Cooking Class: Stir-Frying

Caring for your Wok

Properly caring for your wok will extend its lifetime.

Treat carbon steel or cast-iron woks much like a cast-iron pan. Coat with oil and heat before the first use (this is called seasoning the pan), and keep dry to avoid rust. You'll need to follow the manufacturer's specific instructions. To remove any residual metallic taste before cooking in a new wok, stir-fry onions in the seasoned pan until charred. Discard the onions, wash the pan, and it's ready to use. To find Chinese woks and tips on seasoning and cleaning woks, visit Wokshop.com.

Clean carbon steel or cast-iron woks with soapy water and a gentle scrub, if needed. Don't scrub aggressively, or you may remove the patina. If food is stuck, cool the wok, soak in water until food is loose, then scrub gently. Rinse well and then heat the wok over high heat until completely dry. Coat pan lightly with oil before storing if it's used infrequently or is new.

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