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Wok Substitute?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have experience using a steel crepe pan on a flat top cooker? I'd like to use it in lieu of a wok. Cooks Illustrated recommends using a skillet instead of a wok for it's larger cooking surface. The concept makes sense to me, but in actual practice I was not at all happy using a non stick skillet because of the out gassing at reasonably high temps, and using a conventional pan-- way too much oil was needed to even come close to a decent result. I am curious about using a blue steel crepe pan like the ones Sur La Table sell. If it is properly seasoned hopefully it would be stick resistant enough. Hopefully one of those pans would be flat enough to use on this stupid cooktop. I am not sure if I want to use cast iron, it's discouraged by the cook top manufacturer and all the pans I've seen would require lapping (using an abrasive to flatten) the bottom to make them flat enough to use. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks everybody.
post #2 of 9
I don't think you'll find a satisfactory answer for those flat surface cooktops.

Get a wok and a propane burner.
post #3 of 9
In my experience, it is really important to get the right amount of heat to the pan, at the right rate. I agree on the gas stove.

If it were simmering something, it would not matter so much.
post #4 of 9
A Wok is just a carbon steel bowl with handles, nothing magic about it. To make it magic you need heat--plenty of it.

Look, a typical restaurant grade burner puts out 25-30,000 btu's, a Kwali, the burner that the wok sits over puts out 80-100,000 btu's--three times the power. To put things into perspective, a typical household gas stove puts out 12-14,000 btu's.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 9
Hey, you're talking my language! I'm a service tech in heating and AC. Heat transfer rates are very important for some things. I'm also a pretty good cook.
post #6 of 9
If you're putting ingredients in a wok and expect it to sizzle pretty quickly, a gas flame is best.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the repsonses everyone. Perhaps I should rephrase the question. Can someone tell me about the characteristics of carbon steel pans? Does it take a seasoning to form a reasonably non stick surface? How fast does it heat? How well does it retain heat?
The reason I am interested is that a carbon steel wok probably would work with modified recipes, trying for the best results using a flat top electric cooker, but a skillet in theory, could make a larger batch of product. I'm trying to gather enough information to decide if it's worth trying to figure out storage space for another item in our tiny kitchen. Thanks again.
post #8 of 9
I'm sometimes confused between carbon steel and all the other iron cookware (black iron, blue steel, cast iron), to me carbon steel looks more on the silver side when new.
I've never used new carbon steel cookware before but I've used plenty of beautifully slippery well seasoned carbon steel woks.

As for iron cookware, I've only so far used no name cast and black iron pans, skillets and camping ovens; the only branded item I have is a small 8"? DeBuyer blue steel saute pan.
For me 'thin' (non-cast) iron pan behaviour are that they; heat much faster than cast iron (obviously) and slightly faster than heavy based cookware, but heat retention is pretty low IMO compared to cast and heavy based and the smooth surface will make seasoning much easier and quicker. So far all the ones I've bought and nice and flat, flat enough to be used on the induction cooktop.
I'm starting to really hate my gas cooktop at home, my no name 12" black iron frypan is rather useless because I can keep this large pan hot enough to fully utilise the size of the pan for frying. I feel I can cook faster on a target top than my irritating home burner.

I personally don't like crepe pans, too shallow to use it for anything else and I don't feel the need for shallow sides just to release a crepe.
post #9 of 9
Think of the pan like a car battery, except that instead of storing electricity, the pan stores heat. The thicker the pan, and the material it is made of, the more heat it will absorb and subsequently give off. Gold and slilver absorb the most heat, followed by copper then aluminum, steel is down on the list.

Granny's old fashioned cast iron pan isn't so bad when you really think about it.....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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