MMMMM----- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.01
       Title: The Care and Feeding of Woks
  Categories: Information, Ceideburg 2
       Yield: 2 servings
       1    Wok Information
   This should answer all your questions about the care and feeding of
   A Wok That Can Rust Is a Wok Worth Cleaning by Joyce Jue
   Recently, a reader wrote asking if he should throw out his rusty wok
   and start with a new one.  Keep it!  An old wok that can rust is a
   wok worth owning.
   Unless the cooking surface has deep pits from rust, a wok can be
   cleaned and reseasoned.  It should stir-fry better than when it was
   Wok Talk:
   Why an I writing about woks again?  Because the “rusty wok” question
   is the one I'm most frequently asked, followed by:  How do you season
   If you want to feel like a Chinese cook and produce dishes that taste
   authentically Chinese, I highly recommend using a carbon spun-steel
   or thin iron wok for stir-frying.  Both require initial seasoning,
   but regular use will maintain the seasoning and eventually produce a
   shiny black patina finish.
   Chinese cooks are persnickety about their woks.  It takes time, care
   and lots of cooking before a wok develops a patina that almost
   impervious black coating found on well-used woks.  The ultimate goal
   is for the wok to impart wok hay, an elusive pan flavor and aroma
   that is associated with Chinese restaurant dishes.
   Actually, wok hay comes from cooking over extremely high heat in a
   well-seasoned pan.
   Finely Tuned Implement:
   Once a wok imparts wok hay, it is respected like a finely-tuned
   A well-seasoned wok is almost non-stick.  I often stir-fry vegetables
   using just a thin film of surface oil.
   As the patina builds up, less cooking oil is required.
   A wok is quite sturdy.  It stands up to high heat better than any
   other cooking pan.  It seems impervious to being banged or battered -
   I have accidentally dropped mine down four flights of concrete stairs
   and it came through intact with patina unscratched.
   A wok’s worst enemies are soap and scouring pads - they'll remove any
   seasoning the wok has acquired.
   Until a wok takes on a shiny, smooth, black patina, the initial
   seasoning must be strengthened by frequent use of the pan, and
   fortified by an occasional light re-seasoning.
   There is no shortcut to achieving a perfectly seasoned wok.  It comes
   from use.
   Seasoning: To season a new carbon spun-steel wok or to re-season an
   old rusty wok, thoroughly scrub it inside and out with soap and a
   steel wool scouring pad to remove the manufacturer’s protective
   coating on a new wok, or the rust on an old one.  Rinse thoroughly
   with hot water.  Some manufacturers apply a coating that is hard to
   remove, so set the wok on the stove, fill it with water and boil it
   for several minutes until the coating dissolves.  Pour out the water
   and scrub the surface clean with steel wool and soap.
   Set the clean wok over high heat.  Heat until a few drops of water
   sprinkled into the wok immediately turn into dancing beads.  While
   the pan is heating, it will change from shiny steel gray to blue,
   purple, red and, finally, black.
   Dip several sheets of wadded-up paper towel into peanut or corn oil
   and wipe the oil on the entire inside surface of the wok (you may
   want to use long-handled tongs to hold the towels).  Reduce heat to
   low and let the wok sit over the heat for 15 minutes to absorb the
   oil - the color changes will continue and, hopefully, the bottom of
   the wok will darken. In time and with frequent use the entire wok
   will turn black. if the surface looks dry, wipe with another thin
   film of oil.  Remove wok from the burner and let it cool.
   Reheat the wok and repeat the oiling and heating process once more
   before using it for stir-frying.
   S.F. Chronicle, 9/18/91.
   Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; December 13 1991.