Do you want to know how to season a wok in the oven? This article has you covered. The wok is the best friend of every Asian cook in making all kinds of delicious dishes. It can be your friend too, but not after seasoning it. Only then will you be able to cook something genuinely delectable using your trusty wok. Check how to do that in the rest of this article.
What You’ll Need
For this method, you will need the following:
- Sheet pan
- Aluminum foil
- Paper towel
- Dishtowel or washcloth
- Lard or oil
Once you have all these items, let’s proceed in seasoning your wok in the oven.
There are several ways to season or put a beautiful patina on a wok. But one of the best and easiest ways is simply to bake it. You can put it in the oven, baking inside and out to create the patina that not only turns the pan into a non-stick surface. At the same time, it helps add flavor to the foods you cook with a wok.
Baking is not a traditional way to season a wok. Asians usually just cook and use the pan over and over, which eventually creates the patina. But if you want to speed it up, putting the wok inside the oven is the best way to achieve it. It still requires a bit of time, but it certainly works and gives a beautiful result.
Here is how to season a wok in the oven:
1. Assess the Handles
Once you are done cleaning and drying your wok, check the handles. Are they made from plastic? Can you unscrew them? If yours is a wok with unscrewable plastic handles, go ahead and remove the handles using a screwdriver. In case you cannot remove the handles, you can use a foil to wrap around them.
If not plastic, your wok may have wooden handles. It is also likely that they don’t budge. In this case, you can use a washcloth or wet dishtowel. You can wrap that around the handle, then cover it again with foil. Repeat the process to the other handle if it has one. Don’t forget to do this, or your wok’s handle will crack due to extreme heat.
2. Preheat the Oven
Don’t put the wok into the oven right away. You have to preheat it first to 350-degree Fahrenheit with a rack positioned in the middle if your wok has plastic handles. If it’s the one with wooden handles, preheat the oven at 425-degree Fahrenheit with a rack in the center. Even if the wok has metal handles, still preheat the oven at 425-degrees F with the rack in the same position.
3. Paper Towel and Oil
Whether your wok has plastic, wooden, or metal handles, use a paper towel to rub around 2 tablespoons of oil on its interior and exterior surface. You can use vegetable or canola oil for this, or other oils with high smoking point such as corn, flaxseed, peanut, or soybean oil. Don’t use olive or sesame oil because those have a low smoking point.
4. Place Wok on the Rack and Bake
After oiling your wok, invert it, then place it on the oven rack. Let it bake for around 30 minutes. Once this time passed, please turn off the oven to gradually cool for 15 to 30 minutes. During this time, the seasoning process continues. At the same time, the cooling time allows you to retrieve the wok a lot easier.
5. Remove from Oven and Cool Again
After the initial cooling process is passed, you can now remove the wok from the oven. Let it cool again for around 45 minutes. After that, carefully unwrap the foil and the damp cloth.
6. Heat Over Medium Fire
After baking the wok, the next step involves heating it over medium fire. For this, you will be stir-frying a large sliced onion with 2 tablespoons of canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil. When you stir fry the onion, press it all over the wok’s interior for around 10 minutes. Do this until the onions become charged, and then you are done.
7. Wash the Wok
Discard the charred onions, then proceed to wash the wok. Clean it with dish soap using the sponge’s softer side. After washing, heat it again over low fire for around 2 minutes until it is dry. With that, your wok is now ready.
Wok Seasoning and Care Tips
Besides the first seasoning of your wok, it’s advised that you keep on using it at least three times a week during the first month or two. You can fry anything and do all kinds of frying – stir fry, deep fry, pan-fry, or shallow fry. It will help create a thicker patina. Of course, don’t forget to wash after every use and in between cooking various dishes.
Repeat use of the wok will further season it. On that note, expect that your wok will change color even if it’s still relatively new. During the first few times you use it, food will always stick on it, but that’s natural. In time, your wok will develop a beautiful patina as proof of how much you have used it over the years.
If you want to preserve the seasoning, you can also try these tips:
- Invest in excellent tools such as bamboo wok brush, wok spatial, and wok ladle
- Don’t poach, steam, or boil any product in your new wok
- Avoid cooking acidic products like lemon, tomatoes, and vinegar in your wok that been newly seasoned
- Don’t use any abrasive pads or brush and ware washing chemicals such as soaps in washing your wok
How to season a wok in the oven? First, make sure you’ve protected its plastic or wooden handles, oiled it inside and out, and bake it at the right temperature. But most importantly, use it a lot to fry various foods during the first few months. With that, your wok will develop a patina that turns it into a non-stick pan that eliminates a lot of your hassles.
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