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This is the classic Chinese implement, used for stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, braising and smoking — what an amazing, versatile piece of equipment. Usually made from carbon steel, the thickness (or in fact, thinness) of the steel and its heat-conducting ability mean that the wok heats and cools quickly, enabling the food to respond immediately to temperature variations. The wok is usually deep, meaning that you’ll need less oil for frying. The average wok for domestic use is about 33–36 cm (13–14 inches) in diameter.