season your wok

broccoli stir fryA bit ago, I had the great fortune to host Grace Young here at Sizzleworks, teaching a stir fry class. Oh my, her food is fabulous! And she taught me a quick method, as well as a traditional method to season a wok:

quick season, popcorn in a wok!:

 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
sea salt

Heat the oil and 2-3 popcorn kernels in a covered wok (if you do not have a lid for your wok, just use one from another pan that will fit into the wok) over medium heat, about 1 ½ minutes or until you hear the kernels pop. Quickly open the lid just enough to add the remaining popcorn. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. If you do not hear constant popping, increase the heat to medium. Shake the wok constantly back and forth on the burner about 1 ½ minutes or until the kernels stop popping. Salt to taste. Makes 6 cups.

To really make the popcorn special, you may try sprinkling over the hot popped corn:

1 tablespoon truffle oil & 1/2 teaspoon truffle salt

1 teaspoon chili powder (or garlic powder) and 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons superfine sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

traditional seasoning technique:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch scallions, dried well
1/2 cup sliced unpeeled ginger, dried well
  1. Wash the inside and outside of a carbon-steel wok with hot water using a stainless steel scrubber and liquid dishwashing soap — this process will take about 10 minutes. Rinse with hot water. Dry the wok thoroughly with paper towels. Dry the wok on a burner over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to make sure the pan is totally dry.
  2. Open the windows and turn the exhaust fan on high speed. Heat the wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. (Your wok may begin to turn yellow or brown at this point, do not worry. The discoloration is normal; it may not be even.) Swirl in the oil and add the scallions and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and stir-fry 5 minutes, pushing and smearing the mixture up sides of the wok to the edge. Continue stir-frying over medium heat 15 minutes. If the mixture becomes dry add an additional tablespoon or two of oil. Remove from heat and allow the wok to cool. Discard the scallions and ginger.
  3. Wash the wok with hot water. Dry the wok on a burner over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to make sure the pan is totally dry. The wok is seasoned and ready for cooking. ALWAYS dry your wok on the stovetop.
  4. If rust appears on your wok, clean it on the stove top over medium heat, with a tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Carefully rub with a large pad of paper towels.

** For the first few months of cooking in your new wok, avoid acid, as it will remove the patina. If this happens, just re-season your wok.

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