Wok this Way! (Part 2 of 5) Selecting a wok

Written by Helen Fan

As mentioned in Part 1 ofrepparttar series, woks come in different sizes ranging from 10 to 32 inches in diameter, but a wok that's 11 to 14 inches in diameter should suffice for use in a household kitchen.

Woks come in 2 different bottoms,repparttar 148999 traditional round-bottomed woks, andrepparttar 149000 “westernized” flat-bottomed woks. Both have their advantages, but there're reasons thatrepparttar 149001 traditional wok lasted thousands of years in Chinese kitchens. The flat-bottomed woks do not heat as evenly. The flattened area creates a little angle aroundrepparttar 149002 bottom that makes it harder to manipulate your cooking utensil. Food may get caught in this area, becoming overcooked or even burnt due torepparttar 149003 lack of movement. This also could present a problem when you clean it afterwards. That little angle also increasesrepparttar 149004 likelihood that you will accidentally scratchrepparttar 149005 wok while stir frying. The flat-bottomed woks were designed for better balance on flat American stovetops, especiallyrepparttar 149006 electric stove. But there is a simple solution for that. You can purchase a “wok ring” that you put onrepparttar 149007 stovetop, and sitrepparttar 149008 wok over it for balance. We will go through that in more detail in Part 5, “Wok accessories”.

A wok is generally made of iron, copper, carbon steel, or aluminum. Carbon steel and aluminum arerepparttar 149009 better ones because of their superior heat conductivity, butrepparttar 149010 general consensus is that carbon steel is, by far,repparttar 149011 best material for a wok. C arbon steel isrepparttar 149012 most porous, and when exposed to high heat,repparttar 149013 pores open up to absorbrepparttar 149014 cooking oil, contributing to developingrepparttar 149015 "patina", and thenrepparttar 149016 elusive "wok hay" (covered in Part 3). If you go around Chinese restaurants and ask their chefsrepparttar 149017 kind of woks they use, an overwhelming majority will swear by carbon steel woks. The best part is that carbon steel woks are relatively inexpensive to buy. There is an old adage that says “you get what you pay for”. This is definitely notrepparttar 149018 case for woks.

The regional cuisines of Chinese cooking (Part 1 of 4)

Written by Helen Fan

With China coveringrepparttar immense land within its boundaries, it is no surprise that there are many regional variations in Chinese cuisine. Traditionally, Chinese cooking is divided into five styles of regional cuisines. It is headed byrepparttar 148998 3 great schools of Peking torepparttar 148999 north, Szechuan torepparttar 149000 west, and Chekiang-Kiangsu torepparttar 149001 east. Fukien and Canton, of lesser importance coverrepparttar 149002 southern region.

Peking:repparttar 149003 northern cuisine

The northern China presents a great contrast torepparttar 149004 rest ofrepparttar 149005 country. The North China Plain, edged by mountains torepparttar 149006 north, stretches away inrepparttar 149007 west torepparttar 149008 borders of Inner Mongolia, and is crossed byrepparttar 149009 infamous Yellow River . Due to its location,repparttar 149010 climate is harsh for much ofrepparttar 149011 year. The spring is dry and dusty,repparttar 149012 summer is hot and wet, andrepparttar 149013 fall is calm, dry, and sunny, whilerepparttar 149014 winter is long and freezing cold. It is dramatically subject to drought fromrepparttar 149015 failure ofrepparttar 149016 late spring rains and to flood whenrepparttar 149017 Yellow River, for centuries unstable in its bed, floods over intorepparttar 149018 low-lying countryside. Thus,repparttar 149019 lives and diets ofrepparttar 149020 people living in this region are dictated by these seasons.

Wheat isrepparttar 149021 staple food, as opposed to rice inrepparttar 149022 rest of China, due torepparttar 149023 harsh climate making it unsuitable to grow rice. Wheat flour is used to make dumplings, breads, steamed buns, noodles and large Chinese biscuits/pancakes. Meat is much more of a luxury up here, mostly eaten during festival times. Mutton and lamb are popular, most likely due torepparttar 149024 influence ofrepparttar 149025 neighboring Mongolians. Most northern family meals are dominated by vegetable dishes for economical reasons. Chinese cabbage isrepparttar 149026 most popular vegetable, as it is most suited to be stored overrepparttar 149027 winter. Dishes in general are much more plain, solid and nourishing. Soy sauce is used very generously. The use of leeks, onions, garlic, salted and pickled vegetables such as turnips, white radish and cabbages are important items in a rather monotonous diet.

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