Most professional chefs and passionate home cooks prefer gas stoves to electric with good reason. There’s nothing like cooking on real flames for the perfect flavor, texture and color. This is especially true for Asian cooking with stir-frying being such a big part of the cuisine. While cooking on a gas stove is always the best option, for many people, this isn’t a possibility given home zoning restrictions or apartment conditions and such.
For those of you with electric stoves- don’t despair; you can still create fabulous dishes with your stove. You just have to remember these few basic tips and adjust your technique and cooking times slightly. The fact is that nothing produced on an electric range will ever 100% equal that of a meal produced on open flames but you can certainly come very close.
Realize that different recipe websites provide recipes in different ways. Some may provide technique and timing based on cooking on gas stoves while others may do so for electric stoves. If the recipe doesn’t specify which type of stove was used, then you will have to gauge the timing as you test the recipe.
Cooking on a gas stove will always require less time than cooking on an electric stove so adjust accordingly. For example, if you’re following a recipe that calls for stir-frying chicken for 5 to 7 minutes, but you find on your gas stove that the chicken is done in 3 to 4 minutes, then follow what you see in front of your own eyes. Or conversely, if the recipe calls for stir-frying for 3 to 4 minutes and the chicken doesn’t appear done to you, then add a few minutes to the recipe, considering you may be on an electric stove.
A stir-fry recipe may call for continuous movement of the ingredients in the wok or pan. If you’re on an electric stove, you may have to leave the ingredients alone for a moment to have the chance to cook. Remember that electric stoves unlike gas stoves have uneven heating. If you have an electric range with coils, you’ll see how the coils burn bright red for some moments before fading away and this keeps repeating over and over. That’s the uneven heating that drives chefs insane. And it’s that uneven heating that you have to compensate for by leaving the ingredients alone instead of continuously stir-frying the way you should do on a gas flame. Otherwise, your food will never cook thoroughly on the electric range.
Lastly, when cooking for larger numbers/quantities on a gas range, you have to be quick and adept at moving around whatever you’re cooking to make sure that nothing gets burnt at the bottom. This holds especially true for dishes like fried rice and noodles. Unless you’re very accustomed to handling large quantities and heavy weights, it’s probably best to stick to smaller batches to ensure good and consistent quality comes out of your kitchen. When cooking larger quantities on an electric stove, the opposite is true. You will still have to have decent arm strength but also a good deal of patience to make sure that everything is cooked through thoroughly.