Give Your Microwave a Rest and Cook Everything—Yeah, Everything—in This Perfect Wok

·3 min read
Photo credit: Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare
Photo credit: Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare

Shop $99, madeincookware.com

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Not going to lie: The microwave is the most-used tool in my kitchen. How? I blame modern life. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy at the end of the day to do anything but heat up some frozen Trader Joe’s meal for my family and open a bottle of wine—ideally screw top, thanks.

But when I’m feeling less lazy, I fire up the wok, which is the second most-used piece of gear in my kitchen. Short of the microwave, there really is no way to cook vegetables faster. And the tastiness to speed ratio is much higher. From spinach to kale, cauliflower to broccolini, the wok can cook it in minutes. That’s the nature of the wok—it excels at healthy-ish, high-heat, flavorful cooking, done quickly. It inspires me to cook because I know I’m going to be done in no time and it'll be dead simple to clean. (Dishes are another story.)

There are a ton of woks to choose from, but the Made In Carbon Steel Wok has become one of my favorites because of its durability and simplicity and just-right size. I practically never put it away. Maybe I should, but hey, as noted, I’m not going for perfection in the kitchen.

Photo credit: Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare
Photo credit: Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare

It heats up and cools down quickly.

The key to wok cooking is heat responsiveness. You want something that can lightly brown chopped garlic on medium, and then quickly hit a high temp when you throw in some egg noodles. The Made In Wok can do that, because it’s made out of carbon steel, which takes high temperatures like cast iron, but heats up and then cools down faster. And it's lighter. Unlike some woks, you won’t need Popeye forearms to make fried rice.

Shop $99, madeincookware.com

Photo credit: Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare
Photo credit: Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare

It's virtually non-stick.

The other magical thing about carbon steel is that, once you’ve done the initial seasoning—Made In makes it super easy with its seasoning wax—it gains a glossy patina over time. The more you use it, the more seasoned it becomes. It’s one of the few pieces of equipment that legitimately gets better over time. Sure, there are non-stick woks out there coated with Teflon and other things, but they tend not to be able to take high heat, which is crucial to wok cooking, and they prevent you from using metal tools, which is kind of crucial to wok cooking. And those with so-called natural non-stick coatings can wear out over time. Don’t bother with any of them. This one will last.

Photo credit: Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare
Photo credit: Allie Holloway & Timothy Mulcare

You'll use it every day.

It’s time to stop thinking of the wok as that specialized piece of equipment that you only pull out when doing some sort of stir fry. It can be a true utility player; use it a lot like you would a frying pan. Use it to sear meats. Use it to steam a whole fish or vegetables. Use it to scramble eggs. Use it to make fresh popcorn. Use it to make Thai-style fried eggs with a crisp bottom and a soft, creamy yolk. (Kai dow, as this style egg is called in Thai, is a true game-changer if you are bored of tepid sunny-side-ups.) Use it to heat up any leftovers that can be tossed around a bit—somehow leftovers just magically taste better when they pop out of a wok. Time to give that microwave a rest.

Shop $99, madeincookware.com

Photography and prop styling by Allie Holloway and Timothy Mulcare

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