ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Wok 101: How to Use a Wok, and How to Season a Wok

Updated on April 8, 2013
Woks are rounded pans used in a variety of ways in cooking.
Woks are rounded pans used in a variety of ways in cooking. | Source

What is a Wok?

A wok is a pan used in Asian-style cooking that has either slanted or rounded sides. Foods are cooked at high temperatures in the center bottom and either pushed up the sides to keep warm or for later introduction in the menu item, or simply removed as others are added. A wok can be made of non-stick materials or out of steel that needs constant seasoning. A flat squared or rounded spoon helps to push the food around, and a strainer will help lift foods out of the oil if you are frying or if it is large. Woks can be completely rounded at the bottom, or have a small part that is flat so it sits on flat tops. The bottom part will indicate where it can be used (rounded works better using the base or on gas fire, and the flat bottom works well on hobs that need direct contact with the heat, such as electric and induction).

Woks are handy in many different cuisines, and can also be used for quick breakfast omelets. Here is a guide on how to season a wok if it needs it, and best ways on how to use a wok.

Seasoning (The Pan)

If the pan you're using is not non-stick or stainless steel, it will probably need seasoning upon first use and each time it is used, mainly to prevent rusting.

  1. Scrub the inside and outside of the wok with a scrub pad and hot water. This will remove any factory-placed coatings on the pan itself.
  2. Rinse the pan, and dry thoroughly until all moisture is gone.
  3. Rub the inside of the pan with a generous coating of peanut oil (peanut oil can withstand higher temperatures without burning).
  4. Heat the pan over medium to medium high heat until very hot, getting the sides as well as the bottom hot. The oil should begin to steam (about 4-5 minutes). Don't place the pan over high heat and do this, but rather heat the pan up more slowly to ensure the sides have been heated as well.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
  6. Wipe all excess oil once the pan has cooled to room temperature. Use or store the wok.
  7. After using the wok each time, this process must be done if it has been scrubbed with any kind of soap. Otherwise, after using, rinse well and wipe dry, then coat it with a light rubbing of peanut oil.

Preparing Foods

Since foods will be cooked quickly at high temperatures, they must be cut in certain ways to ensure they are done at the end of cooking, and evenly.

  • Meats should be cut thinly across the grain (shave it or cut paper-thin if the meat is tougher). Piece sizes will depend on the meat being used, but cubes, slivers or thin strips work well.
  • Vegetables can be julienne cut, sliced on the diagonal (for a change of shape), thinly sliced, or cut into small dice. The vegetables should be uniform in shape in size for the type being used. If the vegetable is cabbage or firm lettuce, shred or slice thinly.
  • If fish or shellfish is being used, depend on the species, cut into small cubes or slices, or chop up uniformly if those shapes cannot be cut easily.
  • Use the right oil for the wok in cooking. Olive oil, butter & margarine, shortening, lard & other animal fats, as well as specialty oils will not work in the wok as they will end up burning before the cooking has even started, and they are highly flavored and will end up changing the overall flavors of the dish. Use oils that can be cooked at higher temperatures without burning and won't change the flavors of the foods being cooked. Peanut oil, safflower oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil and even soybean oils are all good choices for cooking oils in woks.

Using the Wok

Initially, recipes will call for a bit of oil to be placed at the bottom of the wok. This is the part that will do the actual cooking. Heat on high, then place the food in the bottom part. Stir quickly to move the food item around, and work constantly. Depending on the recipe, the food may or may not be browned or may need to only partially cook. Vegetables may need an initial cooking to a crisp texture, then added back to the pan later in the recipe to finish cooking to a crisp-tender texture. Meats may be cooked quickly at first, then simmered later in the wok.

Woks work well at very high temperatures, but at a lower temperatures as well. Woks can be used to braise items and for deep-fat frying. It is helpful to use a thermometer when deep-fat frying to ensure the oil is at a proper and regulated temperature (adjust the flame when using).

Since woks have a rounded bottom, some models have a base on the bottom for it to sit on. These work with fire heat, and not with electric or other hobs since those need direct contact with the element to heat. Simply use as is in those situations.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)