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maintaining a Wok?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I just received a new cast iron wok as a present and I was wondering how do I maintain it? I've been told to just run hot water over it after each use but this doesn't get rid of the pieces of vegetables, tofu, and remnants of meat. I am afraid to leave that kind of residue because I don't want it going rancid. However, I was told that shouldn't scrub it and the residue should build to add to the flavor over time. I am very confused!
post #2 of 6
Season it. Rub a light layer of oil over it. Heat it very hot. An oven at 500 for an hour. Leave it in there 'til cool. (assuming the handle is heat proof; with cast iron it should be)

Oil it before use.

Clean in hot water. Do clean it. What you want to build up is carbonized oil, not food. A teflon safe scrubbie is safe here too, or you could use the bamboo scrubbers classically associated with Woks. An unscented dish detergent/soap can be used sparingly in really tough cases. Rinse VERY well.

Heat it to dry, rub lightly with a coat of oil. Store where air flows to help prevent rancidity. Camp Chef makes a non rancid all natural cast iron conditioner. Seems to be coconut oil? Works great.

If it does go rancid anyway, heat it very hot until it stops smoking to burn out the old oi (15 minutes)l. Cool a bit, rub with new oil and cook.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 6
Cast Iron?? It must weigh a ton.

In China and in Chinese restaurants they use a special bamboo brush to clean the food residue of their steel woks. ligtly oiled when not in use but never soap and water.

post #4 of 6
I agree with Jock. Handle the wok like you would a cast iron skillet. Cooking with it at high temperatures will help reseason the wok as you use it. Clean the wok right after you use it, when it's still hot preferrably. Don't clean with soap, but with water and a brush (either bamboo or those still nylon scrubbing brushes). If you end up scraping away some of the seasoning trying to deal with a stubborn food particle (done this many times), just reseason.

What I always do with my wok (and what my mom taught me) is after you wash it, place it back on the stove and turn it on high to dry all the water out. At this time, after the water is gone, you can pour a little oil in it, rub around with a paper towel, and heat for at least 10 minutes on high. Doing this will keep your wok healthy and prevent rusting if it's not fully seasoned yet.

If rust appears (done this too), just wash well with soap and water. Then reseason as phatch suggests.

post #5 of 6


I have had the same wok for 14 years since I graduated from highschool. The airport authority thought it was a bomb when they saw it in the x-ray machine as I brought it back from home in my luggage. Same one. I love mine b/c it has a wooden handle and I can hold on to it while I cook and shake it all around. I abuse it and it has taken all the abuse and more.

After I got the thing I just started cooking with it. It is cast iron and it was already black and seasoned. Heat it up well before you start to cook with it, add a good oil, peanut, canola or grapeseed and cook away. After your done wash as you would any other pot or pan I use soap and a scrubbie but make sure to dry it. I don't leave oil on it b/c I don't like the after taste and old oild can get sticky and gummy. It's easy and the best tool in the kitchen. It fries, doughnuts, french fries, fried rice, hash browns, omlettes, stir-fry, spring rolls, etc. It steams, place some water in the wok, then place a sturdy glass bowl in the wok and a plate on top of that, a perfect steamer. Better than bamboo, bamboo absorbs too many odors. Place a while fish on the plate, chicken breasts or ma po tofu and you are set. For recipies, let me know your interested. The only thing I don't make in it is soup, and I prefer my grill pan for steaks and chops. Hope this helps.
post #6 of 6
Correct. Handle wok just as you would any iron skillet in seasoning and maintenance. Do a search of the forums and you'll find lengthy existing threads on both topics.
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