To use a wok ring, simply remove your grate on your stovetop and place the wok ring over the burners. This is only for round-bottomed woks as flat-bottomed woks don’t need a wok ring.
If you love cooking Asian dishes, it means you’ll have a wok or two in your stash of pots and pans. But if you’re having trouble cooking due to the pan wobbling too much, you’re probably missing an important element, the wok ring.
Without this, the wok will often sway and totter on your stovetop, especially if it’s rounded. And in worst cases, it will topple over, so all your carefully-prepared stir-fried meals would end up on the floor.
If this is your first time hearing of wok rings and wondering how to use them, we’ve got your back. In this article, we’ll talk about what they are, how to use wok rings, and which one you should choose. Let’s get started.
What is a Wok Ring and How Is It Used?
Wok rings or wok stands are used for keeping your woks stable since these often have rounded bottoms.
The rings work by keeping the pan firm, stable, and in place while cooking on a flat surface. Additionally, it also helps regulate the right heat direction while concentrating fire on the wok’s bottom portion.
When it comes to using one, it’s relatively easy. All you need to do is take the wok ring, set it over your burner, then place the pan on it.
Make sure the ring is compatible with the size of your wok and it should fit firmly. Usually, your wok ring should be four inches smaller compared to the diameter of your pan’s base.
This is the best size for regulating and concentrating heat to the pan’s base, allowing for even and adequate heating.
Once you’ve finished using the wok ring, make sure that it has cooled down before touching it.
Do I Need a Wok Ring for a Flat-Bottomed Wok?
Round bottom woks are often seen as better for more authentic Asian cooking. This is a traditional wok shape and allows for a better concentration of heat.
While that’s true, there are advantages to a flat-bottom wok. Mainly, they are going to be more stable on your stovetop and therefore you won’t need a wok ring to use them.
They aren’t great for stir-frying but many people see them as easy to use. It’s also true that flat-bottom woks are better for any type of electrical stove, including induction heaters.
That’s because there’s not enough contact between a round-bottom wok and an electric element to generate enough heat. For authentic Asian cooking, you need a flame to be touching your wok at all times.
If all you have is flat-bottomed woks, don’t worry about a wok ring. If you want to make the tastiest stir-fry with a round-bottom wok, read on.
When to Use a Wok Ring?
Generally, wok rings aren’t compulsory when using the wok. But to have increased convenience and a better cooking experience, wok rings are a great idea. So, it’s best to use these every time you cook with your wok.
Since the wok has a rounded base, it’s a must to use it with the wok ring. It doesn’t just stabilize the wok but it also prevents it from slipping off the stove.
Using the Wok Ring Effectively
The most ideal way to stir-fry your meat or vegetables in a wok is by using a gas burner. This is because its flames directly touch the wok’s base.
Here, the wok ring aids in directing the fire and heat where it needs to go for proper cooking.
However, avoid using the wok ring on glass, porcelain, or ceramic stovetop since these don’t produce enough concentrated heat. Additionally, wok rings are tough and heavy, thus, can scratch these stove top surfaces.
Again, to get the best results, ensure that the wok ring is four inches smaller in diameter than the pan’s diameter.
Different Types of Wok Rings
Here, you will find different types of wok rings in a variety of styles, shapes, and patterns.
Steel Wok Ring
Globally, these types of wok rings are considered the most popular. They usually are a solid band of steel that has several holes cut into the side.
Steel wok rings guarantee stability while ensuring that your wok is kept in place. It also works by regulating heat passages while simultaneously concentrating it on the pan’s base.
Additionally, these work well with high-heat cooking and since steel is solid, these wok rings are definitely tough and long-lasting.
If you’re already using these for high-heat cooking, make sure that they have holes and come from a good brand.
Wire Wok Ring
Wire wok rings are the most stylish, making them excellent as a multi-purpose wok holder. This type is often used for serving meals, plates, and platters.
The wire rings of these rings are usually made with steel but aren’t quite as stable or heavy as the other type of wok ring band.
Cast Iron Wok Ring
Cast iron wok rings are similar to a stove stand. You can use these as an extension or replacement to the burner grate on the stove.
Like other wok rings, it stabilizes the pan while keeping heat balanced. Also, these rings are the most durable.
How to Choose a Wok Ring?
Another question that people usually ask is how to choose the perfect wok ring. Fortunately, it’s not a big deal, and all you need is a good understanding of your stove and wok. From there, you’ll know which ring will work best for you.
Note that its material doesn’t have to match your pan. When choosing a ring, consider the following:
The market has a lot of wok rings you can choose from. There are multi-purpose wok rings, wire rings, and steel rings. Some even have stylish designs so you can use them for serving plates and platters.
The ring size is the critical factor when selecting a wok ring. Just like the wok, they’re available in numerous sizes.
It should hold the pan so you should use the best size that fits. As we’ve mentioned, a good rule of thumb is to have a wok ring that is around 4 inches in diameter smaller than your wok.
Safety Tips When Using a Wok Ring
Wok rings make wok cooking safe and more efficient. But of course, they only work when used properly. Be sure to follow all these safety tips when using a wok ring:
- Don’t handle the ring when it’s hot. Some tend to forget that it gets as hot as the pan and will take several minutes before cooling down.
- Wok rings are unnecessary for a flat bottom wok. If you use these together, the pan may slide off the edge and hot contents can spill and burn you.
- Use the right wok ring for the job. If you have an electric stove, note that a cast iron wok ring won’t work with it. Also, make sure that you’re using a wok ring with the correct size which is suitable for your pan.
- Ensure that the wok ring is secure and sits flat over your burner. If it wobbles, readjust your setup.
Why You Should Use a Wok Ring
Wok rings offer a lot of advantages to improving your cooking. Here’s why you should use one:
Stabilizing the wok
The main purpose of a wok ring is to keep a wok stable. It’s used for pans with a round bottom.
Aligning heat concentration
Wok rings trap heat and concentrate it towards the wok’s base. That’s why it’s best for high-temperature cooking since it helps make the pan evenly heated.
It has multiple purposes
Aside from cooking, you can also use wok rings for serving food, steaming, and double boiling. It’s also for keeping the hot pan and cookware aside.
Easy to Maintain
Wok rings are easy to clean and maintain, especially stainless steel ones since these don’t rust.
FAQs On how to use a wok ring
Can I use a wok ring on an electric stove?
Classic woks aren’t designed for use on these stoves. Electric stoves aren’t ideal for round-bottomed woks and wok rings since they don’t generate adequate amounts of heat for stir-frying.
Where don’t wok rings work?
Aside from electric cooktops, these won’t work on induction or ceramic glass surfaces. Not only will heat production be minimal but there is a high risk of scratching the surface.
Which side of the wok ring should face up?
Generally, a band-style wok ring’s wider side should be on the bottom. But with most rings, these are reversible and the side facing up depends on which fits your pan better.