While many types of woks are available today, carbon steel is still the best. With proper treatment, it will last forever.
Time Required: 45 minutes
- Wash the wok in hot water with a small amount of liquid detergent and a scrubber (such as a stainless steel sponge or pad).
- If needed, scrub the exterior of the wok with the scrubber and an abrasive cleanser. Do not use the abrasive cleanser on the inside of the wok.
- Rinse the wok and dry thoroughly.
- Place the wok on high heat.
- Move the wok, turning it and tilting it up to the rim and back, until the metal turns a blueish-yellowish color.
- Remove the wok from the stove element. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Add a thin film of oil (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) over the entire inside surface of the wok. There are several ways to do this. One is to use a paper towel to rub the oil over the surface. You may want to use tongs to hold the paper towels. Another way is to use a basting brush for barbecues or any other heat-proof brush to brush on the oil.
- Heat the wok on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Wipe off the oil with another paper towel. There will be black residue on the towel.
- Repeat steps 7 through 9 until no black residue comes up on the paper (about 3 times). The wok is now ready to use.
- Flat bottomed woks are better for electric ranges. Round-bottomed woks can reflect heat back on the heating element, damaging it.
- It is important to thoroughly clean the wok to remove the manufacturer's protective coating.
- In general, it is better not to purchase a non-stick carbon steel wok, as the high heats required for Chinese cooking may damage the non-stick coating.
- If you do purchase a non-stick wok, follow the seasoning and cleaning instructions carefully, or you may damage the coating.