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 requires when
stir-frying. You can buy both at Asian or kitchenware shops.
How to take care of your Cooking Wok
New works, 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, 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 may 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