If you happen to have a fascination for Asian cooking, especially oriental cooking – then lacking a wok in your kitchen means your fascination is incomplete. Woks are the only cooking tools that can satisfy the strict conditions of oriental foods, and give you excellent results – but it is important to choose the best one. Read on for our thoughts on the Lodge P14W3 cast iron wok.
You happen to love the possibilities that Asian cuisine brings? You are not alone. Choosing a wok that still fulfills your desire to ‘Buy American’ is a different challenge though; but the Lodge Company seeks to provide the best quality woks at an affordable price range.
What to expect
With the history of the company dating back to 1896, it has always been among the top production centers for cookware and kitchen accessories. The company has its headquarters in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, and is built on the principles of high quality cookware, American history, and family values.
The P14W3 cast iron wok follows in these footsteps, as its quality of material allows you to sauté vegetables and meats to the best results. It also gives the best set-off to the staples that are already present, and the contemporary touch makes it easy to clean and use.
Important features to consider
Comprised of 100% cast iron
Thee wok is entirely made from cast iron material, which is the best material for making woks and has been in use for thousands of years in Asian cooking. This means that its heat retention abilities and distribution are excellent, and it heats up quickly to help you make dishes within a short time frame.
Once it gets hot, the wok retains more heat compared to other materials, even at equivalent temperatures. The cast iron material also makes it strong, long-lasting and economical to use, allowing it to pass down many generations.
Ready to use due to seasoning
Seasoning is a non-stick lining that is usually chemical-free, and you can make it by baking vegetable oil into the iron and heating the cookware at very high temperatures. The process of heating the oil in the presence of metal will oxidize the surface due to breakdown of molecules, allowing the oil molecules to band to other chains and form a non-porous lining that is stick-resistant.
You will not need to do extra seasoning with this cast iron wok, as it already comes pre-seasoned. That also lends itself to other advantages, such as being easy to clean, as well as eliminating the dangers of having food stick to the surface. In fact, you will note an improvement in the polish of the surface after prolonged use.
Large cooking space
Regardless of the woks you select, the concave properties are very important to consider, especially the height, diameter, and shape. For instance, a glass top stove will need a wok that is not too deep, as it can pose problems during heat transfer since it retains most heat at its bottom. On the other hand, a cast iron wok is quite versatile, and this proves to be quite generous in terms of the space it offers your ingredients.
The vessel itself is quite large, and this allows it to be an excellent size if you are preparing generous amounts of food for your recipes, such as a family-size meal. The thickness is 14 inches, while the base measures 5.5 inches – and this will fit well on a variety of stovetops, which include halogen, induction, gas, and electric.
The diameter also permits the addition of significant amounts of food, while the surface area is large enough to work with the excellent heating aspects of cast iron to prepare a variety of foods.
Large hoop handles
The wok also includes two large loop handles, which happen to be Cantonese in their design, and this will enable you to flip it easily. The handles will add much-needed support, while ensuring it can withstand larger food potions.
They are also comprised of cast iron, as the rest of the wok, so they are break-resistant and strong, in addition to being safe for oven use. The handles are also ergonomic in design and allow for a comfortable grip, though the disadvantage is their tendency to get very hot – so you will need a pair of mitts, kitchen gloves, or towels in order to protect your fingers.
Easy to clean (though not immiscible)
The pre-seasoning feature of this wok permits it to have the same advantages of other non-stick woks – it is very easy to clean up after use. Note though, that this wok is not dishwasher-safe, although you will not need to wash it using any soap. In fact, the use of harsh detergents will degrade the quality of the surface polish, so hand-wash it. After you are done with your cooking, you can use hot water and a smooth nylon brush to wipe off any bits of stuck food particles.
When dealing with the most stubborn specks and grime, you can use the wok to boil water for some minutes, which will then detach the remains and make it easier to clean. After this, tumble-dry it immediately, and then apply a gentle coat of oil in the interior while it is still warm.
As long as you preserve this ‘seasoning’ layer, you can trust this wok to last you many decades of use, as care will always prolong its lifespan.
- The cast iron composition makes it have the best properties in terms of heat retention and distribution
- Durable and strong, which can withstand heavy-duty use
- It has a natural release nonstick surface that makes it easy to clean
- Flat bottom allows for its use on a variety of stove tops
- Large and accommodating
- Handles have a comfortable design and grip
- It rusts instantly when you expose it to acidic foods or water
- Heavy due to cast iron material
The modern design and heat properties allow the Lodge P14W3 wok to stand out among the best woks for general kitchen cooking, and it is capable of lasting decades as long as you take care of it.