This stove is the PERFECT SOLUTION for homestyle stir frying
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HIGH HEAT is one of the four essential elements for a successful stir fry. The other three are good ingredients, the right technique and the right wok i.e. cast iron wok which comes in my Wok Star Kit. If you’re not having success with your stir frying (e.g., soupy stir frys), you might not have enough wok hei, high heat. It’s not only high heat, you need efficient heat source and that’s why this stove is so PERFECT.
Most residential kitchens have electric stoves (and newer kitchens have GLASS flat cooktops as you see above). I did a lot of research and development on a “solid wok ring” solution for transferring the heat from the glass cook-top to the round bottom wok. There were so many issues to resolve, that when I came across this portable butane stove, I realized it was the perfect answer… “Ah yah!!!” (Cantonese for “Eureka”). See more under “For those with electric flat glass cooktops” below.
I’m recommending this Iwatani 12,000 btu portable Stir Fry Gas Stove. In Asia, we use portable gas stove setups successfully everyday and it’s perfect for the American kitchen. There are cheaper 7500 btu stoves out there, but the extra 4500 btu’s this stove gives you provides the extra “oomph” you’ll need for searing meat or heating the wok up quickly. The fit and finish (sturdy stainless steel casing) of this stove is so much better than the cheaper models available in Asian markets (or local hardware stores, their knobs tend to fall off or just stop working, I used to sell this version but stopped after all the problems), that I’m sure you’ll find it a much better value. It’s extremely durable and easy to clean.
My students who use this setup are extremely happy and now understand why they could never succeed in stir frying crispy, crunchy veggies or succulent meat on their electric cooktops.
You do NOT need a stand-alone wok station or a special propane high 40,000 btu gas hookup (like the Chinese restaurants who mostly deep fry) to accomplish a successful, homestyle stir fry. Do NOT let restaurant chefs or anyone intimidate you or listen to anyone who say you cannot accomplish stir frying at home. Millions of Asian people do it daily at home!
The Advantages of this Gas Stir Fry Stove are many:
– it’s versatile, practical, cheap, convenient
– you have instantaneous control of your heat.
– most importantly, you’ll have the best of BOTH heat sources… gas for wok cooking, electric for flat pan cooking.
– a “lifesaver” during hurricanes and power outages and it comes with it’s own plastic carrying case so you can take it with you.
– perfect for boating, RVs, and picnics (cooking under the stars is very romantic).
Butane gas is safe for indoor use, caterers and restaurants use these. The butane gas refills last about 2 hours and cost less than $2, the cheapest is from your local Asian market or from Amazon. Your actual stir fry only takes about 5 minutes, so you will get many meals from one refill.
Propane gas is not allowed to be used indoors. Fire laws require propane tanks to be outside of your home and if gas is piped into the house, it costs thousands of dollars to install. One of my students got a quote of $14,000 to retrofit her kitchen for gas. It was a “no brainer” for him to use my Stir Fry Gas Stove as an inexpensive alternative!
A Note About Your Heat Source
For those with residential gas stoves:
If you have a gas stove, then you’re ready to go and may not need my portable Stir Fry stove. Here’s a tip… you may get better results using a smaller (lower btu) burner on your stove (middle photo) because the higher btu burners (left photo) have the gas jets spaced wider apart so the heat is on the sides of the wok and not focused at the bottom. However, residential gas stoves like the one you see above are usually between 7,000-10,000 btu, so still less than the Iwatani. Many still experience the “soupiness” because liquid doesn’t evaporate as quickly and their veggies are not crispy, crunchy and colorful, so they end up purchasing my Iwatani 12,000 btu gas stove (right photo) and now a full fledged WOK STAR, what a difference!
You can set your wok directly on the metal grid of your gas stove. Depending on the type of grid, the wok may wobble a bit. That’s OK because when you stir fry you should be using your left hand in the wok mitt to steady the wok (lefties reverse it). If the wobble bothers you, check with your stove manufacturer for a “wok attachment” especially designed to handle the wok.
Another alternative is to buy an inexpensive wok ring from your Asian market but it makes your wok further away from the flame. Remember, high heat is ESSENTIAL so the closer you are to the heat, the more success you will have with stir frying.
Click here for more reasons why residential gas stoves still don’t give results you want!
For those with electric flat glass cooktops:
When using a round bottom wok, you cannot get the necessary heat for stir frying with an electric glass flat stove (see wok page). Part of the problem is the design of the stove (the “pulsing” feature of glass flat cooktops turns the heat on and off) and part of the problem is that there is only a small point of contact between the heating element and the wok. We did a LOT of research trying to get the round bottom wok to work on a glass flat cooktop stove using a solid wok ring but decided the best solution was this portable butane gas Stir Fry Stove!
This stove has rubber feet so it can sit right on top of your coil or glass flat cooktop without scratching the surface. You’ll now have the best of BOTH heat sources. My recommendation is to leave your Stir Fry stove setup on your electric stove so it is convenient and always available. If you create the situation where the wok is easy to use, I guarantee the cast iron wok will become your favorite cookware (we cook EVERYTHING in the wok).
For those with electric coil stoves:
It’s possible to use my round bottom wok on an electric coil stove but it’s a totally different technique. The secret is to leave the burner set on high and physically move your wok (take it off the stove) to control your heat. It’s not easy and I don’t like the coil screaming red hot.
That’s why the butane stove is so great. It’s instantaneous and easier to control. I have an electric coil stove in my home but I use the butane Stir Fry Gas Stove sitting on top of one of the burners.