‘Good cooks never lack friends.’
Woks were originally designed to sit over a hole, hence their famous round bottoms, so trying to get an authentic wok to sit on top of a conventional cooker is nigh-on impossible without a wok ring. Wok rings (which can be bought in any Oriental supermarket) sit directly over the bars of a standard gas cooker and the wok nestles snugly on top.
In China woks are made from cast-iron or carbon-steel. They season beautifully (I’ll go into seasoning in a second) and basically the more you use your wok, the more non-stick it becomes. Modern woks in the UK are generally made of stainless-steel, aluminium or metal clad with a non-stick coating. Stainless-steel and aluminium woks are difficult to season and food still sticks even at high temperatures so more oil is needed to stop this. Non- stick woks are, well, nonstick. When buying a non-stick wok, make sure it is hard-wearing and offers a lifetime guarantee.
‘Seasoning’ a wok is the term used for building thin layers of oil over the wok’s surface to create a non-stick layer. Only cast-iron and carbon-steel woks can be seasoned successfully.
Never use soap to wash your seasoned wok; rinse with hot water only.
Always ensure your wok is completely dry before storage; the best way is to wipe dry and place over a low heat for 2 minutes until no water is visible. Allow to cool and then store.
During your wok’s infancy you’ll damage the delicate seasoning layer you have just spent time developing if you use it for boiling or steaming, so use a different wok for these cooking techniques. Over time your wok will build up a strong layer and be more resilient.
THE SEASONING PROCESS
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