I received a wok as a gift when I was visiting the states last month. It’s the real carbon steel deal that needs to be seasoned and will last for centuries. I’ve never owned one before, but I love cooking and cooking tools so needless to say I’ve been really looking forward to getting it going. Here’s what I did to season the wok and the first thing I cooked in it.
Seasoning the wok
I’m lucky to have friends that are experienced with their woks already so between them and the internet at large there is no shortage of advice on how you can season a wok. The basic idea (summarized neatly here) is to build up a non-stick layer (or patina) using high heat and oil in a process called polymerization. Through this process, the oil molecularly bonds to carbon steel (or cast iron) creating a seasoning that will last and reinforce itself with subsequent cooking at high temperatures.
I chose to bake the wok in the oven, although there are many other methods to choose from like frying potato skins with salt, etc.
After baking, you need to “cook” in it to further build up the seasoning. The method I used called for charring onions.
Cooking with the wok
Now, time for the real test: actually cooking. This was simple and easy, just like you hear everyone who uses a wok say. I cooked some trumpet mushrooms I had on hand with some green peas and tofu. After not doing any real Asian cooking in a while, I also used some new black bean and soy sauces I picked up from a local Asian shop in Glasgow.
I’m now wok-ing
My son, Sam, loves the wok-ing pun. He thinks it’s hilarious and I don’t mind, this thing cooks like a dream. I’m happy to have a new focus in the kitchen and to get to explore recipes new and old armed with the right tool.
P.S. Thanks Alex for the gift!