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Old 10-20-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Oct 2009
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New Wok


I have a wok hanging around that I've never used, I bought it brand new but never used it.

I've read that new woks need to be seasoned but cleaned properly first. The problem I am having is that I don't know what kind of surface my wok has. It is round with a metal welded on handle and has a black shiny coating.

When I put it on the wok ring over the stove it lets out a terrible smelling fume. I figured this is the protective oil that must be cleaned off. So I boiled water in the wok but the fume would not let up and now the boiled water smelled like fumes.

I don't know if I am supposed to be doing this until those fumes go away or if I am supposed to start seasoning the wok anyway (I sort of don't trust putting food on something that releases fumes like that).

Hopefully someone who knows about this stuff can chime in. Also, this is my first post so be kind :).


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Old 10-20-2009, 08:14 PM   #2
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If your wok has a "black shiny coating" & is producing fumes when heated, chances are 100% better than excellent that it's a non-stick coated wok. In that case, absolutely NO heating it without food in it. NEVER. NADA. And no overheating it either. Non-stick coatings, when heated on their own, produce toxic fumes that can not only sicken you, but kill any pet birds you might have. In other words, STOP what you're doing immediately.

You can't season non-stick-coated woks, nor should you try. The non-stick coating is supposed to perform what would normally be the "seasoning" you'd do if you had a regular carbon-steel wok. What this means is that you really can't EVER bring that wok to the high temps one normally would with a carbon-steel wok. What you really have is basically a round non-stick skillet.

Save your health, treat this item as a non-stick regular cook pan, & go buy yourself a regular carbon-steel wok. They're very inexpensive & - properly treated - last forever. Mine was gifted to me back in 1974 & is still going strong.

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Old 10-20-2009, 09:16 PM   #3
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Boiling water in your wok won't clean away the oil coating. You'll have to use a strong detergent and a little elbow grease, but afterward you can season it just as you would cast iron. I too have smelled that grease/wax coating that they use when the wok comes from Asia, and it's pretty unpleasant until it's all removed.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:32 PM   #4
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khaosduke, any chance you could post a photo?
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:33 PM   #5
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I tried to get better pictures but the flash was pretty strong, maybe they are still useful so here goes:

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Old 10-20-2009, 10:46 PM   #6
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Well, that's a nice wok. Follow Selkie's advice. It does NOT have a non stick coating.
Nice stainless steel, probably carbon steel. So scrub it really well with hot water and soap. Then season well.
When you clean it after use, no detergent needed, just hot water and a scrubbie.
I like to keep mine shiny, and I lightly oil it after use.
If it is carbon steel and you don't oil it after use, it might rust some.
Don't fear the wok. You can get it literally smoking hot and not ruin it.

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Old 10-20-2009, 11:43 PM   #7
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I didn't think it was non-stick because it was so cheap I got it in Chinatown in NYC for around $7.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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For Carbon-Steel Woks

Use 1/2 bunch of Chinese chives (sold at asian markets) and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

  1. Wash the new wok with hot soapy water and scrubbing brush. Dry the wok with paper towels. You may see some dark stuff coming off.
  2. Turn on an exhaust fan. Heat the wok over high heat until water vaporizes.
  3. Swirl in oil and add the chives.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and stir-fry for 15 minutes. Add oil if needed to prevent mixture from becoming dry. Push the chives up the sides and around all parts of the inside of the wok.
  5. Cool the wok, then wash with hot water and a soft sponge. Dry over low heat for 1-2 minutes.
You're ready to cook! Use lots of oil the first few times you cook with the wok. When finished cooking, use only hot water and a soft sponge to wash the wok. Do not use dish soap or you will ruin the seasoning. As you use the wok it will get darker and more seasoned with time.

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