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Old 07-13-2007, 11:07 PM   #1
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Help With A New Wok

Okay, I bought a new 18" round bottomed stainless steel wok by Eastman Outdoors. It came with an instructional DVD, which I did watch. Apparently, they intend for you to use these with an outdoor, stand-alone wok stove thing, which I didn't buy. I had purchased a wok ring for use on my gas stove. The care instructions for the wok said to season it first with peanut oil over medium heat. I was surprised because I didn't know you should season stainless steel but then again, I know very little about cooking!

I just tried seasoning it tonight but immediately, the oil burned on the bottom of the wok. Maybe I'm not using the ring right. I took the grate off of the burner and set the ring down around the burner. The ring seems kind of shallow and the bottom of the wok is in the flame. Is this right? Should the flame be touching the wok? I has the burner on medium setting but maybe that was still too hot? Does anyone know what I did wrong and how to do it right? I'm going to be scrubbing the bottom of the wok for a while, I think. It's a burnt black mess. (It's not supposed to be like that, is it?)

Ya'll are the best and I've learned so much here the past couple of weeks. Thanks in advance for any insights into my latest kitchen mess!

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Old 07-14-2007, 10:49 AM   #2
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1) if you had a carbon steel wok i'd say you were ok, but with ss the idea is not to blacken it. My guess is you will do less heat damage to your range by keeping the grate in place. the wok ring can be used in either direction wide or shallow, so go wide. This is now probably the medium heat intended. There are all kinds of stainless cleaners out there to get things back to normal.

visit thewokshop.com: The Leading Woks Site on the Net for any more info
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:15 AM   #3
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2.) stainless steel does not need to be seasoned but as robo said, carbon steel does. you want the black stuff on carbon steel, incorrectly called a patina, but it should not be on stainless. the black stuff is cooked fat that fills all of the micrscopic pits in the iron surface, both preventing oxidation and creating a relatively non-stick suface.

again, stainless steel does not need this protective layer.

try "barkeepers friend", or so i've heard, to clean your stainless steel.

also, be careful using your wok ring. if the temp gets too high in there, it could discolor the top of the stove. i find that my wok works well enough just sitting on the regular tines of the burner.

some people may argue that you need a jet engine under a wok to be able to reproduce the delicious flavors from chinese restaurants, but i think that it's a fallacy. the real flavor come from the sauce, not just the temp of the wok. although, the wok does need to get hot. but you're just applying heat to metal, so if you give it time to heat up, you're doing the same as appling a lot of heat in a short time, as a restaurant would need to do.

if you have a stove with a higher output burner, use that one.

hope this helps.
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:52 AM   #4
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Thanks, I'll try it on the burner grate. Yep, Bars Keeps Friend took the burnt stuff off so I'll try again sans seasoning. I do have high capacity burners but they are the back 2 and the wok's too big to fit back there. (I need to remind myself that bigger isn't always better!) Is peanut oil okay still for the cooking? Do I heat the pan before adding the oil? Thanks again.

Terry
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:57 AM   #5
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yes, and yes.

peanut oil is good, some people prefer it.

and you heat the wok well, then add oil. if it starts to smoke, you're in the ballpark.

if it smokes heavily, turn the heat down a bit.
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:58 PM   #6
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the other needs of wok cooking...prepare your mis en place everything cut chopped measured ready. dry items that go in together put together. same with liquids if they go in together, get them in the same bowl beofre you start. Stir frying is fast.

If you find your garlic gets too brown (burned tasting) add it last when there are other ingredients in the pan .

enjoy
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:10 PM   #7
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A stainless steel wok should not be "seasoned". Nor should you try. It just ain't possible with stainless steel. Sort of defeats the purpose of stainless steel if you think about it. There's absolutely no reason or benefit from even trying. It won't "take". True stainless steel can't be seasoned. That's what "stainless" virtually means - lol!!!! Which is why I won't use a stainless steel wok for authentic Asian high-heat cooking.

Carbon steel & cast iron woks should definitely be seasoned, & become like old friends once they are.

If I were you, I'd keep my stainless-steel wok for doing quick veggie sautees, etc., & go out & buy a carbon steel wok - very inexpensive & worth every tiny penny of it.

I've had my carbon-steel wok since 1974 & it's still going strong & does everything for me from stirfrying to deepfrying to steaming (with a bamboo steamer). It's my most precious cooking possesion & I wouldn't trade it for anything. It was purchased in a local Chinese grocery store in LI, NY & cost, geez, maybe somewhere between $10-$20.00.
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Old 07-22-2007, 02:39 PM   #8
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I wanted to thank all of you who responded in depth to my questions - ya'll may get me through this yet!!!

I have used the wok twice since everyone replied. First, Bucky Tom, you were right, it works so much better just on top of the burner grate and I had no problem getting it to the right temp. Much more stable, too. The first time, I overcooked the beef so it was tough and the sauce packet I bought left a lot to be desired. Still, we could eat it and I could see the possibilities.

The next time I paid more attention to Robo410's reminder that stir-fry is fast and I didn't overcook the beef. It was tender and tasty. I actually took it out while I was cooking the veggies since I was pretty sure the meat was done and didn't want to risk getting jerky beef strips again! I also made a sauce from a Betty Crocker cookbook and though it was better than last time, I wouldn't call it good. But I could see that with the right sauce, this would have been a really good meal. So, as per Bucky Tom's observations, I will now be exploring sauces.

I noticed quite a number of bottled sauces in the grocery store. Does anyone have any experience with them? Or is that a big mistake and I should prepare a sauce fresh? Any simple sauce recipes ya'll could suggest? The kids and I seem to like darker, more tangy sauces, at least when we order at restaurants. Nobody here at home seems to care for white sauces, at least in asian style foods. They do like spicy. (I'm not being picky - I just thought if I'm going to impose and ask you for further assistance, I should give ya'll all the details so it's easier for you.)

Again, thanks so much to all for taking the time to help. You really can't imagine how much this is changing things in my home. The kids are getting a huge kick out of my new adventures in the kitchen and they are even branching out in the things they prepare for themselves.
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Old 07-22-2007, 02:47 PM   #9
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My favorite simple sauce - which works with meat, poultry, & seafood - consists of just a couple of tablespoons each of soy sauce, dry sherry, & Asian Chili or Chili-Garlic paste (available in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets these days). Mix together & add when your meat & veggies are just about cooked & stir a couple of times. Then dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of cold water & add that to your wok mixture & continue stirring until everything thickens up a bit. Delicious - & definitely spicy. (You can adjust the amount of Chili paste to taste.)
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Old 07-22-2007, 02:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
My favorite simple sauce - which works with meat, poultry, & seafood - consists of just a couple of tablespoons each of soy sauce, dry sherry, & Asian Chili or Chili-Garlic paste (available in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets these days). Mix together & add when your meat & veggies are just about cooked & stir a couple of times. Then dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of cold water & add that to your wok mixture & continue stirring until everything thickens up a bit. Delicious - & definitely spicy. (You can adjust the amount of Chili paste to taste.)
Oh, that sounds fabulous! Thanks so much! And your timing is perfect - I'm going to the grocery store this afternoon. I'll let you know how it comes out!
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