Sunday, July 18, 2010

How to Season a Wok

This year, I'm determined to learn Chinese home cooking the correct way. And in order to do that, I needed to start from the basics ... I needed a wok. During my last trip to Singapore, I picked up an authentic cast-iron wok. Just like a cast-iron skillet, you'll need to season it properly to create a natural non-stick surface. 

I admit, I was very disappointed when I first picked up this wok. It's steel grey and barely resembles the gloriously black version my grandma cooks with. But my mom assured me that all the cast-iron woks look like this at first.

$10 cast-iron wok from Best Quality House Ware in Ang Mo Kio

Step 1: Rinse with water

Step 2: Stir-fry old vegetables and scallions with pork fat

Step 3: Discard the veggies and reserve the pork fat. Wipe the wok with paper towel. 

Look at how dirty it was! So, I had to rinse and repeat steps 2 (using the reserved pork fat and more veggies) and 3. It took about three tries before the wok is ready. 



Eleanor Hoh said...

Hi Ray, unusual name for an Asian gal?! Very interesting you bought a cast iron wok from Asia and brought back to LA? Wow, long trip. I thought you'd be able to pick one up at an Asian market in LA?

My dad is Hakka and my mom was born in S'pore, so I'm a moggy mix.

When I season woks for people, I bake in oven to give it an overall 'seasoning' first so the handles don't discolor and seals in the bottom as well. Then we do stovetop a couple of times to get the inside started. Yes, lots of work. But, so worth it. The minute you start using, it will start building patina and become blacker. You're going to LOVE your cast iron wok as everyone who has one does. Look forward to seeing what you're going to cook in it. I teach wok cooking so I encourage folks to use their woks not just for Asian stir frys but for everything to speed up building patina, hence Wok Star!

bananami said...

Hi! I'm so glad you're blogging again! It's weird that I just found out about your post today because I was sitting on the couch looking up a recipe for chicken rice in the cookbook we bought when we were in Singapore.

As for woks... We have two. J got a nonstick one from his mom when he was in grad school, and another non-nonstick one when we got married. It's not cast iron. It's darkened a lot.

Hakka House said...

Eleanor: Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for the tip! I'm pretty sure I saw your cooking demonstrations on Youtube before! I'll definitely add your blog to my list of must visits =)

Nana: I've been so lazy about updating my blog, but I was inspired by your recent posts. I'm going to try harder to update at least once a week.