Cleaning is an important step to ensuring a wok is well maintained. Cooking is fun, but it gets more fun when done with clean cooking pots. Many people prefer carbon steel is less porous than cast iron. It is lightweight and makes a good cooking experience. When it comes to cleaning, it is easy but with extra precautions. Doing the wrong thing might end up damaging it and putting you in a situation of having to buy another one. How exactly should one clean a carbon steel wok?
Step by Step Guide: How to clean a Carbon steel wok?
1. Washing it
Proper maintenance is required to keep a carbon steel wok clean and in good condition. This type of material is very prone to rust, and any slight mistake can ruin everything.
Before starting the washing process, be sure to check the condition of the wok. Does it require minimal cleaning? Are there stubborn stains that call for a thorough cleaning? Is it rusted, or does it contain some burnt food?
Water is a bad element when left on a carbon steel wok. It is a major cause of rusting on this type of material. Therefore, it is never a good idea to soak the wok one bit. It requires handwashing, and you should not throw it into the dishwasher. Doing so will bring damage to the seasoning, which in turn will cause rusting.
A mild soap is needed when cleaning, harsh ones will bring damage, and you don’t want that to happen. Metal scrubbers should also be avoided at all costs unless the wok is rusted and needs scrubbing with a ball of steel wool.
2. Hot water should be your best friend at all times
It would be best if you had it the entire cleaning process. Use hot water to give the work the first rinse. This will loosen the food particles from it and make it easy to clean. Always let the hot water cool a little to have your hands in a safer place. Too much hot water will make you unable to handwash the wok.
3. Scrub off the food particles
Remove the food particles by scrubbing them off with a plastic material rather than a metallic one. Only soak on hot water when there are stubborn foods that get stuck to the wok. Otherwise, leaving it soaked will expose it to rust. When the hot water has loosened the debris, gently scrape the remaining foods and then wash the wok.
4. Continue rinsing with warm water until all the foods have come out
Use a soft sponge and soap to wash the wok until it looks clean. Rinse each time you wash with hot running water. Keep your hands safe from accidentally getting burnt. Countercheck each time to be sure it’s coming out clean.
5. Extra Cleaning
If the carbon steel wok is rusty, additional cleaning is needed. It is the part where you will need steel wool to keep everything clean. To remove rust, use a good amount of soap and scrub it with steel wool one area at a time until it’s all clean. Rinse it with hot water when you are satisfied with how clean it looks. Steel wool damages the seasoning layer of the wok, and re-seasoning should get done after your washing.
6. Dry the wok
Use a kitchen towel or paper towels to dry the inner and outer parts of the wok dry. Ensure you are using dry towels. Place the wok on the burner and turn on the heat. Let it dry on medium heat until all the heat evaporates. It helps in removing excess water.
Season it and store
It would be best if you seasoned the wok immediately after washing it. If there is still visible water, repeat the fourth step above for pre-heating. Add a little oil to a pre-heating wok and then swirl it in a gentle motion. It will evenly distribute the oil to the surface of the wok. It would help if you did this after removing the wok from the heat. Please put it back after swirling to get some heat.
To ensure it properly seasons, add more oil, a tablespoonful, and then throw in a few vegetables. Cook your vegetables for a few minutes making sure you frequently stir them to avoid sticking. Cook on low heat and some of the vegetables you can add are ginger, among others. If the vegetables get stuck during this process, you will have to repeat the entire washing process a second time. That’s why it is best if you do not forget to stir.
Cooking these vegetables can take about 15 minutes, and then you lift the wok from the heat. You will notice a color change on the wok, don’t fret about it. You are doing the correct thing. Remove the cooked vegetables and discard them appropriately.
Allow the wok to cool down, and then give it a final rinse with hot water only. Avoid using soap after seasoning, you’ve just created a non-sticky layer for the wok, and it needs to stay. Use a towel to dry it, and to completely dry it, place it on the burner once more. Two minutes is enough to make the carbon steel wok dry and ready to be stored.
Seasoning in the oven
Another alternative method to using if you do not want to use the countertop method is an oven. Seasoning over this method is not quite popular as the other, but if you own an oven, it’s worth it. You will need aluminum foil to line the wok and then coat it with oil on the exterior and interior. Bake it on the top rack for about 15-20 minutes on 450-degree heat. Remove, rinse with hot water, and dry.
Cleaning should be a regular habit on any kitchen equipment and tools. A carbon steel wok lasts longer when properly taken care of to protect the seasoning. Every time you use your wok, get it cleaned correctly before storage. If you got stranded on keeping it clean, this article gave you the needed tips and a reason to continue with your cooking experience. Cleaning gets easier when done the right way.