I have been looking around for a cast iron Wok for sometime . I liked the Staub offering but not the price $500 + . A friend showed me the link to the Victoria range of cast iron cook ware . I noticed they have a Cast Iron Wok that would suit my needs . At $119 a good price . I checked up on the company Victoria and found that they are a well established company manufacturing in Columbia .
I have used their Grain Mill in the past but was unaware that they manufactured cast iron cook ware as well . Well worth a look I think .
Why cast iron? Would it not be rather heavy to handle and have too much thermal mass? I thought the idea was to be able to toss or spin the pan without effort and change the temperature quickly according to the demands as the dish progresses. If you are looking at the 35.5cm it weighs 5.1kg! They say it is suitable for camping, well it will take the fire.
As for spending $500 on a wok (which I know you were not) - I suspect a carbon steel one from a Chinese grocer would do as well, or better, for $15-25.
We have a cast iron wok (not Victoria brand but very similar is size, shape and weight) and don’t use it because of its weight. With food it can become unmanageable when carrying, tipping or ‘flipping’ food due to its weight. We prefer the lighter steel ones (like that used traditionally in Asia) as they are lighter, faster to heat up and also easier to control the cooking of the food. They are also substantially cheaper.
Edit…the Victoria brand cast iron wok weighs in at 5.1kg ($120) compared to about 1.5kg ($15-20) for a traditional steel one.
Thanks for the input Peter @phb . I noticed they also have an open 33cm Chefs Pan . That would suit my needs just as well . Weighs in at 3.8 KG and is $55 . I like Mongol type cooking where you sear the meat strips and move them to the sides for the final cook . I used to like visiting the Khan Mongolian Restaurant in Melbourne ( sadly closed now ) and adopted the way they prepared the meat strips on their large cast iron open pans .
I had a cast iron wok which was made for me by a guy in Tassie . Unfortunately when my house was robbed some time ago the dish was taken along with all my fishing gear and shot gun and rifle reloading gear . Sad loss . A lot of irreplaceable items were taken .
See if there is a local store that sells Victoria brands so that you can go and see it in the flesh, pick it up (add something in store to pretend it is food weight) and see how the size and weight goes. 3.8kg is still a substantial weight to manage in the kitchen when hot and to use with food.
I have the Sovereign Hill ‘Soho Foundry’ spun wok and the frypan - they need a good seasoning when new but are solid for a relatively lightweight utensil. I bought them there at the time, some years ago, but more recently ordered from the same shop by email - they also made steel oven trays to order in whatever size you need, unsure if they do this still …
I’m a fan of the cast iron camp ovens and have a few - it has occured to me that it might be fun to use them in the kitchen but it hasn’t happened yet and the whole ‘put the coals on the lid’ is a bit hard to replicate indoors safely
Ours sees regular use for large stews, casseroles and the occasional soup. All done on the stove top (gas cooking). It does the same job as a CI casserole. For smaller meals the glazed CI cookware is sufficient.
Just don’t leave cooked food sitting in the camp oven once cooked. Clean out while still warm seems to work best.
The the other thing is to season it (we use spray on oil) after washing it if one doesn’t plan to use it soon thereafter as some cast iron cookware can get surface rust. While this is easily removed by a quick scrub, it can be a little bit of a pain if one is in a hurry next time it is used.
The alternative is using cast iron with a coating, such as enamel.
Having a bit of a think, alternative products could include:
I got a cheapy lightweight wok - (two, in fact, one with handle and a flat bottom, one without, came with a cradle) years ago. The trick with ‘thin metal’ is that it’s very responsive to changes in heat, particularly with gas cooking; the second trick is to clean and oil (!!) the wok immediately (before it rusts). I’ve taken to cleaning it before I eat, food still hot, it’s that quick. There’s ways of allowing carbon build-up on cheap woks; I’ve not mastered them.
To me, a heavy, cast-iron wok defeats the point of wok cooking. You’re more likely to get a ‘stew’.
My cheapie carbon steel wok has plenty of buildup, is virtually non stick now, but I have no idea how I ‘mastered’ getting it this way
However if I see a Cookpal Ren wok at Costco again I will be tempted because they are friendly to metal utensils and feel so nice in the hand. Will it make me a better wok cook? Not likely. Will it be more satisfying (non-quantifiable) as compared to the more mundane woks most of us have? For me, absolutely.
Like others here I cannot see the point to having a wok so heavy I would struggle to lift it with one hand. If I use heavy cast iron cookware it is for slow cooking or searing only. Light weight carbon steel is great for a wok if seasoned well. Easy to search for tips on how but simplest is to do seasoning at VERY HIGH temp with an oil that does not smoke at low to medium temps. I usually use sesame or grapeseed for convenience because they are readily available where I live. My fav wok ATM came from Aldi for about $20, and with aged seasoning it is totally non-stick and easy to clean. I use it for almost all my cooking.
BTW - If you are seasoning a new wok and want to get really high temps you might consider doing this job on a BBQ burner outside.
Welcome to the forum @catsatararat I intend to use the Wok for Mongolian type cooking . The wok remains stationary and the strips of meat are placed in the centre and moved to the outside rim as they cook . I like cooking with cast iron so that is what I have decided to buy . I already have a well seasoned light weight Arcosteel 36 cm wok for traditional stir fry cooking which involves a bit of tossing food action
You might like to have a look at the Solidteknics range of cookware. It is an Australian made & designed range made from solid steel - all one piece without any rivets or joins. They have a multi-generational guarantee. I have quite a few pieces & have been using them for around 3 years & absolutely love them. You need to season as in cast iron but after that they become “non-stick”. Website is solidteknics.com
Welcome to the community @Anne2 . Up until recently I had three Solidteknics Skillets . As you say they were excellent to use . I sold them to a Chef friend in South Oz last year when a lot of the regular stockists had no stock . Am looking at one of their open Chef pans at the moment . It is around 33CM wide so just might suit my needs .