Before you start seasoning your wok, open all your windows and turn on your hood vent. The next step is to wash the wok in hot water with detergent and a steel wool sponge or pad. Rinse the wok and dry it. Place the wok on high heat until the metal turns a blue-yellow color. Remove from stove and lower heat to medium. Next add 1 ½ teaspoons of vegetable oil (you can also use corn or peanut oil) into the wok. Use some sort of heat resistant material, brush or tongs and a paper towel to apply the oil. Heat the wok on low to medium for tilting the wok constantly to redistribute the oil over the entire inside of the pan. You will see smoke rise up from the pan at this point. After about 10-15 minutes turn off the heat and clean off the residual oil with a paper towel. There will be a dark residue on the towel. Repeat oil application until no dark residue remains on the towel. This process should be repeated 3-4 times. After several coats of oil have been ‘burned in’, the wok will begin to turn dark, but may be spotty or uneven. A completely dark wok comes only after multiple uses in the kitchen as the seasoning builds up. When the wok has developed enough of an oily surface that does not look dry when heated up, you may begin to start your wok cooking.
When cleaning the wok, you should never use soap or any abrasive scrubbing, which will dislodge the seasoning layer, especially in the early stages in the life of the wok. After use, rinse the wok with hot water and, if there are any pieces of food sticking, scrub with a paper towel to remove. A well seasoned wok will need very little oil to cook. The average time to season a wok is about 45 minutes. If treated well the wok should give you a lifetime of wok cuisine enjoyment.
- Don’t keep any flammable materials near the stove
- Be careful when shopping for woks. Many come covered with a coating of machine oil to keep the metal from rusting, so be careful when handling not to get the oil on your hands, arms and clothing.
- Make sure you have proper ventilation prior to seasoning.
- Flat bottomed woks are better for electric ranges, while round bottomed woks can damage this type of stove by reflecting heat back at the element.