Woks are the most important cooking implement in traditional Chinese kitchens. But guess what? The large sloped-sided pans are also one of the best multi-tasking tools you can pack in your RV kitchen.
Of course, if you enjoy Chinese cooking, or stir-frying in general, using a wok is a given. But if you think outside the box, woks have a LOT more uses than that. This is because of their large size and also their distinctive sloping walls that allow you to move food around the cooking surface without it spilling over and making a mess.
Another benefit cooks will find is that the large wok cooking surface features two distinct temperature zones. Directly over the flame will be great for searing, quick-cooking, and other high-heat tasks. Use the sloping sides to keep foods cooking but at lower, gentler rates.
If you get creative with all the ways you can use a wok, you just might be able to save space and leave some extra appliances or cookware at home in favor of this versatile and practical pan.
The best wok for your RV kitchen
When it comes to the best wok for RVers, you do not need anything fancy.
A good basic carbon steel wok, like the ones used in most Chinese restaurant kitchens, will serve you well. I’ve had mine for more than 40 years and it’s still going strong.
Most of the time you will use the wok on your RV stovetop. However, keeping the choice to simple carbon steel will allow you to also use it on a grill or even put it directly on the coals when outdoor cooking.
When wok shopping, be sure to get one that comes with a lid as this, too, will increase its functionality.
Much like cast iron, new carbon steel woks will need to be seasoned in order to create a nonstick cooking surface. Find directions how here.
How to use a wok in an RV kitchen
How can you use your wok in your RV kitchen? Let’s explore.
Yes, stir-frying is a given with woks, BUT stir-frying does NOT have to mean Asian foods!
Think beyond typical “stir fry” ingredients and you can make fajitas, sautéed veggie side dishes, quick sautéed meats of all kinds, and most any other type food typically cooked in a skillet over direct heat with little oil.
Woks make great vessels for frying all kinds of foods. Because of the sloped sides, you can usually use substantially less oil to get the job done than traditional fryers.
You’ll also save oil by holding foods against the sloped sides to drain with tongs or a slotted spoon, while letting the excess oil drain back into the wok.
Put a little water in the bottom of the wok and add a collapsible steamer basket and you have a way to effectively steam big batches of veggies or dumplings, or even meats, at once.
Even without an extra steamer basket inside, the wok makes a great way to steam clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster, and other shellfish. The sloped sides make it easy to stir the contents while cooking for perfect results.
Put water in the wok, add lid, bring to a boil and the wok takes the place of a large pot for boiling grains, potatoes, and other foods.
Because of the large cooking surface, there’s no easier way to make a big batch of scrambled eggs than in the wok. But wait, there’s more! You can also add a few inches of water to the wok, bring to a simmer, and use it to make poached eggs.
Make a big batch of wholesome popcorn in the wok. Put popped popcorn into a serving bowl and melt butter in the same wok.
Boil water and cook pasta, drain, use the wok to make a quick sauce, return pasta and toss for a quick one-pot meal.
You don’t even need to cook in the wok. It makes a terrific large bowl in which to dress and toss salads.
Mixing bowl stand-in
When you need to mix batter or big batches of recipe ingredients, the wok makes a good stand-in for a large mixing bowl.
Do you have even more uses for the wok in your RV kitchen? Be sure to share in the comments below.