The Secrets to Cooking With a Wok Plus Five Easy Wok Recipes
Step 1: season your wok
When you buy a shiny new wok, you need to season it before you use it. First, scrub the wok with hot soapy water and steel wool to remove any film from the factory. Rinse with hot water, then place it over a low heat for 1-2 minutes until all the water has evaporated. Turn the heat up to high and heat the wok for 30-60 seconds until piping-hot, then remove from the heat and pour in 2 tablespoons of oil, swirling to coat – be sure to have your windows open and the exhaust on as things can get smoky! Continue this process until your wok develops a brown or black coating. If desired, gently stir-fry ginger and spring onions in the oil to help remove any metallic flavour. You can read more about how to season a wok here.
Step 2: heating your wok
Be sure to have all of your ingredients chopped and ready to roll prior to heating the wok. Bring any meat to room temperature. Heat the wok over medium-high heat. The easiest way to tell if the wok is hot enough is to flick a drop of water into the wok – if the water evaporates immediately, you’re good to go.
Step 3: cooking in your wok
Always add cold oil to the hot wok. Use a peanut oil or vegetable oil that can withstand high heat, avoiding olive oil or butter. Cook your ingredients in batches, gently rocking the wok to create movement, and stir-frying the produce with a wok chan (flat-bottomed spoon). It’s important not to overcrowd the wok, otherwise the temperature will plummet and you’ll begin to braise, rather than fry, the food.
Step 4: cleaning your wok
Always rinse your wok under hot water. Don’t be tempted to use any soap, but if any food remains stuck to the sides, sprinkle liberally with salt and then rub with paper towel. Rinse your wok then place on the stove over low heat until dry. Dip a paper towel in oil, then rub it over the surface of the wok before storing. This will ensure it doesn’t rust.
Now that your wok is seasoned, turn up the heat with any wok recipe.