Machias Community Church

Seasoning a wok 

Posted by Pastor Ron Friday, September 09, 2011 7:00:00 AM

Mild steel (aka carbon steel) woks are the best. Tough, light and quick to heat as well and quick to cool ~ both important in wok cooking. Don't bother with stainless steel or non-stick coatings. Thin cast iron is OK but very fragile, heavier than mild steel and not quick to cool.

The above mild steel wok is fairly inexpensive ~ I think I paid $15 ~ but they come with a varnish coating to keep them from rusting on the way from China. This coating needs to be removed before use. That part is easy enough: burn it off and then scrub it with soap and water. I use a Scotch-Bright pad.

Once the new wok is clean it needs to be seasoned. A well seasoned wok has a natural non-stick finish. Seasoning the wok takes heat+peanut oil+scallion greens.

Heat the cleaned wok until the shiny steel turns bluish then add a bit of peanut oil but be careful not to have your face over it in case it flashes (ignites.) Swirl the oil around to coat the interior of the hot wok and then add your greens. They will complain loudly with sizzling snapping sputtering sounds. Move them around the interior of the wok so that they touch every portion of the surface.

Remove the wok from the heat and throw the greens away. The interior of the wok should now have a very light brown transparent coating. This is the beginning of a patina.

Repeat the process several times and the patina will darken. Your ultimate goal is to have a nice shiny black patina but this will come from use.

Never wash your wok with soap or detergent. It is ok after cooking to add water and let it get super hot and use that to semi clean the interior but the last step should always be heat+peanut oil+greens.

Don't use metal utensils or you will scratch the patina. Use a wood paddle. Most of the time I just flip stuff using the handle when cooking.

Tip: when prepping the food I always save some of the scallion greens for cleaning the wok after cooking.

Don't worry about the outside of the wok.