Seasoning a Wok
Did you know that you should ‘season’ your wok before you use it for the first time and again lightly after every use? A great wok is one that has seen a lot of use; it’s shiny, foods don’t stick to it and flavours are enhanced by using it. The reason you should season your wok is to remove the preservative oils that the makers use to ensure the wok doesn’t rust before it gets to you.
1. Give the wok a really good clean in warm soapy water using a non-abrasive cloth.
2.Place the wok on the heat until the entire pan is smoking hot.
3. Put about 1tbsp of cooking oil into the pan (traditionalists will use lard but peanut oil works just as well .. just stay clear of the polyunsaturated oils as they tend to be gunky).
4. Either use some paper towel (be careful with the heat!) or a heatproof brush to ensure you cover the entire pan (outside as well!) with a thin layer of the oil.
5. Tilt the wok to make sure that every inch is subjected to the high heat to ‘burn’ the oil into the surface (NOTE: You can also put the wok into the oven for 25mins at the top temperature). Once complete, let it cool right down to room temperature before moving on.
6. Once the wok is cool, soak up any excess oil that has gathered on the centre and repeat steps 2-6 3 or 4 more times.
Your wok is now ready to be used but you should bear a few things in mind:
- Heat it until smoking hot before adding the oil.
- Avoid cooking starchy foods, which have a tendency to stick to the wok.
- Avoid foods that are either acidic or require prolonged cooking by simmering with lots of liquid, as this can cook off some of the seasoning.
- Deep-fat frying, on the other hand, can help build up the layers of seasoning.
- You will need to take more care of it in the beginning.
After each meal you should rinse the wok with water (no soap) and if there are bits of stubbornly stuck food, use a sponge or a soft cloth to gently work it loose. rather than wiping dry with a towel afterwards, hold over a burner to burn on any grease leftover from the meal. If it doesn’t look shiny once this is done, burn a thin layer of oil into the wok, let cool and soak up the excess beofre putting it away.
With repeated use and careful maintenance, your wok will develop into a non-stick pan and will require less seasoning after use.