Cooking with a Wok

Using a wok to cook

An essential tool in the Asian kitchen, the wok is designed to cook food quickly over very high heat. When choosing a wok, use a round-bottom wok on a gas stove and a flat-bottom wok on an electric stove. Spun steel, the traditional material used for woks, offers excellent heat conduction and is heavy enough to heat oil quickly, yet light enough for easy handling.

Woks are often sold covered with a layer of grease that is intended to protect the wok from rust. Clean the wok before using it for the first time by washing it inside and out with soap and an abrasive pad.

After washing a new wok, season it before using. Heat the wok over high heat until a bead of water evaporates upon contact with the hot pan. When the pan is hot, wipe it evenly with a thick wad of paper towels dunked in corn or peanut oil. The oil will begin to smoke, and the center of the wok will blacken. Once the wok is completely coated with oil, remove it from the heat. Let it cool at least 10 minutes. Wipe off any oil left on the surface. Reheat the wok and coat it with fresh oil. Let the wok cool another 10 minutes. Repeat this process 2 more times. After applying the last coat of oil and heating briefly, wipe the wok dry so that the surface is not left with a gummy residue when it cools.

When cleaning a seasoned wok, rinse the wok with hot water and use a rag or soft sponge to remove any bits of food stuck to the pan. Avoid using soap or abrasive pads on a seasoned wok. Once the wok is clean, wipe it dry and heat it over high heat. Wipe the hot pan with oil-soaked paper towels, then let it cool, wiping off any oil that remains on the surface. It's a good habit to clean a wok immediately after using, while it is still hot. Then, dry it over high heat before storing.

To store, keep your wok in a dry spot where it won't be easily scratched.

Back to Asian Kitchen

Visitors Currently Online: 12