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Old 04-12-2019, 03:56 AM   #1
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Cooking with stainless steel pan/wok?

I have a wok that was from my parents and it has been used for 30 years and still perfect now, I believe that it's a stainless steel wok because it always looks silver on the surface and it could be very sticky if I am not careful.

My question is
1. Is all wok or pan made up of stainless steel for sure if it looks silver and shinny on the surface?

2. How can I clean out the dark or black burnt dirt on the bottom of my wok? It has been there for many years I believe, however, they certainly can't be cleaned out with dish detergent....

3. Is it always to avoid frying with high or even moderate heat with stainless steel pan or wok and only always cook with low heat slowly with good amount of oil ? I have many experiences that almost every kind of food could stick to the stainless steel wok quickly if I cook with slightly moderate heat.

Or did I have anything wrong with my cooking method?

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Old 04-12-2019, 03:52 PM   #2
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1. I believe that old school woks are carbon steel, which would start out silver, and get a patina over time, just like cast iron.

2. If your wok is carbon steel, that dark stuff is seasoning, and should be left alone. That seasoning makes your wok practically non-stick over time.

3. Wok cooking is high-heat (hot and fast) cooking. That's why it is healthy. The oil doesn't soak into the food. That also keeps the veggies nice and firm.

Wok cooking technique is high heat and constant movement.



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Old 04-12-2019, 04:06 PM   #3
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I have an All Clad SS wok, mostly because I don't want to deal with the maintenance of a carbon steel wok (had one). I don't cook over really high heat either, as it tends to make a mess inside. Let the meat warm up a bit before cooking, and once you add it to the wok, let it sit undisturbed for a minute or three until it releases (same as what you would do in a SS pan or a grill).

If I was a big stir fry fan I would probably use a carbon steel wok and dutifully maintain it, but for us it's just an occasional use pan.
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Old 04-12-2019, 04:48 PM   #4
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If the shiny parts don't rust, it's stainless steel.

Don't try to clean the dark parts. That's the seasoning that will build up with time. It provides a nice slick surface for cooking.

Cook with it over high heat.
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:01 PM   #5
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Kenny,

See if a magnet sticks to the pan - if it doesn't, it's probably SS, if it does, it's carbon steel. There are SS pans now that a magnet will stick to, so that they are induction capable, but probably not if it is that old.

Seasoning can get thick and crusty - there can be too much of a good thing! If that's what you have there, spray it with some oven cleaner (preferably outside), and that should get it off, though it may take a couple shots. Once you get it all off, polish it as well as you can, if SS, or re-season, if carbon steel.
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:06 PM   #6
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The magnet trick is a good idea. Fridge magnets don't like my SS faced fridge.
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperhead212 View Post
See if a magnet sticks to the pan - if it doesn't, it's probably SS, if it does, it's carbon steel. There are SS pans now that a magnet will stick to, so that they are induction capable, but probably not if it is that old.
You may be correct that the older SS pans are made of non-magnetic SS, but the fact that different grades of SS being non-magnetic / magnetic is older than you are.

300 series stainless (some of which are classified as food grade) are non-magnetic, and are not induction compatible. 400 series stainless is magnetic, and are induction compatible. Most (maybe all?) modern tri-ply cookware has food grade 300 series SS on the inner layer, and 400 series stainless on the outer layer, making them induction compatible.

I haven't heard of seasoning SS pans.
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:44 PM   #8
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Hi all above,

No No No... I didn't mean the cooking surface of the wok went black. The cooking surface is no problem while the bottom surface (where it meets the heat) is black for years. Do I need to clean it ?

Secondly, I can almost always cook only with low heat or otherwise it will stick, egg will stick, meat will stick, everything will stick and burn quickly if I cook with high or moderate heat. This is not a non-sticky wok I believe, so should I still try to cook with high heat to be more healthy? (some said)
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenny1999 View Post
Hi all above,

No No No... I didn't mean the cooking surface of the wok went black. The cooking surface is no problem while the bottom surface (where it meets the heat) is black for years. Do I need to clean it ?

Secondly, I can almost always cook only with low heat or otherwise it will stick, egg will stick, meat will stick, everything will stick and burn quickly if I cook with high or moderate heat. This is not a non-sticky wok I believe, so should I still try to cook with high heat to be more healthy? (some said)
My cast iron skillet has black stuff on the bottom, too. It doesn't affect the cooking ability, so I don't worry about it.

I use my SS sauté pan for stir-frying, so I can't help with your wok.
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kenny1999 View Post

No No No... I didn't mean the cooking surface of the wok went black. The cooking surface is no problem while the bottom surface (where it meets the heat) is black for years. Do I need to clean it ?
I wouldn't. The blackened bottom helps absorb and conduct heat more efficiently than a shiny bottom. Plus, it adds character to your wok.
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