Nov 13, 20171687 views

[Ongoing] Stovetop Cooking: Questions & Answers

On Massdrop, you can find enthusiasts on all levels from beginner to expert within any given community. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, you should always be able to find your answers.
STOVETOP COOKING A lot goes into making the perfect stovetop meal. Whether you’re using gas, electric, or induction makes a big difference. So do your cookware materials and different techniques. If you're just starting out at the stove, or you have 5-star culinary skills, you've come to the right place.
ASK QUESTIONS Want to know about deep-frying in a dutch oven? Need some pointers on using your wok? Or maybe you just need to figure out the best way to clean something?
The best way to find the answers to your burning questions is to ask the community. There are members who are experts in pretty much every area of cooking you can imagine, and they can help you get from beginner to pro.
Ask your question(s) by posting in the discussion below.
GIVE ANSWERS Many of you in the community know a lot about Stovetop Cooking and have great information to share. We encourage you to help out those that have questions!
b9d9ffdad3ac59e7f6f, steve, and 2 others

Howdy folks!
We have some winners! Congratulations to the following people: · @CraigLewis · @djfluffkins · @Mastermung
We appreciate everyone that took part in the the discussion. The giveaway is over now, but if you ever have Stovetop Cooking questions then you should always keep it going.
It was an honor just to participate, I never dreamed I would win!
TLDR: Bluestar ranges look to have some very nice features
Spent some time this weekend looking a new ranges (might be making some changes in yee old living situation which would allow doing a custom kitchen). I had originally been thinking of going with a thermador, however, after some discussion the sales guy suggested that I take a look at a brand called Bluestar. I'm not fully sold on them yet, however, they have enough interesting features that I am willing to given them a second look. Figured that I'd post this here and see what folks thought.
1. Simplicity is a virtue. The Bluestar designers made a deliberate attempt to eliminate as many features as possible from their ranges. In particular, they tried to get rid of various types of electronics that they felt over-complicated the design and reduced reliability. So there's built in clock, or built in timer, or electronic door locks. There's not even a self cleaning feature. From what I can tell, the only real electronics are the igniters. My guess is that not everyone will consider this to be a "pro", but having had to have my Wolf services three time in eight years, each time for a blown circuit board controlling a door lock, I consider this to be a big plus.
2. Price. In part based on the simple design, in part because they are a single fuel range, the Bluestar is coming in at about 2/3rds the price as an equivalent Thermador.
3. Performance. The Bluestar uses a open burner design that blows away the Thermador. (I was originally steered towards the Bluestar when I started asking about high performance burners for stir frying in a wok). The large burners will crank out 25K BTW and you can sit your wok much closer to the fmaes
4. Thoughtful design. The problem with most open burner designs is that they are a pain in the butt to clean. Bluestar has a very modular system where different pieces can be taken apart and brought the the sink / dishwasher for cleaning. In addition, they have integrated drip pans all over the place to prevent spill overs from baking onto the actual range itself.
1. No self cleaning over 2. You might need to upgrade your gaslines to handle the draw 3. Absolutely requires a serious hood 4. The ceramic ignitors have a reputation for being brittle
Please note: I haven't yet had the chance to cook on one of these. These preliminary conclusions are based more on internet research than direct experience. Still, this was all new to me and I thought folks might find it interesting

What is the metal thing that the man is pulling out? You have me almost sold on Blue Star!!
Thats a drip tray.
Suppose that you're making chicken wings as I was this weekend, you add too many wings to the hot oils, and things boils over.
With a close burner range, like the one I was using, the oil will end up on top of the range top which makes things relativey easy to clean. With an open bruner range, the hot oil (or soup or boiling water or whatever) with cascade down inside the burner system.
Normally, this is a real pain in the butt to clean. However, with the Bluestar you can pull out the entire bruner assembly and wash the individual pieces. You also have this pig built in drip pan to stop things from falling down where it would be too annoying to clean.
Recently decided to get into cast iron; purchased an assortment of skillet sizes, so far, so good. Made spaghetti the other night--came out quite good. Try this recipe:
Ok, some wok talk, from my end. I have fallen in love with 8-10 year old Calphalon non stick (Unison line, I think) 13" flat bottom wok with glass domed lid. But it is not staying with me (story for another day).
It's main service at my place is to make curry's, some veggies and the odd stir fry. The stir fly's are becoming more common place, and I want to get into Pad Thai as well, but let's stick with the curry's or saucy meat dishes for now. I had been cooking on a gas range, but have recently switched to a glass top stove. I love the space the wok affords me, to create dishes that serve up to 10 portions and the clean up is FANTASTIC. Clean up is huge for me right now, but if you can convince me otherwise, I will listen. A good portion of my cooking in this vessel is NOT using high heat, such as would be used in the case of stir frying.
My first instinct was to just watch for sales and pick up it's current incarnate replacement - or
So my question, after layman that all out - do I just got with the tried and proven, or is there something different, new, better out there, that I need to consider? If it doesn't come with a lid, that might be ok, as I have some large glass lids which I can share to the wok.
If that's what you're comfortable with, and really using it as a large sloped-side pot/pan, then go for it. In the realm of nonstick woks, whatever preferred form factor has the nonstick surface you want at the price you want is the one you want.
If you want to make Pad Thai I suggest using a flat saute pan. The goal is to evaporate the liquid, which a flat pan is going to do much better than a wok. In Thailand they use a flat pan/griddle with very short sides. While the dish does have Chinese origins, they don't use a wok to cook it.
For Chinese stir-frys, the wok's sloped sides lend it to easy tossing, such that you can cook with one hand, and with a side effect that the extremely hot flames can vaporize the air-suspended oil droplets and release the "wok hei" back into the food. No one is going to be doing this at home unless they've expressly outfitted a kitchen for it. So what I've been doing is using an oil mister with my blowtorch to achieve this. Suffice it to say, this is very dangerous and I can't recommend it unless you are well-prepared for the worst. You'll need something better than those recalled Kidde fire extinguishers.
But fret not! Chinese restaurants have high-heat burners so they can get orders out quickly. You can still stir-fry thoroughly enough at home, it'll just take longer. For meat, use the technique called "velveting", it's how it becomes tender quickly.
Wow, thanks for the great reply. Yes I like the slope-sided pan effect of the wok. Didn’t think I would, but I grew fond fast.
Water velveting, grin, this is gonna be good. Up until now my relatively good stir frys have employed sliced meat coated in corn starch alone, so of a self taught,watch and cook process. Of course I never thought to YouTube or further research this. I’m sure ducted to try this technique. Rice wine, egg white and CS sound like extra layers of authenticity.
I promise to to read up on Pad Thai before making it again. Thanks for the great directional advice!!!
I need a good dependable stick blender. Any recommendations?
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My first choice would be a Waring Pro, which you can find at any restaurant supply company, but they’re expensive. In consumer lines, I’d probably take the All-Clad. Just avoid anything with plastic at the business end, as it can warp in really hot dishes (gravies, for example).
I also use the Kitchen Aid stick, it really works well for home use. At the restaurant, we use the giant Dynamic sticks, but the Kitchen AId is just fine up to about 1 gallon or so.
A good old Lodge dutch oven I have found is the way to go. I find cheap cuts of meat are very tasty made into a stew in the dutch oven. What I do want to get into is baking sourdough bread in the dutch oven.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a good set of stainless steel cookware for use on an induction cooktop? I've been looking at WMF, Zwilling and Viking but I don't know who makes higher quality cookware. My budget is upto $400.
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When you say “a lot of All-Clad..” is made in China, which All-Clad pieces are you referring to? It’s my understanding that while their celebrity endorsed stuff like Emerilware, or the appliances are made in China, any cookware is made in Pennsylvania.
it depends. some of it is made in the states, and some pieces in China. For example, when I was shopping for a stock pot, the All Clad ones were Chinese manufactured, such as this one:;jsessionid=BCD570C45D1BF1E2245623BD933D46AF.slt-app-03-p-app1?cat=cat450425_All-Clad This roaster is also Chinese: Most of it is still made in the US and its still superb cookware, but I'm just alerting you to the fact that some of it is NOT made here, and it's not necessarily branded under a celebrity etc. :)
So I've been kinda eyeballing some of the carbon steel pans, because I'm not gonna have a lot of kitchen real estate for a big cast iron skillet in the immediate future. Do they really work as advertised, and almost as well as cast iron??? They're always held up as nearly equal to the venerable cast, and I wanted to hear if anyone cooks with both regularly and would share their thoughts on both.
I exclusively use carbon steel and cast iron skillets. From my experiences, the carbon steel pans do work as advertised and akin to cast iron. Carbon steel heats a little faster so sometimes it is even more beneficial than cast iron since it will allow you to get cooking sooner. I would not hesitate to buy carbon steel. Season and upkeep it like cast iron and I'm positive you won't be disappointed. My carbon steel pans get used more than my cast iron, despite having two very nicely seasoned cast iron pans. Pick up the Mafter pan offered here. I have three brands, Mauviel, DeBuyer, and Mafter Bourgeat, and like them all, but the lack of handle rivets on the Mafter makes cleaning super easy.
This is right on, I would only add that carbon steel is prone to hot spots, and stirring is a real priority for long cook times,stews, etc.
Has anyone had experience using All Clad tri-ply cookware on a portable induction cooktop? I find that mine makes a high pitched noise that is annoying but tolerable; was wondering if this is the norm, or if my pan has some sort of defect.
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As mentioned, this is not that uncommon with induction units. It is not a defect in the pan. It's the way the induction coil is energized with that pan.
My HappyCall Plasma Induction pan has the same experience when I'm heating up the pan on the high setting. But it stops after a few seconds.
I'm looking to complete my mismatched cookware collection in the near future and was wondering if anyone has had experience with Mauviel M'Cook cookware? I am between this and All Clad. I have used a friend's All Clad and love it, but was thinking the Mauviel would be a little different and I like the cast iron handles they put on. I primarily want a smaller and larger saucepan (1.7L and 3.7L for example) and a 10" to 12" skillet/fry pan. In the end, I'm more concerned with functionality and longevity than appearance.
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Our cookware (pots and pans specifically) is a combination of All-Clad, Mauviel, Staub, Lodge and a few commercial kitchen pieces I can’t readily recall. OVERWHELMINGLY, the ones used the most are Mauviel pots, Lodge skillets, and Staub Dutch ovens. A huge commercial braising pan and an older Fagor pressure cooker also get called on a lot. We also do a fair amount of wok cooking outside.
Mauviel all the way. I adore mine. Adore. It's fantastic. I have quite a few pieces and have used them on gas, induction and an electric (gasp! 1st world problems) stovetops. They have been *excellent* on all surfaces. It cleans up beautifully and is a joy to use. I have both cast iron and stainless handles in my collection and like them both, though it is nice to be able to throw my stainless handled pieces into a dishwasher. You just can't go wrong with Mauviel.
Those clams in the picture look amazing... Anyone have a good recipe for a clam dish such as the one in the picture? I wouldn't mind trying my hand at one sometime!
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I've been to Dr. Shakshuka! It was a 15 minute drive from my place (or 35 minute walk which is how we really got around). I'll give your's a try and see how it compares, my love for southwestern flavors has peaked in the last 2 years living in Texas, so I'm betting it'll be great in its own way.
Thanks @jkiemele ! And @AngryAccountant that Shakshuka recipe or yours looks incredible!! I'm going to give that a try too! :D
what are the advantages of copper cookware? What are the best dishes to show the advantages of copper cookware?
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In the 2.5~3.0mm copper pans I have, the temperature up the sides of the pan is the same as what it is over the flame with slight variation. When I take it off the heat, it cools pretty rapidly. When I adjust the flame, the pan responds quickly.
Yes, good copper is expensive. Thin lightweight copper is an aesthetic marketing gimmick IMHO.
A really thick aluminum (5mm+ everywhere in the pan) pan will perform similarly at a much lower price point and will have a pan weight that is much more reasonable for most people.
A 10# copper skillet or 20# cast iron dutch oven loaded with food is impractical for most home cooks.
Yes, I have Mauviel Cuprinox but prefer my classic pans of 'yester-year'. Good luck finding vintage copper cookware that isn't priced like it is made of gold.
Demeyere Atlantis brand stainless comes close to Mauviel Cuprinox levels of performance with none of the drawbacks maintaining the copper sheen or concerns for relining a classic piece of copper that was overheated. It's cost will come close to Mauviel Cuprinox.
While you don't need a professional stove to use thin carbon steel pans, a strong household burner is needed to really appreciate them IMHO. As you note, classic cast iron is a good solution for cost and performance in modest home kitchens with weaker stoves. Modern multi-ply thick stainless steel is a good solution for most home kitchens where the pans are just a utilitarian means to an end.
i use a plate or another pan
i just use a plate...
For what?
How do I fully dry out meat and vegetables before cooking quickly? They always end up basically boiling in the pan and I don't know how to make it so that their exterior gets the crunch and browning I want.
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you can pat meat dry with a paper towel. Salt also pulls out moisture over time. Overcrowding a pan is a mistake a lot of people make with browning meat. If you crowd the meat too much in the pan, the meat will steam instead of brown.
Great answer with one caveat: The thermal conductivity of cast iron is more than 50% greater than that of carbon steel. (80 vs 50 W/m*K) The typical carbon steel pan is a lot thinner than a cast iron skillet, however, so you’re getting faster diffusion.
Does anyone have experience using an induction disk as a way of using incompatible pans with an induction stovetop?
I want to be able to use nonstick pans with induction, but the pans I buy are not compatible. My brief search for induction-capable nonstick pans reveals only expensive products which I am reluctant to pay up for given that nonstick pans need replacing every so often. Users' experiences with induction disks that I've found are mixed.
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So, I'm honestly not trying to derail your efforts, I went through the same issues when it came to exploring induction as an option (since my apartment only has electric).
The carbon steel pans ( that have been on Massdrop before or can be purchased from other retailers are fairly cheap ($20 range) and will have similar non-stick potential. Now I say potential, because it is based largely on how you season, and treat the pans. I use a set of Darto carbon steel pans for every day use including eggs. My eggs will slide right off with little to no use of oil. That being said, they aren't non-stick in the sense that you drop a raw egg on it and it will immediately just slide around (depending on oil/fat usage). Sometimes it has to brown a bit to release and then you can flip and do whatever you want.
I think the reason we keep going back to this is, good induction disks exist, but they aren't cheap and they are good "for induction disks" not good all around. If you poke through the Cook's Illustrated piece ( they recommend the Max Burton Induction Interface Disk. When I was exploring, I decided not to go down this route because the disk was $50 and I could get multiple pans at that price.
I love carbon steel pans! I always take a refrigerator magnet and see if it sticks to the bottom of the pan. If the magnet sticks then the pan will work on induction.
Wok users! Any pro-tips on getting that non-stick seasoning to develop on an electric stovetop? I’ve had my wok (Joyce Chen, carbon steel) for 3 years now but still having trouble with a few “corners” that just won’t season. Mostly not an issue for vegetable stir fry but troublesome when the noodles and rice get introduced— then it all starts to really stick. Thanks kindly in advance!
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Awesome suggestion and the science sounds worth trying— thank you!
Ahhhh. That sounds like where my problem has been perhaps. I do use bacon fact occasionally but the majority of my cooking has been in vegetable oil. Mmm. More bacon...
That tagine is super intriguing. I know nothing about them, don't even know what they are for. I know I could Google, but where is the fun in that?
Anyone have any awesome recipes or mind blowing uses for tagines?
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Where do you get the preserved lemons?
Mainly Mediterranean markets, although I’ve seen them at Whole Foods before in the olive bar.
You can also make them yourself! It’s literally only lemons and sea salt. Do not use iodized salt.
Any experience with stone coated frying pans? Are these good or better than traditional teflon ones?
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I find anodized aluminum lasts at least three times as long as teflon, and is sufficiently nonstick. However, it can cost disproportionately more. So you can cost it out if a teflon pan price x 3 beats the same size anodized aluminum.
But I agree, learning how to cook on SS, CS, CI will cost less in the long run.
There's a cowboy on YouTube called Kent. Cooking on cast iron is his livelihood. He said, "Ain't nobody gunna fight over the Teflon in the will."
If I didn't get a lid with my frying pan, but want one, any recommended brands?
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What's your use case for the lid? I've been happy with some of the silicone sealable ones from Le Creuset. Pretty good when you just need a seal for simmering, it's not see through but having one lid for multiple pans is a nice bonus.
Decide what kind of lid you want first. Tempered glass is great since you can see what's going on. If you want to be able to throw it in the oven then you're probably looking for a metal handle, as nylon will top out at 400F/200C. There's also the question if you want a vent hole in it. I just put the lid on crooked if I want to vent because sometimes I want it fully enclosed as a mini-oven. As for brands, I'd try to match the brand of your pan if possible, as they will generally mate and make a better seal. I like Cuisinart and Calphalon since they have metal handles, and make a nice seal at the rim with all my pans (of varying manufacturer).