If you're shopping for a wok, you might be considering purchasing an electric wok. You've probably heard Asian chefs prefer cast iron or steel woks. However, if you're an American new to the idea of cooking with a wok, you may be most comfortable with something that feels Western and familiar, so you may want to ease your way into Asian cooking with an electric wok. There are several benefits to using an electric wok that traditional Asian chefs overlook.
Traditional woks need to be seasoned, which can be a bit of a challenge to a newbie to wok cooking. Seasoning your wok means heating oil and seasonings to a high heat to create a patina, or protective coating, on the cooking surface of the wok. Nonstick electric woks already have a protective nonstick coating applied to the cooking surface of the wok, meaning you don't have to worry about seasoning the wok or maintaining the patina. You can also wash an electric wok with dishwashing liquid, whereas dish soap will threaten the integrity of that patina on a traditional wok.
Electric woks already come with a stand, so you don't have to worry about deciding if you want to use a flat-bottomed or concave wok with or without a collar for the stovetop ring. Electric woks are already assembled and can be used independently of the stove top, leaving those cooking rings open for other dishes while you use the wok. Many cooks feel they are less messy and easier to clean because of the nonstick coating and the fact that any splatters will get on the counter instead of on the stove top.
Electric woks do not heat to as high of temperatures as traditional woks, which some cooks are more comfortable with. An electric wok may be just the right transitional piece for your kitchen as you begin experimenting with Asian cooking.
A well-seasoned wok makes your stir-fries taste even better. Seasoning a wok can also reduce the amount of oil you use and make cleaning even easier.