron pots require attention to daily maintenance, while stainless steel pots are relatively worry-free. However, stainless steel woks may have sticking problems during use, while iron woks become better and better with more use.

Material is a key factor when choosing a wok. The following are the characteristics of several common wok materials:

1. Iron pot
Advantages: Relatively low price and strong practicality. It conducts heat quickly and the food is cooked easily. Contains no other chemicals and dissolves iron to help prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Disadvantages: Easy to rust, need to be cleaned promptly after use to protect the rust-proof cooking oil layer.
2. Aluminum alloy pot
Advantages: It has the characteristics of fast heat conduction and light weight. Some woks with a three-layer structure of steel, aluminum and steel can effectively isolate the harm of aluminum elements to the human body. Beautiful and easy to clean.
Disadvantages: Aluminum is harmful to the human body. Pay attention to purchasing an alloy wok with a reliable brand and qualified workmanship to avoid dissolution of aluminum elements.
3. Stainless steel pot
Pros: Relatively lightweight, sturdy and durable. Good balance of heat, weight and mass. Not easy to rust, easy to clean and maintain beautiful appearance.
Disadvantages: The thermal conductivity is low and heating is relatively slow. It is difficult to find woks made of pure stainless steel on the market, and they usually use a composite bottom structure.
4. Medical stone pot
Advantages: It has the advantages of good appearance, health and safety, non-stick and oil-free. Using natural silicate minerals, it releases trace elements to help replenish what the body needs.
Disadvantages: Dry burning is not allowed, otherwise it will cause the pot to deform and crack. If the coating peels off, you need to replace the pot, otherwise it will affect your health.

JIANGMEN CHANGWEN COOKWARE & KITCHENWARE CO., LTD. is a high-tech enterprise integrating the research and development, manufacturing, export trade and independent brand sales of stainless steel cookware. Its products are exported to more than 100 countries and regions including Europe and the United States, and it is one of the world’s important suppliers of stainless steel products. Please feel free to contact us if you need anything!

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