Woks are the most important cooking implement in traditional Chinese kitchens. But guess what? The large sloped-sided pans are also one of the best multi-tasking tools you can pack in your RV kitchen.
Of course, if you enjoy Chinese cooking, or stir-frying in general, using a wok is a given. But if you think outside the box, woks have a LOT more uses than that. This is because of their large size and also their distinctive sloping walls that allow you to move food around the cooking surface without it spilling over and making a mess.
Another benefit cooks will find is that the large wok cooking surface features two distinct temperature zones. Directly over the flame will be great for searing, quick-cooking, and other high-heat tasks. Use the sloping sides to keep foods cooking but at lower, gentler rates.
If you get creative with all the ways you can use a wok, you just might be able to save space and leave some extra appliances or cookware at home in favor of this versatile and practical pan.
The best wok for your RV kitchen
When it comes to the best wok for RVers, you do not need anything fancy.
A good basic carbon steel wok, like the ones used in most Chinese restaurant kitchens, will serve you well. I’ve had mine for more than 40 years and it’s still going strong.
Most of the time you will use the wok on your RV stovetop. However, keeping the choice to simple carbon steel will allow you to also use it on a grill or even put it directly on the coals when outdoor cooking.
When wok shopping, be sure to get one that comes with a lid as this, too, will increase its functionality.
Much like cast iron, new carbon steel woks will need to be seasoned in order to create a nonstick cooking surface. Find directions how here.
How to use a wok in an RV kitchen
How can you use your wok in your RV kitchen? Let’s explore.
Yes, stir-frying is a given with woks, BUT stir-frying does NOT have to mean Asian foods!
Think beyond typical “stir fry” ingredients and you can make fajitas, sautéed veggie side dishes, quick sautéed meats of all kinds, and most any other type food typically cooked in a skillet over direct heat with little oil.
Woks make great vessels for frying all kinds of foods. Because of the sloped sides, you can usually use substantially less oil to get the job done than traditional fryers.
You’ll also save oil by holding foods against the sloped sides to drain with tongs or a slotted spoon, while letting the excess oil drain back into the wok.
Put a little water in the bottom of the wok and add a collapsible steamer basket and you have a way to effectively steam big batches of veggies or dumplings, or even meats, at once.
Even without an extra steamer basket inside, the wok makes a great way to steam clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster, and other shellfish. The sloped sides make it easy to stir the contents while cooking for perfect results.
Put water in the wok, add lid, bring to a boil and the wok takes the place of a large pot for boiling grains, potatoes, and other foods.
Because of the large cooking surface, there’s no easier way to make a big batch of scrambled eggs than in the wok. But wait, there’s more! You can also add a few inches of water to the wok, bring to a simmer, and use it to make poached eggs.
Make a big batch of wholesome popcorn in the wok. Put popped popcorn into a serving bowl and melt butter in the same wok.
Boil water and cook pasta, drain, use the wok to make a quick sauce, return pasta and toss for a quick one-pot meal.
You don’t even need to cook in the wok. It makes a terrific large bowl in which to dress and toss salads.
Mixing bowl stand-in
When you need to mix batter or big batches of recipe ingredients, the wok makes a good stand-in for a large mixing bowl.
Do you have even more uses for the wok in your RV kitchen? Be sure to share in the comments below.
We have an electric wok and over many years it has served us faithfully. The main disadvantage is that we cannot move it out of the camper and onto the campfire as we could with the standard wok. So, win some, lose some.
I had an electric wok for years until my youngest daughter claimed it for herself when she moved out.
That was my excuse to get a new one. Pampered Chef had a special on theirs. I love it! Textured non stick but you can use any utensil and it won’t scratch.
We make stir fry (including browning potatoes or other veggies and meats) and even Italian and just about anything in it. It does have a wide, mostly flat bottom but I would only recommend a small amount of boiling water since the slides are so angled.
Otherwise, it’s a perfect cooking tool we use every day.
For our RV, we have a large and a small cast iron pan that work for most cooking when we don’t have our wok.
I love our wok. It has a flat bottom so we can use it on a grill or the stovetop. If you can’t find a flat bottom wok, you can get a ring that it sits in to stabilize it. And I never thought of using it for salads, so I learned something new today!
Since a WOK doesn’t have a flat base to keep it level, I never use mine to boil water or even more risky, to heat up oil in. It is however a healthier and quicker way to cook many things, even on a campfire.
Being of limited space, a 12inch wok is the only frypan in our truck camper. Also use it as a pan for heating canned veggies
A wok is a bit like buttermilk or suspenders: some folks dismiss it; others find it versatile and indispensible. I do the wok cooking in our household, using a standard larger size for home, and a smaller one for the camper. It replaces other pots and skillets so space is no problem. The real challenge is learning all the many ways a wok can be used and acquiring new high-heat flash and stir-frying techniques. Tip: don’t neglect the seasoning, but do know that it’s no big mystery. After use, clean & dry it, warm it, lightly oil it, and use it frequently.
What we DON’T have room for in our trailer is – A WOK! We have one at home, but it will never find a place in our trailer. It’s big and awkward!