For years, I struggled to season a carbon steel wok on electric stove and struggling get a durable patina on a wok. I tried all the oil-based methods, flax-seed oil, etc. The patina wasn’t durable.
I recently got the idea to use oil with other materials, that when heated, would produce a burned-on layer of carbon, etc. to see if that would produce a thicker, more durable coating.
Well, it worked! I think you could use any mixture, but I’m describing exactly what I did just for the record.
The first, and obvious, use for a wok is for stir-frying. A wok has a lot of surface area for cooking, so foods cook evenly and quickly. Its shape is also useful for creating a sauce in the center of the pot without having to remove the food being cooked.
Woks can also be easily scaled up or down to accommodate large or small batches of food.
Home woks still do a great job of cooking food quickly and evenly though. They are excellent tools for cooking an interesting one pot meal for your family.
In this article we’ll provide you with how to season a carbon steel wok on electric stove step-by-step, stay tuned, and follow the steps below:
Without further ado let’s jump in!
Why Is It Important To Season A Wok Before Using It?
Because most new woks are an untreated metal surface, if you did not season it before using it, any food you cooked on it would probably stick like crazy, even if you used lots of oil.
An unseasoned metal surface has lots of microscopic scratches and pores that are wide open, and only close slightly when heated up. When you place your food onto these heated grooves and holes
the proteins in the food are exuded into these cavities, then the heat denatures them and they coagulate and harden inside those spaces, literally embedding themselves tightly into the metal surface.
When you season a pan, what you are doing is forming a naturally occurring non-stick surface onto the cooking surface. Initially, it may appear to be dark brown coloration and may eventually deepen to a deep black surface.
Have you ever heard of the term “baked on grease” in dish-washing detergent ads? When you season a carbon steel wok or cast iron pan, you are “baking” a layer of clean oil/grease onto it, on purpose. When the fat is heated this way
a thin layer of it polymerizes and forms a tough but thin layer that fills those microscopic pores, and the more the pan is seasoned
the thicker and tougher that non-stick layer becomes. Even if the higher parts are scraped off by a spatula, the pores are still filled with this coating and food will not stick.
However, the chemical detergent action can fully de-grease the surface and remove the non-stick layer from the pores
which is why many people do not recommend cleaning your seasoned wok with soap. Instead, they recommend that you reheat it and “de-glaze” the sticky parts of the wok with water to loosen it up, then scour off the tougher bits with a bamboo scrubber. Any further scouring can be done with wadded-up paper towels and kosher salt.
That’s not sanitized you say? Remember, the surface of a wok can easily reach 400–700 deg F, more than hot enough to sterilize it, and your scouring has removed the excess food particles, so it should be clean too.
Now heat it back up to drive off any excess moisture, then rub a thin layer of cooking oil over the surface and wipe off the excess with a paper towel and let it cool before putting it away. That way you can continue to add to the seasoning layers each time you cook.
How To Season A Carbon Steel Wok On Electric Stove Step-By-Step
Step #1: Stripping the wok
For this step you will need:
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- A stainless steel scouring pad
1. Put the baking soda inside the wok and then add the white vinegar
It’s caustic and it will rip off the manufacturers coating that was put onto the wok so that it wouldn’t rust in the shop
This is an important and very necessary step if you don’t get Your wok totally clean and that coating off of that wok you are not going to have a good time at this so i really suggest that you hunker down and scrub this really well.
2. Put that paste all over that wok
3. Let it sit for about 10 minutes maybe even 15 minutes
Maybe longer depending on how thick that oil is and coat it inside and out and that should do it then after that 15 minute is up
4. Wash the wok
Step #2: Scrubbing the wok
1. Scrub the wok
Scrub vigorously with a hard hand scrub that wok get it as clean as you can get it you don’t want any of that residue, you don’t want any of that oil on that wok, and see how grave the water is getting going to scrub it with the stainless steel scrubber
Use the dawn and put some elbow grease into this puppy and get our done the wok needs to be clean absolutely 100% clean or you will have problems having your patina stay on The wok
One of the things I really have to emphasize on this is that it has to be spotless clean none of this oil has to be on there at all they can’t be there it’s very important to make sure that the wok is just pristine clean before we start.
6. Dry the wok
make sure that it’s completely dry put it on put it on the stovetop if you need to because I can tell you you’re going to need to if in all flashes you don’t want Flash rust flash rust
so you can actually rust out your wok, if you’re not careful so at this point rust is a factor, and cleanliness, is a factor so just be sure to clean this wok very well
Step #3: Tempering the wok
For this step you will need:
- 2 oven mitts
- Turn the stove on high, and put the wok on it
- open up the doors and the windows
- Turn on your fan
1. On step Number three is going to require you to open up the doors and the windows, turn on your, get two oven mitts preferably new if you can get them the myths that can get as hot as they can, turn on the stove on high and to put the wok on it
2. After the wok is heated on the electric stove you’ll see that little spot in the bottom of the wok where it’s getting hot what looks like a little tiny kama and that’s what you want to see
3. You’ll see a gray spot inside the black spot that’s forming on the bottom of that wok that’s the color you want your entire walk to be, that’s right the entire wok has to be that color Uniformly gray all the way around I call it gunmetal gray and it’s basically what the metallurgy behind it
4. After the wok is turning in heat and in color to that gray color the metal is opening up the pores of the metal are actually opening up and that’s what you want
Because the oil is going to go into those pores and it will burn and you’ll have your wok turn into a nonstick skillet because of the heat
Notice: you’ll see there’s like a black ring around that gunmetal gray area on the bottom of that wok you have to get rid of all of that all of that has to come off so and it can only be done by it can’t be done by anything else
So it will take some patience, it will take you to have the mitts ready so that when it’s time to put it on its side and do the sides of the wok that it’ll work.
5. Put the wok on
Remember it will get kind of hot especially if you don’t have wood handles or if you’re just doing this on the electric stove, if you’ve got gas this is going to go a lot faster, if you don’t it’s okay you can still use your electric stove
But just remember that your coils are going to be very hot your wok it will be very hot your kitchen, so be careful don’t burn yourself and do yourself a favor if it starts getting too hot you can stop and let things cool down and then start the tempering process again
But that wok needs to be tempered all the way around and have that gunmetal gray notice right there where that gunmetal gray area is that it is darker and that it is getting to that color and you’ve got to get it to that beautiful gunmetal gray color in order for the Walks patina to Hang on to them to
This also hardens your wok making it nearly indestructible, you could probably hurt it very badly if you bang it around but I suggest you don’t when the wok is going to be your favorite pan in the kitchen because it will be nonstick and it won’t have a lick of paint or any kind of chemical
the people like to put on these stupid pans and you know make them so that they’re so nonstick but this is Nonstick for nonstick was invented so just like a cast-iron skillet the carbon steel want has the same attributes and properties you’ll put your patina on your brand-new tempered walk your walk should be totally dry coated in oil
Step #4: Putting On The Patina
In this step you’ll put your patina on your brand-new tempered wok, your wok should be totally dry-coated in oil.
1. Put the baking fat, and throw an onion in, you can use onions or scallions or any pungent vegetable that’ll help you out with getting the metal taste out of your wok.
2. On medium-high heat let the wok till it’s charred and that’s what you want you to want it to be.
3. Take the onions and discuss them in, and you’re not going to eat these, this is just going to be so hard so And take too long
This is how you initially season your carbon steel wok.
Note: Remember to put some more bacon grease or animal fat in your wok so that it’ll stay kind of wet not too much but just enough to keep a sort of patina going on.
4. You’ll notice how your brain wok to be bet gunmetal gray, and what’s happened here is that the water is heated and it’s absorbing that Overlap absorbing the oil and the oil back is burning, what you want to do is you want to keep that oil burning so that it will create that initial patina.
5. add just a little bit more oil or grease or any animal fat.
6. After a few minutes 10-15 minutes it will get smoky so you want To have high ventilation open up your doors open up your windows, your initial patina it’s going to be kind of high on the heat but you’ll notice how the onions are beginning to brown and that’s what you want.
7. you have a coating of oil all over those onions that’s what you want, you want the caramelization of the onions until they’re charred, want that bottom of the wok laughs black as you can get.
8. Churning the dark starts black color on your wok which you want.
9. Thing about onions is that their sugar in that onion so it is it’s going to burn a little bit or burn but it’s just going to Caramelize them and it’s going to give you a nice rich patina
you can use green onions these chives, garlic chives, and tiny bug juice garlic side they may not be available at your local store so you can get Scalia Shyam’s are great you can use them a week
10. I like to really burn my Onion, so if you don’t like to burn your onions that hard you know that’s okay you need to put this patina on burned onions really helped in that a little bit more grease
and you can do this several times you don’t have to just do it once you can do it until you see the patinas you want on there but it should be nonstick it should turn into a nonstick thing.
Step #5: Testing The Patina
I actually test my patina after I initially seasoned my wok to show you how I do that, I put my wok on medium-high heat as if you do that too, you’ll see smoking it’s getting really dark just a little bit more grease.
It’s really smoky, I got the pan on, and was awesome so just know that you won’t have to do this again if you keep your patina but if you use if you boil in this is you use vinegar in this it will rip off your patina
those two things are really bad for the patina of your wok, especially your stir-fry wok, so I suggest that if you’re going to use a vinegar sauce or if you’re going to do any kind of braising or any kind of boiling get a stainless steel wok that It would help you immensely and you will save the patina on your to wok to the Bryant surprise
if you want you to want to keep that patina at all costs you can sometimes it’s impossible and you have to do this over against part of the nature of the patina, sometimes it will come off don’t worry.
1. Turn everything off okay now I’m going to leave it set and let it cool.
2. leave the eggs in there for about a minute, and on the side
3. you’ll see the eggs moving all of the hand that’s sticking to anything and that’s incredible
That is a wok that’s when you know you’re seasoned well and your walk has a real good seasoning on it and this is how to season a carbon steel wok on electric stove and that’s how I test for a wok patina test.
Why Does It Matter What Type Of Oil You Use For Seasoning A Wok?
Wok cooking is high-temperature cooking, so it should be done with an oil that has a high smoke point.
Most Chinese takeout-type places use soya bean oil to season their woks for this reason. It’s also the oil they use for cooking. I mean, why have two types of oil?
They also choose soybean oil because it’s just about the cheapest cooking oil available. That’s not meant to be a dig at those restaurants though, everyone uses it for that reason
I use it for frying. It’s also neutral in flavor, which is also necessary for most cooking. You don’t always want the flavor of the oil in your dish.
If soybean oil doesn’t appeal to you, then any neutral oil with a high smoke point will work. Canola, safflower, and sunflower oils would also be fine. Peanut oil as well.
What Oil Is Best For Seasoning Carbon Steel Wok?
Canola or grapeseed oils work very nicely for carbon steel and cast iron, also peanut oil as well, add to that you can use grease or any animal greasse to season your carbon steel wok.
1. Make sure to completely remove whatever protective coating there is, the factory puts something on the pan to prevent rust in storage and transport.
2. Get the pan clean, make sure it’s completely dry, then get your oil, turn on the stovetop or oven to high heat
3. Open the windows because it’s going to get smoky. If the pan has an oven-safe handle, use the oven, otherwise, go with the stovetop.
4. Wipe a layer of oil all over the inside of the pan, there shouldn’t be any pooling in the pan, just a full coating.
5. Put the pan on the heat and wait.
The oil will start smoking and you will see light brown patches starting to form. When the smoke stops, take it away from the heat and let it cool.
6. Wipe any residue away and repeat this process until you have a fairly consistent light brown coating.
Over time, if you maintain the coating, the pan will get as glossy black as a cast iron skillet. You should treat the seasoned pans the same way you treat cast iron – avoid detergents when washing,
7. Scrub stuck-on food away with the gentlest scrubber that does the job, use coarse salt occasionally to give it a good cleaning, but never put it in a sink with soapy water.
8. Give the pan a quick wipe while it’s still hot, and avoid cooking acidic foods in it. Keep the tomato sauces and such in stainless or copper pans.
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The patina I think that cooking bacon in a wok is really fabulous and deep fat frying because we’re really heating the pan the pores are open and then you’re just coating the floors with oil at the beginning of like there’s no change it’s like it’s the same color all the time and then gradually like when you stop looking that’s when all of a sudden like moves on to this level
the other thing to avoid is don’t use your walk for like boiling Water or simmering lighten you know wok is so versatile you’re good like say I’m learned well like dumplings i laugh so that’s also going to give all your antenna off so you could like make pot stickers and fry them and then that liquids and then putting the cover on
if you’re only using your wok once or twice a week that’s going to pull the patina off if you’re using it the way a Chinese family would you wouldn’t have to be thinking about these things at all But I’m anticipating somebody who’s not using a wok be super frequently and so like really frustrated as to why the patina never changed
this is how to season a carbon steel wok on electric stove, thanks for reading!