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