You need to up your home cooking game. Buy a wok.
The design and tough build of these cooking utensils distribute heat evenly.
Imagine your favorite stir fry dish.
Make sure no piece is undercooked.
All vegetables and meat are cooked simultaneously.
Once you’ve purchase your wok you need to season it. To season a wok means to remove all the factory oil or lubricant around it.
Why is this seasoning important? If your wok is unseasoned the lubricants will absorb the water. This causes your wok to rust quicker than usual. Do you want to learn How to season a carbon steel wok? Check it out
What are You Going to Use?
Before you season your wok you’ll need to wash it first. For this step you’ll need:
- Liquid detergent
- Scouring pad
- Dry clean towel
Wash the entire wok—inside and outside—with the liquid dish detergent & scouring pad. You don’t need to be gentle.
You must remove as much of the lubricant as possible. Once it’s washed use a dry towel to wipe the wok.
Different seasoning methods require unique items. Pick a method and gather items accordingly.
Stove Top Method
- Outdoor stove top
- Oil or lard
- Paper towel and tongs
- Basting, bamboo or soft bristle brush
Step by Step
- Clean the wok as mentioned above.Once the wok is clean place it on the stovetop to heat it.
- To test if the wok is adequately heated splash a few water droplets on it. It must evaporate quickly.
- Once the wok is heated tilt the wok on its side and turn it.Move slowly until the metal turns into a “blueish-yellow” color.
- You must see this color each time you move the wok.Reduce the heat to when the color has changed to a grey or silver color.
- Cool and dry.Add a layer of oil in the wok. The oil needs to cover the entire inner area of the wok.
- Tilt and turn or use a spoon to get better coverage.Add the onions to the wok to start the seasoning phase.
- When the onions are well cooked—or close to being burnt—remove the onions and the oil.
- Rinse it with water. Remove any food particles with one of the soft brushes.
- Dry the wok before using it.
You can use other vegetables to season the wok such as scallions or ginger. If the vegetables become too dry simply add more oil.
Why is it Better to Season Your Wok Outside?
When you use an outdoor stove top or a bbq it makes this process faster. Too much smoke emits from the wok when you're tilting and turning to discolor it. This smoke is the factory lubricant fading away.
You don’t want this smoke inside your home.
Oven Seasoning Method
If you don’t own an outdoor stove top you can use your oven.
- Sheet pan
- Aluminum foil
- Paper towel
Step by Step
- Begin with a washed wok.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Get a sheet pan and line it with aluminum foil.
- Coat the entire wok with oil or lard. If you're using lard put the lard on a paper towel and cover the wok with it. This technique helps with coverage.
- After oiling the wok put it on top of the lined pan and place in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Let it cool or rinse it in warm water.
For the best seasoning repeat the step at least three times.
If your wok has a plastic or wooden handle cover it with a damp cloth before placing it in the oven.
Salt Seasoning Method
It’s important to note that this method must be done on a gas stove.
- Gas range stove
- Kosher salt
- Pour one cup of the kosher salt into the—washed and dry—wok
- Place the wok on the gas stove top over high heat
- For 20 minutes you need to constantly stir the salt up and around the wok
- After the set time remove the wok from the heat
- Ensure the salts are cool before you discard them
- To clean the wok wipe it with an oil covered rag or paper towel
When you oil the wok after seasoning it you create the first layer or patina.
Through use of the wok this layer becomes thicker. It starts forming a non-stick cooking surface.
Selecting the Seasoning Oil:
When deciding on a seasoning oil you need to consider those that have a high smoking point temperature.
At this temperature the oil breaks down.
Unrefined oils that have a strong flavor have low smoking points and aren’t practical in seasoning your wok.
Select neutrally flavored, refined oils such as:
- Peanut oil
- Canola oil
- Grape seed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Lard or bacon fat
Preserving Your Wok’s Seasoning:
When you season your wok you want to keep it that way for long periods.
Here are some tips on preserving your wok’s seasoning:
- Don’t steam, boil or poach food in your wok.
- Don’t cook with acidic foods in your newly seasoned wok.
- This includes tomatoes, vinegar and lemons.
- Don’t use abrasive pads or washing chemicals such as harsh soaps or sanitizers.
- Cook, sauté and fry often to build the patina layer.
- After cooking clean with warm water and a bamboo wok brush to remove any excess foods.
A wok is an investment you want to benefit from for years. If you season and maintain your wok this is possible.
Keeping your wok for years means you can enjoy delicious stir fry or other Asian inspired cuisine at any time.
Who wouldn’t want that?