A wok is the most essential item for Asian
cooking and it can be used for stir-frying, deep-frying or steaming. The
other essential utensil is a wok turner or charn - a spade-like scoop
ideal for the continuous, fast scooping and turning required when
stir-frying. You can buy both at Asian or kitchenware shops.
How to Take Care of your Cooking Wok
- New woks, especially traditional rolled steel ones available from
Chinese and Asian stores, are coated with a thin film of lacquer to stop
them rusting while on the shelf. This has to be removed before cooking.
Fill the wok with cold water and add 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of
soda. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 15 minutes. Drain, and
scrub off the varnish with a scourer, repeating the process if any of
the lacquer coating still remains. Rinse and dry the wok thoroughly.
Place the wok over high heat. Make a wad
with a sheet of paper towel and have a small bowl of cooking oil,
preferably peanut oil, ready. When the wok is hot, dip the paper in the
oil and wipe it over the inner surface of the wok with long-handled
tongs - they are safer than rubbing directly onto the surface of the wok
with your hands. Repeat with fresh paper until it comes away clean,
without any trace of color. Turn the heat to low and leave for 15
minutes so the wok can absorb the oil. Repeat this process prior to
using your wok for the first time.
A properly seasoned wok or non-stick wok
should not be scoured on the inside with steel wool. Try not to use
detergents as they can damage the seasoning. If you do burn something,
you many need to use detergent and even fine steel wool to clean your
wok. If this happens, you will need to re-season your wok.
When you have finished cooking and your wok
has cooled, wash it with hot water and a soft brush or cloth. Dry it
thoroughly before storing in a dry area. If you have a steel wok you
should wipe or brush the inside with a very thin layer of oil before
storing. Long periods in a dark, warm, airless cupboard can cause the
oil coating the wok to turn rancid. Wipe clean with paper towels before