Wok ring is a very convenient option for those who want to concentrate as much as heat possible on the bottom of the pan, without using a high heat wok burner. Thus wok rings are very useful for making smoked stir fry on normal stovetops. But to get the most benefit out of a wok ring, you need to use it properly and also know which wok ring is best suited for your cooking habit. Here is a detailed article on wok rings.
What is a wok ring?
Wok rings are also called wok stands. This ring or stand is used to keep your round bottom wok pan stable and firm in its position over the flat cooking surface. The wok stand also helps regulate the heat direction and concentrate the fire on the wok pan’s bottom.
There are different types of wok rings in the market. Wok stands are made up of various materials, just like our wok pans. Commonly found wok rings are made of stainless steel, wire, carbon steel, cast iron, etc. So let’s see some most popularly used types of wok rings.
Types of wok rings:
You will find wok rings of numerous patterns, shapes, and styles, here are some of the popular ones-
1. Steel wok ring:
The steel wok rings are the most popular wok rings used globally. These rings ensure the stability of your wok pan and keep it in place. These wok rings also regulate the way of heat and concentrate it towards the bottom of the wok. Steel wok rings are also compatible with high heat cooking, and the material being solid, is durable and long-lasting.
If you are using steel wok rings for high heat cooking, then make sure to buy the one with holes and a good brand that ensures quality wok stands like this one from Wok Rack.
2. Wire Wok Ring:
These are the most stylish wok rings on the market. The wire wok rings can also be used for serving meals due to their design and functionality. You can efficiently serve your plates and platter using the wire wok ring. These are designed specifically for different wok sizes. Thus these are also known as multi-functional wok stands or holders. The wire rings are also commonly found made with steel.
3. Cast iron Wok Ring:
Cast iron wok rings quite similar to that of your stove stand. This can be used as an extension or replacement to the burner grate on the stove. It functions quite similar to that of others, stabilizes the wok pan, and regulates the heat. This is also one of the most active and most durable types of wok ring.
4. Wok ring for gas stove:
This is probably the most typical type of wok ring. The reason behind this is the widespread use of gas stoves across the world. This is wok is useful to hold the wok in its place on the open heat source that the gas stove provides. Here the wok rings both stabilize the wok pan and the heat source by evenly distributing heat concentration. These wok rings are almost similar to the cast iron ones. Here is a good wok ring for gas hobs.
When to use a Wok Ring?
You might be thinking if it is necessary to use a wok ring? or when to use one? Well, the answer is wok rings aren’t a compulsion when using a wok pan. But for a better cooking experience and great convenience, wok rings are a must.
Whenever you are using a round bottom wok pan, you must use the wok ring. It not just stabilizes the pan but prevents its movement, slipping off the stove or falling. You can also use a wok ring when preparing large meals or deep frying because the wok ring offers heat-trapping & concentration.
Where Wok Ring Doesn’t Work?
Woks ring possibly won’t work with the electric cooktop and induction or ceramic glass surface. This is because these electric, induction, and glass cooktops produce minimal heat; thus, using a wok ring will spoil the process. The wok rings will extend the height difference from the stove surface to the wok pan bottom, and using them on top of the electric burner will reduce the amount of heat reaching the pan.
So it is better not to use the wok ring and avoid using a round bottom pan on flat cooktops like induction. Also the glass surface will get scratched and ruined by a wok ring.
How to use a wok ring on a gas stove?
Using a wok ring is relatively easy. All you need is – take your wok ring, place it over the burner and then place the round-bottomed wok over the wok ring. Make sure the ring you use is compatible with the wok pan size and fits firmly. Usually the wok ring needs to be 4″ smaller than the diameter of the bottom of your wok pan.
This is the perfect size to concentrate heat on to the bottom and get the pan evenly heated. When done using the wok ring, be careful as it might have turned too hot.
How to use a wok ring on an electric stove?
Using the wok ring over the electric stove is quite similar. Place your wok ring over the burner area. Place the broader part of the wok ring down and the narrower part at the upper side. And now place the wok pan on the upper and vacant end of the ring. However, I will recommend you to buy a good quality carbon steel flat bottom wok for your electric stove rather than using a wok ring. As mentioned before the electric stove does not have an open fire. And wok ring only works with open fires.
How to choose a wok ring?
Now here is the big question, how to choose a perfect wok ring? Choosing the right wok ring isn’t a big deal just a good understanding of your wok pan, stove style, & types of the ring is all you need.
Remember, the ring material doesn’t need to match that of your wok material. It would be best if you chose a ring that is compatible with the wok pan. When choosing a ring, keep the following in mind:
The ring size:
This is the critical factor when choosing a wok ring. Wok rings are available in numerous sizes and so do the pans. The size matters as it holds the wok pan, so it is better, you choose a size that best fits the pan. Always pick a wok ring that has 4 inches smaller diameter than the bottom of your wok pan.
The market is full of options. You can choose the rings for multi-purpose use. The rings like wire rings and steel rings are available in stylish designs, which can also be used for serving the platters and plates.
Pros and Cons of using a wok ring:
Although a wok ring is a very useful cooking tool, there are few disadvantages you might face if you don’t know how to use it properly.
Pros of using the wok ring:
1. Stabilizing the wok pan –
The primary use of the wok ring is to provide stability to the wok pan. It is used explicitly with the round bottom wok pan.
2. Aligning heat concentration –
The wok ring traps the heat and concentrates it towards the bottom surface of the wok pan. Thus it is best suited for high-temperature cooking as the wok ring helps the pan get evenly heated.
3. Multi-purpose use –
Wok rings can be used for varied purposes, including serving the food, steaming, using for double boiling method, or keeping the hot pan and cookware aside.
4. Easy maintenance –
The wok rings are easy to clean and maintain. The stainless steel woks don’t rust. However cast iron wok rings need extra care.
Cons of using wok ring:
There aren’t many cons of using a wok ring. The few includes:
Wok ring may cause scratch over the flat cooking surface like the induction cooktop burner and glass stove surface. It can also damage the heating element in the ceramic stove. This is because the wok ring will trap the heat and concentrate it, which will reflect from the wok surface, and this excessive heating will damage the stove surface or the heating element inside.
It will also affect the cooking by reducing the amount of heat reaching the wok surface when used on flat cooktops or electric stoves.