My Adolescent Wok

Discussion in 'Food & Wine' started by boedicca, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    My wok is what Grace Young, The Wok Doctor, would call an adolescent wok:

    The self-styled "Wok Doctor" is always willing to take time to help others get their neglected, rusty or food-stained woks in shape with a simple, quick treatment that oils and seasons the pan for cooking.

    "So many people seem to have a wok like that,'' she said. "They bought it eons ago, and when they dig it out from the closet, they discover it's a little sticky, rusty, and they assume it's beyond repair. A carbon-steel wok cannot be destroyed. It will last a lifetime."


    Give your wok a 'facial' - Chicago Tribune


    We use it sporadically, and dragged it out to make ginger pork with vegetables last night. After getting it in shape to cook, I am now determined to fully season my wok so that it has the fully mature "mocha" sheen.

    So, today it gets a facial.
     
  2. MikeK
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    MikeK Gold Member

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    The article merely suggests one way to clean an age-stained carbon steel wok. Ordinary scouring cleanser and a steel wool pad will do a better job.

    The way to prevent the rust and staining is to cure the wok and the way to do that is to coat it with oil and set it in a wok "fire ring" over maximum heat until the area exposed to the heat becomes colored blue/black. Then move it to a new area, re-coat with oil, do the same thing with maximum heat, move it again and repeat until the entire interior surface is stained dark blue/black. Then scrub it with hot water only and store it with a light coat of oil.

    The key to maintaining the cure is to never use detergent on it. Just scalding hot water and an abrasive plastic pad. And always store it with a light coat of oil. It will gradually take on a cured surface similar to a cured cast iron skillet.
     
  3. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    No Way!

    One should never use cleanser on a seasoned cooking vessel such as a wok or a cast iron pan.

    Agreed on the rest - although I have a traditional Chinese flat bottom wok that doesn't require a ring. I finished the facial, and am now seasoning it with a light sheen of oil. I'll let it heat for 15 minutes, and then cool it down. It's already developing a better patina.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  4. syrenn
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    syrenn BANNED

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    I got to tell ya, I love my Le Creuset wok. I prefer it to the thin steel chinese wok's.
     
  5. MikeK
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    MikeK Gold Member

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    You're right -- once the wok or pan is seasoned (cured). But an un-seasoned carbon steel wok will rust and the best way to buff the rust off is with a steel wool pad and cleanser.

    Also, heat-curing should not be attempted on a rusted wok or pan because the rusted surfaces will pit and the curing will never take in some spots. (I learned that the hard way.)
     
  6. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    Be careful with steel wool; you can potentially screw up the surface of stainless if you scrub too hard.

    And when seasoning, get the wok (or skillet) HOT before adding oil, it will work better.

    When food is dried on, put some water in the wok (or skillet) and bring to a boil; boil until everything softens and loosens, then dump in the sink and swish out with hot tap water and a scrubby. Put it back on heat and turn heat off to dry (add more oil if you need more season).

    I keep my skillets on the stove and in the oven; I never stack them (and if I must, they're upside down). Once they're well seasoned you CAN, if you must, use a little soap on them once in a while but boiling water works better.
     
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  7. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    I'm rather committed to my old wok. I like the patina of use - and with the extra seasoning process yesterday, it's at a new level. I'm going to try it out tomorrow night for dinner.
     
  8. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    Good hints - mine wasn't rusty - just spotty. I want the full mocha seasoning.
     
  9. syrenn
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    OK..we want pics! :)
     
  10. Intense
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    Intense Senior Member

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    I haven't cooked in a Wok in years. I miss it.
     

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