Although the same cooking techniques can be performed in all woks, not all woks are the same. Woks vary in size, in shape, in the materials used to make them, and in the accessories packaged with them.
The classic round-bottom wok: a wok with a ring stand needed to support it, is appropriate for use on a gas range, but is not recommended for an electric range. For use on a gas range, place the ring stand over the largest burner with the narrow side up. This way the wok is elevated over the hottest part of the flame.
The flat-bottom wok: or stir-fry pan, which is well-suited for electric or gas ranges, is a variation of the classic design. The flat bottom allows the pan to sit directly on the heating element; no ring stand is needed. Even though they look the same and are used in the same manner, a flat-bottom wok is usually sold with a lid, while a stir-fry pan is not. You may purchase lids separately in most cookware shops or oriental markets.
The electric wok: and portability go hand in hand. With an electric wok, you can cook at the table, the counter, or almost anywhere you wish. However, because the wok's thermostat cycles on and off, the food may take a little longer to cook.
Continued on page 2: Choosing a Wok