A new wok can be scary to use for the first time if you have never owned one before. You may think that once you get your hands on it, you start cooking with it right away. You can’t be more wrong. Giving the new wok proper care before using it determines the longevity and food taste in the long run. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to use a wok for the first time.
Seasoning the wok for the first time
A new wok comes with the manufacture’s coating. It helps the wok stay non-stick and free from damage before it gets sold. With this layer, the wok gets protected from any water exposure that may come into contact with it. It is likely to rust when exposed to moisture. The first thing you want to do when you have the wok is to remove the factory coating. You are therefore required to clean and wash it off and add your seasoning before cooking with it.
Note that if you bought a non-stick wok, skip this step. You do not need to season non-stick woks straight away after buying.
Things you will need
- New carbon steel wok
- Mild liquid dish soap
Washing the factory oil
Carbon steel woks that are still very new do not have seasoning. The only thing they have is the protective layer that comes with it from the manufacturer. It requires washing before use. Wash it using mild dish soap and a scrubber to remove the oil. Clean both the inside and the outer surface of the wok. When done, use hot water to rinse it. The wok should be ready for the next step when cleaned.
Take the already cleaned wok and place it on the stove. Over low heat, let the wok dry for a few minutes. Take it from the heat when you notice there isn’t any visible water left. If there are still water droplets on it, it can develop some rust when stored that way.
Heat the wok
Place the wok on high heat until it’s hot enough. The rule of thumb is to add a drop of water to determine whether it is ready or not. The water droplet should evaporate within a few seconds to let you know the wok is dry and ready for seasoning.
Add oil to the wok
Remove the wok from heat and add two tablespoons of oil. The wok should not smoke after adding the oil. This will show that you over-heated it in the previous step and therefore needs to cool for a couple of minutes. Carefully wipe off the oil from the heated wok with paper towels. Wash the wok again and repeat the previous steps.
Add two tablespoons of oil again on the cleaning wok. Swirl it to get an even coverage of coating at the bottom and the sides.
Place it on the stove or gas burner and add ginger, garlic, and scallions to it. Stir-fry the aromatics on medium heat for fifteen or twenty minutes. The wok will start to develop a change of color – bluish, black, or yellow-brown color. Some do not undergo a color change. The patina should darken to get a non-stick coating. Remove the aromatics from the wok and throw them away. Let the wok cool down.
Wash And dry the wok
When the wok is cool enough, run it on hot water only. This step does not need the use of soap as the previous one. Any time you wash a wok, always use hot water instead of cold water.
The method of drying a wok stays the same each time. Place it over low heat to dry for a couple of minutes until there are no water droplets left. The wok is seasoned and ready to use for cooking.
Cooking with the seasoned wok
When using a newly seasoned wok, it is important to use it the correct way. A wok used for the first time is different from one an old one in terms of the patina. A new one has not developed a non-stick patina to manage some ingredients.
The more you will use the new wok for cooking, the more the coating gets non-stick. The best cooking methods to try on a new wok for first time cooking is stir-frying. The oils will make the coating strong.
Things to avoid with a first-time wok
Resisting some cooking methods on your newly seasoned wok can be hard, especially if you want to try various recipes. You should leave some foods for constantly used woks or until the new wok gets used to lot of cooking. With a first-time wok, you want the patina to get strong enough, and therefore steaming and boiling should be avoided since they’re a moisture-related cooking method.
Have patience until you get a good coating. Also, to get a faster non-stick coating, avoid acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes, lemon and vinegar. Once the coating is strong, you can experiment with any other cooking methods.
Take care of the wok after using it
Once a carbon steel wok gets seasoned, you need to maintain it to protect the patina properly. Wash it with hot water after every use. Unless there is food burnt and stuck on it, you might not need soap or a scrubber but just soaking in hot water. In cases where the wok loses its seasoning, you can always re-season it before cooking and storing it in your pantry.
Read more : Cooking Wok Vs Frying Pan
Following the correct procedures and instructions will make it easier to use a wok for the first time. Carbon steel woks are not pre-seasoned, and cooking needs seasoning to make it non-stick. It creates a patina and protects it from rusting and corrosion, especially if you live in humid areas. Using aromatics enhances the patina, and the more you use it to stir-frying, the better non-stick coating you will have. Once you have a good coating, never be scared to boil, steam, deep fry, or smoke food with it.