When choosing a kitchen utensil you can often be overwhelmed. When looking for a pan to cook with on a regular basis a lot of American sites and forums will tell you to get a Cast Iron Skillet. However it really does bother me that people just take their word for it and go and spend £50 on something that they might not appreciate.

Think about four things before you buy a Pan.

1. What do you cook the most?

So if you are cooking slow cooked meals a lot then a frying pan might not be the best option. For us Rogue Housewives we like something that can be used for quick meals and cleaned easily. We don’t want to be spending time scrubbing the bottom of the pan when we could be sat down absorbing the Internet.

2. How do you cook?

Very similar to what do you cook but this time think about whether you use the oven or a gas hob or an electric cooker. This will determine which pan is pest for you.

3. How much do you want to spend?

Everything should have a budget but remember the more you spend the longer it should last. £50 – £60 will get you a pan that should last for at least 2 years. Most of these should last ten or even a lifetime of you look after them well.

4. How often will you be using the Pan?

The more often you cook the tougher the pan should be. In my Student days a stupid ex boyfriend convinced me that the best thing would be to buy the cheapest set of pans and then I could throw them away at the end of the year. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. I hated cooking that year. Everything I tried to cook needed so much attention, if I left anything for too long then it would burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.  Another point to be made here is that we live in a Throwaway society where this is deemed as OK. It’s not ok to throw away a set of pans every year but his is what we have convinced people to do. It works out much better in terms of sustainably to buy one pan at £50 to last for 5 years than buying a set of Pans for £20 that you need to replace every Year.

Why did I pick my Pan?

We cook a lot of Stir Fries and Chinese food because Rogue Househusband is Chinese and it’s delicious. Some form of stir-fry will be made once a week and the rice s always cooked in a rice cooker so we don’t need a pan for that.

We cook on a gas hob, as I truly believe that it’s quick and easier to control than electric or wood powered stoves. My mum has a wood powered stove and it takes 40 minutes to warm up. I’m far too impatient for that! We also cook almost every single night and most of the time we tends o use a Wok for pasta sauces, stir fries, frying or curries. Don’t ask me why I cook in a Wok. Just accept it.

Try stir frying some onion, bacon and broan beans together in a Wok, adding in some sprouting broccoli with a slash of water, add a lid for a couple of minutes until the vegetables are as tender as you want them then add in some freshly cooked pasta and seasoning. Drizzle a touch of scented oil and a sprinkle of hard cheese and you have a match made in heaven. Such a spring time dish and it just cooks perfectly in a wok. I found most frying pans too small for mixing pasta and a sauce and a normal straight edged pan just doesn’t have the non-stick required for this kind of quick cooking.

Woks can also be used to steam things. We grabbed a big bamboo steamer from a big Asian Supermarket at a bargin price of £8 last year and it gets used at least once a week for vegetables or fish.

We get through a Wok every year due to the non-stick not working anymore or just not being able to keep up on ‘seasoning the pan’. So we decided to slash out and spend at least £70 on a decent Pan. After reading a few reviews and hunting around for deals we decided to go with a Wok from GreenPan.


Our GreenPan Wok

Its non-stick is incredible. The first time I used it was difficult to flip the food as it is a very heavy pan and when it’s first scratch on the coating appeared I almost cried. However the weight of the pan is not a huge issue as you can treat it as a mini work out in the kitchen.

One year in and the Wok is fair from near the end of its life and we use it everyday for virtually everything. It’s had curries, stir fires, sauces and chips in it. It has one small scratch in it when someone forgot to use a wooden spoon but other than that it is flawless.

When bring home a big bunch of greens from the allotment it can be heated up with a dot of oil or butter and the greens flash fried then I turn the heat off and the residual warmth of the pan remains while I grab the plates.

It will continue to be used at least four times a week. I don’t tend to use it for soups or slow cooking as I have taller pans and a decent rice cooker for those types of things.

Ok so a Cast Iron skillet would do the job just as well but there is just something about a Wok that makes it so much more practical and it’s not just about its non stick ability as a well seasoned cast iron pan should not stick but this Wok is a dream to clean and cook with. Food just glides around on a thin layer of air. Go on get a Wok, you’ll never look back.

What do you use to cook with everyday? Are you like me and use a Wok or do you use a skillet pan? Please let me know and tell me your must have kitchen utensil.

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2 Responses to How to Pick a Pan

  1. auto.ru says:

    Nice topic – respect !

  2. Wendy says:

    I’m going to have to learn to use a wok properly … I did try once with one that had to be seasoned and it was a nightmare. I’m going to get, like you did, a decent non-stick one…. after all , when I get to Malaysia I’ll have an entire new cooking culture to get to grips with.

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