I make a lot of stir fry recipes as well as pasta recipes. We have 6 people in our family, the youngest being 12. That said, you can imagine that when I make dinner I have to make enough to feed several hungry bellies, no little kids here anymore! I used to use a large saute pan for my pastas and a very heavy wok for my stir fry. Then I heard about ManPans and everything changed.
I was in the market for some new pans and asked people on Facebook if they had any favorites. My friend Suzanne from Thru the Bugs on my Windshield told me how much she loved her ManPans. I hadn’t actually heard of them so I checked out their website and started poking around. Suzanne is a great cook and trusted friend, so when she gave me the recommendation there was no question, I had to look into it.
One thing led to another and the fine folks at ManPans agreed to send me their largest stir fry wok to try out so I could share my thoughts with all of you. I have to tell you, at first it was a love/hate relationship. In all fairness though, the hate portion of that was completely my fault. I wasn’t using the pan properly. But after several dinners (none of them spoiled by the way, everything was wonderful) and quite a few emails back and forth, we figured out what I was doing wrong and now I am in LOVE. This is my new favorite pan!
A quick note on their customer service: Each time I used the pan and had issues, I contacted customer service and told them what was going on. They were extremely helpful, sometimes referring back to their chefs for advice to help with my issues. I can’t say enough about their professionalism.
First off let me tell what I was doing wrong and why this pan is so different from others I have used. My biggest problem was that food kept sticking to the pan. But not just sticking, I ended up with a crust of food on the bottom of the pan and knew I had to be doing something wrong.
You see, these pans are made from dark anodized aluminum which retains heat far more efficiently than your everyday non-stick pans. In fact if you use cast iron, you understand how different that can be from a nonstick. Because of ManPans’ heat retention, you will need to adjust the way that you cook as far as temperature goes. So for example, a dish that you would normally cook on medium-high, such as a stir fry, you will cook closer to a medium heat in your ManPans. Because of this you will also save a considerable amount of energy without sacrificing cooking efficiency! Lower temps, less energy, better for your wallet!
And to quote from their website: “Since we manufacture, anodize and finish all our pans in one US location, we save carbon by reducing transportation. Our anodizing process is very clean both in sewage and air quality and receives high marks from the Washington State Department of Ecology. Our finishing technology contains no petroleum products, no PFE or PFOA, is water based and completely non-reactive. From manufacturing to our finished product, we are truly embracing the most eco-friendly cookware available.”
Because I was cooking at higher temperatures my food kept sticking to the pan. Once I found the right temp and my pan wasn’t too hot, everything cooked beautifully. So much so, that I use this pan for everything now!
The second mistake I made was using the wrong utensils. ManPans construction is extremely tough and will stand up to metal utensils, unlike non-stick pans that require plastic or wooden utensils. The finish on a ManPans looks like a non-stick surface, so my instinct was to be careful not to scratch it. Once I got past that mistake and dropped the fear of using a metal spatula, I was able to efficiently deglaze the pan without causing any damage.
To give you an idea of how tough their surfaces are, here’s another quote from their website: “Gem-X2 is a two layer sapphire/quartz-like natural mineral finish permanently bonded to our tough aluminum pans. It will not flake, chip or rub off and is metal utensil safe. In fact the finish is so tough that you can rub a coin on the surface and not only will you not scratch the finish, the coin will get worn down!”
Some of the things I love about this pan:
Electric stovetop – Yay! One of the things that attracted me to this pan in the first place is the fact that it works well on an electric stovetop. Many traditional woks only work well with gas, something I just don’t have.
Deep sides – this is so perfect for the amount of food that I cook! Stir fry foods don’t accidentally fall out the sides and there’s plenty of room for combining a full pound of cooked pasta with whatever sauce and add-ins I may have.
Cool handle – I’m not talking about how nifty it looks, but rather the fact that I can grab the handle without a pot holder. This handle never gets hot! These pans are designed to withstand up to 700 degrees F, yet the handle will not get hot. There is a small section near the actual pan where the handle retains heat and that is marked quite clearly. I can’t imagine my hand being there anyway. ;)
Tough as nails – I love that I don’t have to baby this pan. My nonstick pans are layered been towels so as not to scratch their surfaces. I also have to warn my kids not to use metal utensils on them, but not with the ManPans. It’s tough and resilient and will stand up to years of use.
Cooks evenly – Because this pan retains heat so well, it cooks food evenly and my meals come out perfect every time. I’ve made quite a few dinners with this, several that are on this blog already.
Lightweight – This pan looks heavy doesn’t it? It’s not, it’s incredibly lightweight, making tossing the cooking ingredients a breeze. I can carry this pan and hold it up, filled with food, with one hand. My old wok used to be so heavy I had to use two hands.
Here are some recipes I have made in my ManPans wok:
Beef Stir Fry with Tomatoes and Peppers (pictured)
Black Pepper Beef in Peanut Sauce
Peppercorn Pork Stir Fry
Farfalle with Green Beans and Pecans in Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce
Farfelle alla Vesuviana
Spaghetti with Pancetta & Broccoli
I would suggest heading over to the ManPans website and taking a look around yourself. They have a variety of pans, plenty of information on their manufacturing process, including their green practices, info on care and use, videos you can watch and reviews from others just like me. I’m in love with my ManPans wok and haven’t touched my old saute pan or my other wok since I got this. I have no plans to either. Garage sale, here they come, ManPans is in the house now. ;)