Seasoning a Wok the Proper Way


Seasoning a wok is an important step to have a great wok that will work well with Chinese cooking methods and bring many authentic Chinese recipes to life.

Due to their porous nature, the two major wok types, iron woks and carbon steel woks, need to be seasoned properly to reach their best cooking potentials.

Woks made of stainless steel need no further treatment. However, they need more oil to prevent food from sticking to the wok in cooking.

Methods of Seasoning a Wok

There are normally two ways for seasoning a wok, in an oven or over a burner on the top of a stove. Both ways work oil on a wok's surface to let the wok absorb the oil.

The oil recommended is lard or palm oil, since polyunsaturated oils tend to have a higher smoking point that minimizes oil fumes, resulting easily in an uneven coating.

You need to take extra care if you choose to use this type of oil, such as peanut oil and corn oil.

1. In an oven

Brush the wok surface with lard and bake in a 300°F (about 150°C) oven for a hour.

This way is easy to do, but the handles of a wok might not suitable to be put in an oven, and wok surfaces tend to be seasoned unevenly because the oil that used for seasoning flows down to the bottom of the wok.

2. Over a burner on the top of a stove

Heat the wok until its entire surface is hot. Use a heat-proof brush (ex., barbeque brush) or a rag to brush lard or palm oil on the wok's surface in a thin layer.

Be sure to cover every inch of it.

Cool the wok and then reheat it to add another layer of oil. Repeat the steps for a few times until the wok begin to turn dark and the surface doesn't look dry anymore when heated up.

Tip 1: If there is excess grease collected in the wok's center, make sure to sop it up before each reheating. This will prevent a gel-like coating from forming there.

Tip 2: Make sure you have enough ventilation when you do the wok seasoning. Keep flammable materials away from the stove and the wok.

A Few Tips After Seasoning a Wok

At the beginning, your wok will require a little more care to get the best seasoning result. After you pay these attentions to it, your wok will develop a beautiful, black patina and work for you beautifully. Food will no longer stick to the surface during cooking, and the well-seasoned wok will greatly enhance the flavors of the food that no non-stick pan can do.

Here are the steps to take after your initial wok seasoning:

  • When cooking, heat the wok until it is smoking hot before you add in oil to cook.
  • Try to use it for dishes that ask for more oil, like deep frying; it can help build up the layers of seasoning.

  • Try to avoid cooking starchy foods or simmering dishes at the beginning to prevent the loss of the seasoning
  • .
  • Rinse with plain water following each cooking session; never use soap on it. Don't worry about the traces of grease from the cooking. Don't wipe with a towel; instead, dry the wok over high heat on a burner, until the wok is smoking.

  • If the wok surface does not look shiny and oily after dried on a burner, brush in a thin coating of oil (cooking oil is fine now) and heat the wok to absorb it. Let the wok cool and sop up the excess grease if there is any.

  • If there are bits of food sticking on the wok's surface after rinsing, use a soft sponge to work them off gently – just enough to remove them.

A great wok is a well-seasoned wok. It won't rust. However, from time to time, part of the seasoning may be depleted due to heavy usage. Re-seasoning it will solve the problem.

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