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Without my wok I would be lost, I don't know how I ever lived without it. I use it more than any other item in my kitchen. I bought this version not because of Ken Hom but because it was a good sturdy feeling wok that had a flat bottom, this was handy as I had an electric cooker at the time. Without the flat bottom area, I couldn't use it so that was a must when I was buying it. It came with a little booklet with a few recipes in it, not that I have made any of them, sorry Ken.
I love my wok for so many reasons, when you use it there is a bit of weight to it which stops it from being too flimsy but also gives you something to grip hold of when cooking and flipping the contents. It isn't too heavy, but it doesn't feel that super lightweight though. I have had my wok for many years and it has seen better days, the inside is a bit battered and if left too long without use, it does gather a couple of rust spots.
I remember watching a cookery program once that told me not to actually wash the wok, it shouldn't be washed up and dried like normal kitchen items, it should be wiped clean with kitchen towel then coated with a little layer of oil and wiped over again, this is the best way to protect and look after your wok. Obviously I haven't done that or my wok would not be in the state it is in.
I only use wooden utensils in my wok and I do cook everything in it, from the obvious Chinese meals to spaghetti sauce, pasta etc. I tend to mix large meals together in the wok rather than using saucepans; the extra space just makes it easier to work with. I have even used it to cook corn on the cobs as I couldn't get them in my saucepan? The best feature of this wok is the extra handle; it helps to have the second handle when carrying it across the kitchen to dish up. Neither handle gets hot during cooking, although the handles on my wok are both wooden rather than metal like in the picture. The main wooden handle has a metal hook on the end for hanging up if needed, which in my kitchen it isn't. The fixings of the handles are sturdy as well, after six years they are not loose in any way and have not needed to be tightened.
The heat distribution is great and although it is marketed as a non stick wok, if the heat is too high and the contents are not moved around sufficiently, it does stick occasionally. I paid £12 for my wok from Debenhams at least six years ago and it is the best purchase I have made from there. Should I need to get another wok I would defiantly buy another one of these as this wok has done me proud.
Gok Wan recently had his own cooking show which featured lots of healthy Chinese recipes. I love Chinese food but rarely actually eat it due to the calories in Chinese takeaways, so I was really impressed by how healthy and nutritious the food actually was, as well as how easy making it appeared to be. One of the items used to cook almost every dish was a wok, which is why I bought mine.
Wok vs. Frying Pan
This is my first wok and before purchasing this I had just been using a frying pan to stir fry vegetables. The difference between a wok and frying pan is actually quite substantial - firstly, a wok heats up much more quickly and it is designed to be able to endure extremely high temperatures, resulting in the food cooking faster. Secondly, woks are a lot deeper than frying pans and have higher sides, which I find very handy as this prevents any of the food that I am cooking from falling out of the pan when I stir it around - a problem that I often had when using a frying pan to cook a stir fry. The high sides also help prevent oil spitting out onto the kitchen walls and making a mess.
The Ken Hom Wok
This particular wok is part of the Ken Hom professional range. There is a variety of different woks in this range which vary in shape and size. I am reviewing the Ken Hom professional carbon steel wok which measures 10 1/2 inches. This has an RRP of £16.00.
I chose this wok because I am familiar with the Ken Hom brand and I am aware that he is a Chinese chef. Because of this, I knew that the wok would be well designed and hopefully as good in quality as the professional woks used in Chinese restraunts. I bought mine from Amazon and paid around £12, which I was pleased with at the time but I have since seen unbranded woks for £4 in my local B&M! As this is good quality though, I'm not complaining and I do think that you get what you pay for. The wok is ten and a half inches in circumference and it is pretty deep. It is made from carbon steel which is quite thin and it's suprisingly lightweight. The wok has a decent sized handle which is made of steel and it has a wooden part which you grip. The wooden part is smooth and glossy and it's made from rubberwood, which is an eco friendly wood.
The handle is very sturdy and even when the wok is full of food the handle doesn't feel like it might break off when I am holding it in my hand, eg when I'm serving up the food. The handle has a metal ring on the end meaning it can be hung up, but I just store mine in the kitchen cupboard when I am not using it. The wok is available in two colours; black or silver. I opted for black as I was concerned that scratches/stains/burn marks etc would show up prominently on the silver. The wok came in a cardboard box with a leaflet. The leaflet has all of the information needed in it along with a few tasty recipes. The wok is really easy to use and I just place it on the hob and then add my ingredients. One thing that I've noticed is that the handle is slightly heavier than the wok so it can slant to one side and wobble very slightly while on the hob, however this is only a problem when it is empty.
The wok heats up extremely quickly and I made the mistake of adding just the oil first the first time that I used it to give the oil time to heat up while I chopped up the veg and before adding the rest of the ingredients, but in about 10 seconds the oil was so hot that it was spitting everywhere and smoking, so I had to turn it off, quickly chop the veg and then turn it on again. It is very important to keep stirring the food around constantly while it is in the wok, as it will stick to the pan otherwise and burn. This is actually marketed as a non-stick wok and it has a special coating, but food does still stick to it if it is not turned often, especially noodles. The wok cooks the food quickly and thoroughly with any juice or sauce from the food settling at the bottom. The handle of the wok doesn't heat up at all and the heat/steam that comes out of the wok goes straight up so it doesn't make me feel hot or sweaty when I'm cooking with it.
Cleaning the wok is simple and I've not had any trouble with stains or scratches, despite using a metal spatula to turn and stir the food in the wok. I fill mine with water and washing up liquid after use once it has cooled down and let it soak over night. This normally does the job in getting every last bit of oily residue etc off of it, but if it still looks a little grubby I just stick it in the dishwasher. It does take up a lot of room in the dishwasher but it is dishwasher safe and always comes out sparkling clean.
I have had this wok for around 2 months now and I am really pleased with it. It does not look worn and there are no visible marks or stains. This is a really good quality and good value for money wok and I highly reccommend it.
I have several woks in my kitchen because I tend to cook a lot of stir fry dishes and noodles etc. and I do feel that you need a wok to be able to do these dishes justice. Ken Hom obviously has a number of woks to choose from and the one that you choose tends to be slightly dependant on what your needs are, but to be honest, for me, the main determinant of what to choose is the size of the wok is. I have a few Ken Hom woks, but the one I am writing on is the Ken Hom Green Wok. I bought the Ken Hom Green Wok from Amazon (Amazon.co.uk) and although I paid £29.99 for this wok, I note that it is currently on offer for £25.00. I think this is a very good price because these woks do tend to last a long time.
I guess the selling point of this wok, despite the name, is the fact that this is made from recyclable products and so environmentally you can feel guilty free when you buy it. The main wok is made from 100% recycled and recyclable steel and because it is not coated then there are no unnatural products utilised in the manufacture of the basin. However, unfortunately, my experience of using other woks is that the coating is really important in making the wok non-stick, which is kind of necessary for a product that is largely used in stir-fry dishes. Because there is no coating on this wok, I find that I have to add extra oil to the wok in order to fry, and obviously this isn't ideal. However, that aside, because the basin is made of steel, it is very robust and it feels like it's built to last a long time - and that it will last a long time. It also doesn't scratch although I do recommend using a non-metal implement to stir any items in it.
The handle is made from beech wood taken from restrainable forests. The handle is fairly chunky and so it is comfortable to hold onto. Because it is made from wood, it doesn't get hot to the touch, unlike those woks with metal handles.
The wok is a good size and so it is fine for a family - and it is fine for my family.
Overall, while this wok has good points, I do think that I prefer woks which are coated and so I'm not sure I would recommend this.
I am one of those people who tends to spend some time in the kitchen, cooking away and sometimes experimenting on food stuff I've never tried before, (this is where a pet dog comes in handy when food experimenting goes slightly wrong as my dog eats almost anything, apart from fish, he just won't touch fish??)
Anyway, in my kitchen there is a vast array of many cooking utensils, from manual whisks to hand held blenders, food processors to digital scales and, which I have quite a few of, pots and pans in all shapes and sizes, all being used for certain cooking jobs in the kitchen.
One particular pan which I tend to use quite a lot, although calling it a pan may not be quite right, is in fact called a Wok, and for me is a bit of an all rounder for cooking on the hob.
Over the years I have indeed used several types of Woks, ones with a base as thick as a paving stone to the lighter version, one of which I am using at the moment, which have a thinner base for a quicker heat with a more sustainable quality, with this particular wok I am talking about is the Ken Hom Wok, who is a chef, apparently, with an OBE for services to culinary arts??? (what ever next?)
Firstly though, I do have to mention that I couldn't care less about the name logo'd onto the wok as I'm not one of those people who buys something just because it's been endorsed by a person who happens to have been on the small screen once or twice. The reason I bought this was mainly down to the fact that it cost less than a dodgy bottle of wine, being on sale at just under a fiver, although the full price is well worth paying out anyway.
So what about the wok then..?
Well, the wok itself is made of a thin, yet surprisingly strong, carbon steel and is a good 35 cm, (or 14 inch), in diameter
The base, which is flat, is quite chunky which does slow the heating process a little, but once it reaches the heat setting it does hold onto it very well indeed.
There is the non stick coating which really does come in handy, especially if, like me, your mind either wonders during the cooking process, or it gets a bit 'hectic' in the kitchen and things get, well, shall we say forgotten.
The handle, which is riveted to the wok, has a nice wooden surround which allows you to keep a good hold of the pan without any danger of burning you hands. Plus there's a little loop on the end so you can hang it from a hook in your kitchen, which is ideal for drying and storing due to the fact that it is quite a big pan to slot into a cupboard.
On the other side to this handle there is a rather sturdy second handle type which helps lift the pan when there are weighty contents in it.
Due to the fact that it has a flat base it can be used on any type of cooker, unlike some woks I've used that have a rounded base and can only be used on gas rings, other wise they tend to topple over.
So that's the wok then, is there anything else?
There certainly is as apart from the wok itself, it also came with a few added extras, although I don't know if all these types of woks come with the added extras. But I got a curved lid, some chopsticks, a small spatula and a wire mesh for draining foods and possibly holding food on to keep warm whilst you cook other things.
There was also a little booklet and a very handy recipe book.
The lid for this wok, although I Haven't used it that often, is made of the same material and has a little wooden knob on the top for lifting it off the wok. This little knob does a good job in keeping the heat away from your fingers but as it's small you do have to be careful not to touch the metal of the lid when taking it off.
The wire mesh is another fine addition really as it can keep larger portions of food in the pan if you have to tip any excess juices out. And as it sits on the edge of the wok whilst only covering half of it it can also be used to put food onto to keep warm, whilst you get on with your cooking.
For me this wok is not just for stir fry's, it's an all rounder and will cook other things as well, lending a hand in such things as 'Kormas',(for my wife and kids), and 'currys' for me, plus many other dishes as well.
In fact using this wok is quite a pleasant experience indeed, with the handle having a nice, solid feel to it so I'm not paranoid that it may just fall off at any time, especially when I'm 'flicking' the food around in it in the style of a professional chef, you know the way, pan in the air, in one hand, then a gentle flick of the wrist causing the food in the wok to jump slightly in the air, landing back in the wok to continue cooking.
And as the edges of the wok are a good height there's no trouble in keeping the food in the pan as you 'stir' or 'flick' it around.
Here is where I do have to mention that the edges are thin enough to actually slice your fingers if you're not too careful when cleaning around the tops. I slipped once and made quite a clean cut into my index finger, not too deep but deep enough, (no, I didn't cry), So do be careful when cleaning around the edges.
This flat base is not too thick as to take an age to heat up and yet it is not too thin as to burn straight through on the first higher heat. It is this thin (ish) base that make the oils added into it heat up quicker than a normal frying pan, then keeping the heat at a steady pace so you can get on with 'woking' you food...( is woking a word? If not it should be...).
And it's this flat base that allows this wok to be used on any cooker, which makes it ideal for all kitchens really.
As for cleaning, well this is a breeze, being a simple matter of a soapy swill in hot water, maybe using a plastic wire brush for those trickier bits. But, as long as you've not burn the food in the pan, a good swill through should suffice, then drain or wipe over with a cloth.
DO NOT use any metal brushes as this will damage the none stick coating and the wok will then be ruined.
As for the price, as I said, I managed to get this pan, together with all the bits that came with it, for just under a fiver, which I'd have been a fool to miss out on. But the full price for this cracking little wok is only £15.00 to £20.00, which in my books, and most kitchen books, is great value for money indeed.
It is a bit of an all rounder and is built to last with a handle that won't let you down at that crucial moment.
So, if you're after a new wok then take a look at this one, even if you're like me and don't care about who endorsed what and when they did it. This wok is a nice addition to anyone's kitchen.
In all, if I was given a chicken every time I'd be throwing it into this wok, together with some carrots, onions, chilli's, both red and green, a few sliced mushrooms, a dash of ginger and a slightly less dash of garlic... to make myself a quick and simply delicious stir fry
© Blissman70 2012
We bought our Ken Hom Wok at the beginning of this year. We bought it from a mail order catalogue and paid around £22 for it and it arrived very quickly and nicely packaged. Our last one was a cheap one from Asda and did not last very long at all.
This one also comes with a great spatula and a nice tight fitting lid which does not wobble at all, though to be honest we tend not to use the lid that often, preferring to keep it oncovered. We mainly use the wok for cooking stir fries as it is nice and deep (31cm) and we find that this holds the food great and it does not move up and over the sides as we cook like some of the more shallow woks or ordinary pans can do.
It is very easy to keep it clean and we always hand wash it in hot soapy water though I believe you can actually put this in a dishwasher if you want to. We leave it to hang up on it's little hook to dry from the hanger in the kitchen near the door, as we think this is more hygienic than using a teatowel.
We actually love the design of this wok as it does look very stylish we think and it goes well with the decor in our kitchen. Guests have commented on how shiny it looks and it washes up like new every time we have used it and does not have any marks or scratches on it at all. It cooks to perfection every time - what more can you ask for?
This review is also published on Ciao under name of sorehead.
We bought this wok from Matalan a few years ago and have since been reasonably impressed with it. It is quite large at about 14 inches and is a non stick version.
We first chose the wok as it we were sucked in by the designer chef logo as is the intention of the makers. I doubt very much that Ken Hom himself uses this style of wok as it has quite a thick base. The better woks I have used in the past have a thinner base so that you can really get some heat into your pan for stir frying. I have another wok that I bought from a Chinese supermarket and that one's base is probably half the thickness of the Ken Hom one, which makes it much more successful at stir frying. Having said that - as the old saying goes, a bad work man would always blame his tools and the Ken Hom wok is perfectly suitable for cooking stir frys. The traditional way of cooking stir frys is (as the name suggests!) to throw all your ingredients in the wok and then keep it all moving, which is very rigorous. I actually find that you can be a little more gentle with the Ken Hom wok and that if you leave things in there for a few minutes without stirring - something that I often do because I am easily distracted - they don't burn and stick to the bottom of the pan as quickly as they might do in a thinner based pan.
With regards to this, the Ken Hom pan has a flat bottom unlike the more traditional versions. This again is a feature that makes it much easier to handle and use, especially for less experienced wok users. Whereas a normal wok would have a rounded bottom that can't be left on the hob, this one can be placed down for a bit without it falling over. To be honest I think this is a necessary function because the Ken Hom wok is fairly heavy and I think you'd struggle to lift it and shake it around for much more than a mintue at a time.
The main feature of this wok that distinguishes it from others is the wooden helper handle. This is, as you might imagine, a small handle that is screwed onto the side of the pan opposite to where the normal handle is. This means that you have something to grasp when you are stir frying and it is a great, if somewhat unconventional, feature. It really helps with the shaking motion you need for good results - especially since this is a fairly large pan and might otherwise be difficult to manage. The handles are wooden so they don't get too hot, although if you leave them hovering over a high heat for too long, they will become too hot to touch obviously.
The pan is non stick and I have found it to be so, even when I have *ahem* overcooked things in it, they have come of with little more than a light scrub. It is also dishwasher safe, although I'd recommend giving is a quite wipe before you put it in. As it is so big, storing it isn't the easiest thing in the world - it takes up practically a whole shelf in our cupboard.
Like I said, we got ours from Matalan a few years ago and I seem to remember that we paid about £10 for it. A quick check on Google shows that you can get it for about £14 nowadays, although I'm sure you'd be able to find it cheaper elsewhere in the like of Amazon and so on.
Overall I'd say that this is a pretty good starter wok, if you are serious about Chinese cooking, I'd try looking in a Chinese supermarket for a more manageable (lighter and smaller) genuine one that will generally be a lot cheaper. But as a starting point, this one is fairly good and it does have some handy features.
I don't like to use frying pans as I prefer using woks. When I moved to Nottingham, my Mum decided I wasn't allowed to steal her wok so I had to go out and buy a new one. From Argos, I bought a Ken Hom Wok for £19.99. Now, this is a litter pricer than I like to pay for kitchen items as I usually buy Asda or Tesco's own brand products but considering I knew I would use it a lot, I decided to splash out.
The wok itself is 31cm in diameter and it is made from carbon steel. This is also a non-stick wok. The wok comes in a nice box along with a carbon steel lid, bamboo spatula, a leaflet that tells you how to care for the wok and a recipe booklet. The presentation of the wok and accessories was lovely and much better than other woks I have bought in the past. If you buy a cheap/er wok, they can sometimes be packaged very plainly only in a cellophane wrapping and without any accessories. At this point, not having used the wok yet, I didn't know if the extra price was worth it just for a nice box and a spatula which I already own.
The size of this wok makes it easy to cook all different kinds of foods. I find with frying pans that unless you use a splatter cover, you can get food and oil all over the place depending on what you're cooking. This wok is really nice and deep and having cooked a range of food in it from chicken to stir fry, I have found that nothing ever spills or goes over the edges. I think you would have to be a really messy cooker to achieve this. The handle to the wok is made from rubberwood so you have no worries about it burning or melting if your hob gets too hot or the flames are too high.
If you don't know much about rubberwood, here is a little info!
Rubberwood is a material that is eco friendly. Unlike a lot of materials used for furniture, the rubber trees this is made from are not cut down only for this purpose. The rubber tree generally lasts somewhere between 26-30 years and when it is at the end of its life, only then are they cut down and a new one is always planted in its place. Rubberwood also has very little tendency to crack or wrap making it suitable to use for a really long time.
Back to the wok!
Using the wok is extremely simple. Before the first use you will need to give it a quick wash in the sink but nothing too harsh. Add a little oil to the wok, putting it on a hot hob, and you are ready to go. The wok and the oil doesn't take long to heat up properly at all if you have your hob on full power. When you first add any kind of food to the hot, sizzling oil, it will smoke a little bit but not for long as the food will absorb any of the excess oil quite quickly.
As this is a non-stick wok, it is quite easy to clean. Unfortunately, this is not a wok that is suitable for dishwashers so all cleaning must be done by hand. The best way to clean the wok, I find, is to just use a regular dish cloth and a cheap kitchen scourer. Using metal scourers etc will destroy the non-stick coating so any metal products should be avoided. I have cooked some pretty messy looking food in my wok so far and thought a lot of it would be a pain to remove after it had cooled down but this wasn't the case. Although a couple of little parts did need some elbow grease, most of the food came off extremely easily. I didn't have to spend ages scrubbing this wok to get it back to looking nearly new.
I did think that I was spending way too much money on a wok to begin with but now, I don't think that at all. Yes, this was more expensive that what I would usually pay but I think it is really worth the extra money. The non-stick coating makes it extremely easy to clean and some of my older woks have been a complete nightmare in this area. The handle is durable and long lasting so you wont have to worry about it melting on you during cooking. The wok is the perfect size for me and it now saves spillages and oil splattered over my kitchen worktops. I would definitely buy another one of these woks should the one I have now ever die.
* This wok is suitable for these hob types: electric, gas, ceramic, halogen and solid hotplates.
I have had many wok's as I like to make stir fry's quite often but I always seem to get wok's in such a mess, the more I use one the worse state I seem to get it in, and more often than not I'll throw it out and buy a new one. A costly business I know, but the state I can get a wok into... I'm sure you would throw it out yourself, if it was your own.
~Ken Hom Wok~
The latest wok I bought, which has quite surprised me as I've had it a while now and still find it useable. It's a 31cm Ken Hom Wok that I bought from Argos, I paid £19.99 for it, which at first I thought was quite steep considering I get through so many of them. However the wok came with a carbon steel lid and a bamboo spatula. The wok and lid are are quite heavy, the handle of the wok is Rubberwood, I've no idea what Rubberwood is, I just read it off the instruction leaflet. which incidentally tells me how to care for the wok, maybe I should actually read this, then my wok's might last longer! There's also some handy recipes on there as well.
I really like using a wok rather than using a frying pan as I can slosh everything around easier, without all the contents spilling out all over the cooker top, as the sides of the wok are so much deeper than that of my frying pan and this makes it far easier to make sure the contents in the wok are cooked right through. The spatula is handy too, I have many different size spatulas, some plastic some wood, but I like to use the one that came with the wok, so I therefore keep it separate for wok cooking only. I rarely, if ever use the lid with the wok so that remains in an excellent, as new condition.
~Trying to take care of it~
I've been using this particular wok for quite a while now and I haven't really made that much of a mess of it. I read somewhere that the blacker a wok gets the better it performs/cooks food. Whether this is true or not I don't know, but I continue to wash my wok out thoroughly anyway, I can't cope with dirty things, and if I had to use a wok that was all burnt and black I don't think I'd bother. I do have to be careful when washing it though because of the non stick coating, I don't want to scrub that off, if I can help it.
This particular wok is suitable to use on these hob types: Electric, Gas, Ceramic, Halogen and Solid hotplates.
Finding somewhere to store my wok when not in use was a bit of a pain, we ended up having to put a hook up especially for the wok to hang on as it is very wide in comparison to my other pans and it needed it's very own place, luckily the wok comes complete with a metal ring on the end of the handle, making it easy to just hang up out of the way, and this is ok because at least I always know where it is, unlike many other items in my kitchen.
So I guess I would recommend this particular wok, it's very sturdy, well made and strong. It has lasted me longer than any of my others, so for me I guess it was a good buy and if like me you like the odd stir fry, then I wouldn't hesitate to buy this Ken Hom Wok from Argos for £19.99.
4 stars then for this Ken Hom Wok, quite a decent buy for me.
Thank you for reading my review which may also be posted on other sites.
It's not often I do a stir fry but when I do I always pull out my Ken Hom wok. A wok is a is a versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel originating in China. It is used especially in East and Southeast Asia. You can use a wok for other styles of Chinese cooking also but I am so not that adventurous and so I only use it for a stir-fry but it is great when it comes to making this quick, low fat meal.
This wok was yet again another gift from our John Lewis wedding list. They sell a number of Ken Hom woks but this one seemed the simpliest and easiest to use. I think it was also one of the cheapest at £35 which did not seem to bad to me. The wok is made from carbon steel so it is quite heavy but this is the way all woks are made as it is the pan that makes this a special way of cooking. The pan has a long handle on it just like a saucepan and a short handle on the other side so this does make it a lot easier to pick up.
The wok is very easy to use. It has really high sides so you can really cook a lot of ingredients which is good because in my stir fry I always have bean sprouts, noodles and lots of fresh vegetables. I heat my oil in the bottom first to make sure it is really hot and then add the ingredients. This is a really fast way of cooking as the meal is generally ready in about 5-10 minutes if you have no meat, a perfect quick dinner.
The wok comes with a traditional bamboo slotted turner which I do use although the food tends to stain it quite easily. The bamboo is quite a soft wood as so I think it soaks up the liquid and this is why it stains and doesn't really come clean but 4 years on I still use it and store it in the wok when not in use. The wok also comes with a tempura rack, a wire rack that hangs over the edge of the wok but to be honest I haven't actually every used this and I'm not really sure if I know how to use it so it just stays on the side of the wok when not in use. There is also a leaflet included with the wok giving you tips and recipes but I have never used this either although I think it is probably worth a look to get some good tips if you are not a confident cook.
The wok is non stick which is great as it makes it very easy to clean. However, I have heard that you are never meant to clean a wok or at least scrap it as all the tastes and flavours that are in the wok are meant to blend together and produce a unique meal and flavour everytime you cook but this may just be with a wok that you find in a Chinese take away and not one you use at home. Thankfully you will be glad to know that I do clean mine and it is dishwasher safe as well which is nice.
Get adventurous and make some Chinese food tonight!