I just bought a wok over the weekend and didn’t realise the full process of breaking it in – or as they call it ‘seasoning a wok’. Macau is full of old shops that sell woks and almost every local earlier generation housewife has one. While I was contemplating which one to buy, two middle age ladies came and chipped in on which one I should buy. Size, metal composition, what am I cooking etc. What a science! Apparently people who are anaemic can get better with more ‘metallic’ works, hence the bundle of questions that come with buying one. I went with a steel one instead of a heavy giant professional iron wok.
I’ve merged tips from my mother who still cooks with her wok that’s older than me (more than 3 decades), The Kitchn and a Hong Kong friend and the old Macau shopkeeper. My friend e_ting, Hong Kong food blogger extraordinaire also has tips on how she seasoned her wok. There’s also Grace Young’s “Breath of a wok” you can refer to to build that everlasting relationship with your wok.
Anyhow, I got home and scrubbed it out with a steel wool as instructed and rinsed off with hot water, dried it with a tea towel and left it on the stove.
I woke up to a rusty wok – so bizarre! So I scrubbed it out and am doing the ginger scallions fry initiation.
No one told me owning a wok was a committed relationship for maintenance, but it’s fascinating that woks have a life of their own and go rusty or fall apart if not oiled and taken care of.
*Update: My first two fries of vegetables have left a metallic taste, I think I will do the ginger & scallion stir fry again but it’s becoming close to the colour of what it should look like according to sources!