Wok Hei, which is the essence of Chinese stir-frying, is achieved when the center of your wok’s bottom becomes super-hot. However, conventional gas stoves available in the US and most other countries have burners that fan out the flame resulting in a dead spot in the center. Therefore, unlike with Chinese restaurant burners, the wok can never achieve its ultimate cooking potential.
The WokMon’s unique focus ring redirects all gas burner flames towards the center of the burner converting the “dead spot” into a “hot spot” and turning relatively low powered gas burners of a consumer stove into very sufficient wok burners. The results are amazingly hot stir-frying and efficient steaming just like in a real Chinese kitchen. By using every bit of gas flame (measured in BTUs) that would normally be wasted, the “wasted” flame energy is recycled by 50% back towards the center, thus making WokMon a green energy efficient device. [Note: Home gas burners vary from 7000 BTUs to 18,000 BTUs for hi-end stoves versus 150,000+ BTUs for restaurant burners].
Why Such Extreme Temperatures?
“It’s all about achieving Wok Hei (pronounced “hay”), the almost indescribable flavor that is the defining quality of great wok cooking. Intense Maillard reactions on food surfaces combine with the partial breakdown of cooking oil at extremely high temperatures to produce these potent flavor compounds. The chemistry only works, however if the burner has enough power to bring the surface of the wok to peak temperatures well above the boiling point of water. Driving off the water (as steam) takes a tremendous amount of energy.
Most of the foods we stir release prodigious amounts of water as they begin to cook. The water quenches the heat of the wok until it has evaporated away. An underpowered burner will allow the juices to build up in the pan, and the food will stew rather than stir-fry.
The resulting collection of aromas and tastes bears little resemblance to Wok Hei. This is the reason that domestic burners, or even Western style professional burners, cannot reproduce the flavor of a true wok stir-fry. It’s not your wok: it’s the heat source. America has been stew-frying rather than stir-frying.” – Modernist Cuisine Vol 2, p. 48-57, author – Nathan Myhrvold, 2012 James Beard Award/Cookbook of the Year.
So now you will have a very hot center spot on your wok. By stirring your food from side to side, in and out of that hot zone, you are searing the food but not burning it, truly stir-frying and not stewing your food. It’s really a fun and easy technique to learn. I’m not saying you’ll open a Chinese restaurant, but you would be able to replicate many exciting home cooked dishes from your favorite Asian cookbook.