A round, deep pan that may have straight sides with a slightly rounded base or more commonly a round base that slopes out and upward. Used for cooking of numerous ingredients that may be prepared on a stovetop or at the dining table, stir fry pans are available with several different sized handle lengths that can be selected to match the cooking process. Stir-fry pans allow heat to be well distributed across the base while the sloping sides make it easier to stir and turn ingredients as they cook. Pans made of steel that have flat-bottomed bases with long handles are ideal when cooking ingredients at high temperatures. The Asian pan referred to as a "wok" is one traditional type of stir-fry pan while other versions are often available with bases and sides that are thicker in substance, not as curved, nor as deep as the wok pan. Cooks, who are able to toss the ingredients in the pan upward and prevent oils from splattering while cooking, prefer the lighter weight and rounded base of the wok. In many instances the wok pan may work best over open flames rather than electric stoves.
Stir fry pans are often used to prepare and quickly sear multiple ingredients that go well together including various meats and vegetables mixed with sauces. Although skillets and fry pans may at times be used for preparing stir-fried foods, it is the actual stir fry pan that is the best tool for cooking food in a small quantity of oil and for retaining the colors and textures of the various ingredients.
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