Use and Maintain a Carbon Steel Wok
Carbon steel woks are widely used and loved by the people who love cooking. Because it’s pretty easy to use and maintain a carbon steel wok and affordable too.
Moreover, you can expect healthier cooking from this appliance.
But no appliance will last longer if you cannot take care of it properly, a carbon steel wok is no exception.
It requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Today, we will talk about how you should use and maintain a carbon steel wok.
Without further ado, we better get straight to the point.
Basics of a Carbon Steel Wok
If you are going to invest in having a new carbon steel wok, then yes, you should grow some ideas about what’s what.
So, first of all, what a carbon steel wok is? It is a round-bottomed pan that comes with high-walls. The round-bottom helps to continue heat circulation and the high walls keep your food stable in the pan while tossing the ingredients.
Moreover, woks come with either two side handles or a long handle. Most of the traditional woks are suitable for use on either a gas stove or an open fire rather than use on the electric stoves.
This is because the rounded-bottom does not get in touch properly with the flat heated surface. For this, a wok heats up slowly on an electric stove as well as enough heat distribution is not easily available here.
So, what to do if you prefer using a traditional flat-surfaced wok on an electric stove? Well, you should get a wok that comes with a flat bottom. And, purchase a wok ring as well. These will help you to avoid any hassle that relates to an electric stove.
Once you purchase a good wok, you need to know how to properly use and maintain it. Pin it for later, we will talk about it in detail.
However, steaming, boiling, stir-frying, and braising are most commonly done using a wok. If you are a fan of mouthwatering Asian-styled dishes, then wok is the appliance you need the most.
Specialties of a Carbon Steel Wok
Reasons why a lot of people out there are in love with carbon steel woks are-
- The perfect weight. Carbon steel woks are not that heavy as cast iron ones, yet it’s sturdy and durable.
- It distributes heat evenly.
- Carbon steel woks are suitable for high heat.
- If you season it well, it can create a perfect non-stick surface.
Proper Ways of Using a Wok
Once you purchase a wok, go through the steps below.
Wash well your newly-purchased wok by hand and thoroughly scrub the polymer coating on its surface.
Basically, this polymer coating is to protect the wok’s metal from rusting.
Now, pour some water in it, add a fair amount of dish soap, then wait for 20 minutes, and let the water boil.
After straight 20 minutes, use a steel wool or an abrasive pad for scrubbing the coating. Done? Now, rinse it well with hot water.
The ‘Tempering’ step will require a hot gas flame. To make it happen, place your empty pan straight on the stove and let it get heated at a high temperature.
Rotate the pan periodically and let every surface to oxidize. Now, leave it alone, it needs to become cold.
To season your new carbon steel wok, you will need time and high heat. If you ask, ‘why seasoning is important?’ Well, it’s needed to prevent your wok from rusting. Also, the seasoning will provide your wok with non-stick properties.
The first thing you have to do is to get any of the cooking oil (peanut, sunflower, canola, flaxseed oil), tongs, and a paper towel. Once you manage these, coat your wok evenly with the oil.
Now, grab your wok and place it upside down in your oven. Set the temperature at 450 Farenheight and bake it for 20-25 minutes. Before you put the wok in the oven, don’t forget to remove the heat-sensitive handle.
In case, you find that the handle is not removable, what should you do? You better use a gas stove in this case. Repeat the seasoning cycle three times, at least. It will produce a lot of smoke.
Lastly, go through a stir-frying process of ginger and some scallions on high heat until it is crispy and brown. This is how you can get rid of the metallic taste of food.
So, that’s that! You can use your new carbon steel wok right now! From step 1 to step three, this whole process may take 2-4 hours.
How to Maintain a Wok Properly?
Maintenance is something you never should overlook. Proper maintenance will help you to avoid the troubleshooting part in the future.
Here, we’ve compiled some tricks and tips that will help you to maintain a wok properly.
- Once you cook a strong food like a curry dish or a fish, wash your wok and then heat it. Heat is for getting rid of the leftover flavors of the food you just cooked.
- If you’re going to use the wok after a long time, wash the wok well before you use it. At this moment, if you notice any rusty spot in the wok, then you didn’t heat it enough to remove all the moisture.
- Do not ever forget to wash and dry your wok after each use. And, even if you only steamed, try to wipe the wok down with vegetable oil.
- Once you cook any acidic ingredients (e.g vinegar), wash your wok promptly. Otherwise, any acidic ingredient can damage the wok indeed. However, using a stainless steel wok will not cause as much of a problem as a carbon steel wok in this case.
- In case, you notice any wear on the wok, you can re-season it anytime.
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Additional Tips to Use and Maintain a Wok
Any appliance will last long only when you’re careful about the use and maintenance of it. To make your path easier, here are some additional tips that will help you to take care of your wok.
- For regular cleaning, use a wok brush or a paper towel and wash the wok with hot water. If you think it needs a bit of scrubbing, try to avoid using soap because it may remove the seasoning, use coarse kosher salt instead.
- If you are going to store it, done with the cleaning process and get rid of the remaining moisture. To do so, put your wok on low heat. After that, re-oil the surface using a paper towel and store the wok in a dry place.
- As we said before, try to avoid cooking acidic foods like tomato or vinegar in your carbon steel wok.
- Avoid using metal utensils because they may scratch the seasoning.
So, that’s all about the proper ways to use and maintain a carbon steel wok. If you can properly follow the instructions, your work will last for a long period, no doubt.
A rusty or worn wok can make your kitchen time worse. If you love to cook, you know how important it is to take the kitchen appliances seriously. Choose the right appliance wisely and take care of it, it will last long.