A wok is a deep, concave dish that is traditionally used as a cooking vessel in the Far East. These dishes are typically round and made of metal like iron or steel. Woks can be used to stir fry, boil noodles and other rice dishes, and even deep fry foods like Chinese doughnuts.
The Western version of this dish is called a saute pan and it is shaped more like an old-fashioned pot than the traditional wok shape. Saute pans provide less room for food to move around which means they’re perfect for slow cooking tougher cuts of meat with lower amounts of oil. They are also perfect for making gravy. Saute pans are available in different sizes including 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch.
saute pan vs wok: Their differences
Woks are made of iron or steel. Saute pans are made of cast iron, copper, stainless steel or aluminum.
Chun wok is made of carbon steel, which means it is more expensive than the other kinds. Cast iron saute pan has excellent heat retention and distribution properties. It has a weighty feel to it and conducts heat slowly, meaning that foods cooked in this pan will be cooked longer with less risk of burning or dried out food. Cast iron saute pans are also an eco-friendly choice because they can be used on all types of stove tops including gas, electric, induction and even open fire. This pan is easy to clean as well as durable enough to last many years if properly cared for.
Saute pans made of copper or aluminum are light-weight. They are often used as an alternative to cast iron and steel saute pans and they cost less than those. The best part about aluminum and copper saute pans is that they can be used to make sauces and gravy because the foods cooked in them will not react with the metal surfaces. Stainless steel is a versatile material; it’s dishwasher safe, durable, long lasting and easy to clean as well as maintain.
The fragility of woks can lead to breakage if they’re not properly cared for.
Woks are usually larger than saute pans, which means you can cook more food at once. The size does matter in terms of cooking. If you feel like making a whole chicken for dinner, having a wok with a small diameter would be better than a large one. Also, consider the fact that woks come in different sizes and can absorb more heat than any other shape. So, if you’re cooking delicate foods like beef and poultry (and even fish), it is wise to choose a little bit bigger saute pan instead of taking risks with a wok that might not be able to handle the extra heat and fuel at the same time.
Woks are deep and their shape is similar to a bowl. This design is perfect for tossing food around, which is why they’re considered the best choice for Asian cooking. Saute pans are shallow and wider than woks. They’re perfect for cooking delicate foods like fish because their wide surface area promotes more even heat distribution. Saute pans are also lighter than woks, which makes them ideal for slow cooking tough cuts of meat without burning or drying out the meat. Their shape provides less movement around the food so it’s perfect for slow cooking food at very low temperatures without any risk of burning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a sauté pan the same as a wok?
No. A sauté pan is much more shallow than a wok and doesn’t have the shape or material which makes it perfect for Asian cooking. Its metal surface allows you to make gravy, sauces, and stir fry food without the risk of burning anything.
Why use a wok instead of a frying pan?
The Chinese wok is made of high-carbon steel which means it distributes heat very evenly inside the dish. Also, it has a rounded bottom with few edges around, which makes tossing food easy. The design of this wok combines the best features of frying pans and saucepans because it is deep enough to hold food while shallow enough to facilitate quick evaporation of liquids. Frying pans are flat on the bottom with sharp edges which make tossing food impossible. Saucepans are deep, which means you can use them for frying and steaming but not much else.
Is Saute the same as stir-fry?
Saute is the French culinary term used to describe cooking foods quickly in a small amount of fat or oil. There are different ways you can use it. Saute can be used to quickly cook delicate foods like fish, veggies, and meat because these types of foods need less heat to cook than tougher cuts of meat or poultry. You can also use saute to melt cheeses quickly in the air, which is why this technique is perfect for fondue parties.
Can you stir-fry in a sauté pan?
Yes. You can use the sauté pan to quickly stir-fry food. Just make sure you use half as much oil as you would for a stir fry and take care not to burn the food.
Can you use a saute pan to steam food?
Yes. You can use the saute pan to steam foods like vegetables, fish and meats like chicken or pork quickly and easily. Since this pan is shallow, you won’t ruin the shape of your meal if it accidentally splatters on your stove top.