Once you’ve chosen your new wok…or like most of us these days, had it delivered off Amazon, you may be tempted to rush to the nearest Half-Price Books, buy the biggest Chinese cookbook that you can find, and start cooking Chinese as devotely as Julie in the move Julie and Julia…
‘Tis the season…
And the season is so very important that you don’t want to miss it.
So what is the season…and why is it so darn important?!
Your brand new wok will most likely have been coated with oil when it was being made in the factory. Manufacturers do this to protect the metal and keep it from rusting or tarnishing in the store before being sold.
Your goal is actually to turn your nice, shiny, and new wok into an even more beautiful*?!) black, nonstick wok with a patina that makes for excellent stir-fry..
So exactly why do you need to season your wok before you start making gourmet meals…and how do you go about it?
First the WHY…
Seasoning your new wok will not only removes any metallic taste and the preservative oil manufacturers place on it, but also prevents rust.
Seasoning supposedly also gives you a chance to get acquainted with your wok…
- how heavy it is
- how it responds to you
- how to clean it
- how to hold it
Seasoning your wok properly is so very important because if seasoning is not done properly, your food will probably stick to the pan.
So now for the HOW
- Turn the stove burner on as high as it will go.
- Set your wok on the burner for about a minute,
- Now take the wok off the heat, Add 2Tbsp oil, swirling the pan around to make sure that the bottom and sides are coated.
- Put the wok back on the heat.
- Add 1 bunch chopped scallions and 1/2C sliced unpeeled ginger.
- Reduce the heat to medium,
- Stir-fry for about twenty minutes.
- Smear the aromatics up the sides of the wok all the way to the edgem adding more oil if needed
- Remove the wok from heat,
- Once the wok has cooled down. rinse the wok with hot water
- Finally heat the wok over low heat for a couple of minutes.
Even though you have taken all this time to season your wok, time to time you may find from that your wok has become “gummy” and rust spots have started to form. If this is the case, heat the pan as you did before, rub 1-1/2tsp oil and 1Tbsp kosher salt into the wok, and dry completely with a pad made from three layers of paper towels,
Cleaning Your Wok
To clean your wok after using, rinse with a soft sponge, dish soap optional…(depends on how much of a germophobe you are…but many chefs recommend avoiding soap). Never use metal utensils or scrubbers to clean your wok because this will weaken the coating.
Dry it off.
Once you have finished drying it off, heat the wok on the stove at a low setting for about a minute in order to evaporate any remaining water.…
Now rub in a dab of oil before on the wok before storing. This cost of oil will help to seal any pits in the metal and keeps the surface non-stick.
If something is sticking to the pan that you can’t get off this way, add a dash of salt and scrub it gently with a paper towel..
Using Your Wok…After you have been using your wok for a while, you will find that the interior has changed from that shiny silver color that it had when you brought it home from the store to either a brownish, or even a black color.
Don’t worry…you have not ruined your pan.
Black is beautiful.
This is actually what you have been ultimately waiting for.
This permanent black patina makes sure that you have a flavorful meal each time you cook.
Cooking with Your New Wok
- Make sure your wok is very hot before adding your ingredients. There should actually be smoke rising from it.
- Now add oil to the pan before adding your ingredients.
- Be sure to spread the ingredients evenly and along the sides of the pan
- As your ingredients are cooking, only stir them as needed to prevent burning. while cooking.
- Cook your food in batches. Overcrowding them may save you time, but will not be worth it in the long run.
Finally for a few more words of wisdom…
- Hold off on using your wok to steam, boil, or poach.
- Avoid cooking with any acidic foods—such as tomatoes, vinegar, and lemons—because acidic foods can damage the delicate surface of the wok.
- And it probably goes without saying to be cautious when using a hot stove, especially when hot oil.