7 Reasons for using a Cast Iron Wok!

The most rewarding part of giving cooking classes and marketing my Wok Star Kit is hearing success stories! And every time this happens, I’m thankful to my mother who introduced me to using a cast iron wok. When I started teaching, I bought every ‘wok’ I could find to make sure I knew what was out there and what problems people were having and there were many. It took years for me to narrow down the reasons why the lightweight, thin walled cast iron wok my mom introduced to me was the best choice for wok cooking!

The best success stories are those who’ve been converted from using a frying pan with a handle and high sides they called a ‘wok’ on a flat glass electric stove, to using my cast iron wok with a portable gas stove setup.  It gives me so much pleasure to hear people’s feedback when they realize it’s not just the right wok but the right technique, right heat and good ingredients.

Bill having fun cooking in his "Eleanor Hoh Wok Star System" (love this) on their kitchen island!

Bill having fun cooking in his “Eleanor Hoh Wok Star System” (loved that he renamed it) on their kitchen island!

This feedback from new Wok Star Bill gave me such a tingle,”We are going to bring our Wok System to Wisconsin when we return to our Northern Home in June. In the summer we have awesome farmers markets with wonderfully fresh vegetables. We will make your Wok System the center of many dinner parties as we catch up with our old friends.

Every time we cook “The Eleanor Hoh Wok Star System” ( I just named it ) we are at awe with how well it works. It is not just the Cast Iron Wok or Butane Stove, it is the entire System that you have so thoughtfully put together. The tips on prep and clean-up, the laminated guide sheet, the first “recipes” and Cooking Class CDs, the basket with each specialized container for oil, sherry, corn starch, etc., the wok pot holders, the spatula, and of course the awesome cast iron Wok and specialized stove. All work perfectly but much more as a System. We see your years of training and experience in each thoughtful element. Thank you again for your care in putting this together. You have added a wonderful new element to our routine cooking and dining as well as a bump to our many dinner parties.”

Judy says, "We are wok stars!!! We used the wok the very next day. We made lettuce wraps with vegetables. Came out great. Your class was excellent. We would drive to the Miami area anytime you have an Asian restaurant night."

Judy says, “We are wok stars!!! We used the wok the very next day. We made lettuce wraps with vegetables. Came out great. Your class was excellent. We would drive to the Miami area anytime you have an Asian restaurant night.”

Here’s feedback after Judy and Bill had their wok party with neighbor, “Our dinner in Fort Myers with our neighbor was a huge success and even more fun. We will certainly do this again. These simple to prepare dishes are perfect for an informal dinner party. We did all the prep as a group with probably a little too much wine. Our neighbor Marla is a very accomplished cook and loved the entire event and mostly the food.”

When they see me in action during a cooking class or stumble onto my website, it’s like an ‘Aha‘ moment. The latest of these converts are Judy and Bill whose son and daughter-in-law gave them a Christmas cooking class gift certificate even though they live in Fort Myers, a two and half hour drive!  They finally came last Saturday and it was a blast to watch Bill (the cook) nod when I pointed out the following:

1)  electric stoves take a long time to heat up and cool down so you need to manually lift your pan off and on the stove to control your heat.

2)  materials ranging from carbon steel, nonstick, nonstick with enamel exterior so it looks pretty but not functional, stainless steel, heavy cast iron with/without enamel exterior, the list is endless don’t heat as evenly as a lightweight, thin walled cast iron wok!

It’s not fun cooking even if your pan looks beautiful or it’s sturdy or you’ve paid a fortune for it but it doesn’t function properly!

Cast iron woks give you the texture/sear, flavor and bright colors! It’s not fun cooking if it looks beautiful or it’s a weight lifting exercise because it’s so sturdy or you’ve paid a fortune for it but it doesn’t function well?

Bill realized why he hadn’t had success, “Finally, we have two Emeril Stainless Steel Wok/Frying Pans, one in Wisconsin and one in Florida. They work on an electric stove for a simple pea pod stir-fry. They work better on our zillion BTU gas burner in Wisconsin. They are essentially heavy frying pans with deep sides. We have used each one once in the last 10 years. We used our new cast iron wok twice last week. These usage patterns will likely continue. The SS pans cook slowly and heat up at the end of the cooking cycle. The Wok Star System will get this done right in seconds.”

3)  when I switched off my gas stove mid stream while I was stir frying the vegetables, there was no liquid at the bottom of my wok. For Bill, there was always a puddle so his vegetables were never crispy, crunchy.

4)  it’s not a ‘wok’ if it has a flat bottom with high sides, it doesn’t function the same as a wok! An authentic wok is round bottom because it’s a natural stir fry motion and the wide opening prevents food from falling out of the pan.

5)  a wood or silicon spatula and in Bill’s case, a wooden spoon is not an efficient tool to scoop under the food because it’s too thick!  So, basically you’re pushing your food around the pan, not stir frying!

6)  Judy and Bill couldn’t stop saying how delicious every dish was!

7)  I’ve already ‘seasoned’ the wok so it’s ready to start using right away and everything they need to be successful is in the Wok Star Kit Bundle!

Best part was showing them my easy-to-follow visual roadmap so they never need to use a recipe for weeknight cooking.  They loved the idea of using only 4 basic seasonings to marinade their protein and for making sauces.

If you have any of the woks listed above and not had much luck with wok cooking, take a look at the full explanation of why you need ALL 4 elements to be successful.

Feel free to ask any questions in comment below with problems you’re having in wok cooking, I’m happy to help.

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One Response to 7 Reasons for using a Cast Iron Wok!
  1. guilford pub
    November 26, 2014 | 11:27 pm

    Thanks for finally talking about >7 Reasons for using a Cast Iron Wok!
    | Wok Star Eleanor Hoh <Liked it!

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