Hello all. I've never visited a cookery forum before, but problems with old and new woks are starting to drive me up the wall (though hopefully my membership here will mean more than a few free answers ;)).
First of all: old woks. I have a non-stick 'Ken Hom' wok, but at this point in time it's got a permanent black crust on the bottom. There's also a large stainless steel wok which is kind of the 'family' wok. Sticks a little, but generally cleans up well.
New wok: a replacement, bought from an asian supermarket (The
Asia supermarket, in Belfast) a couple of days ago to replace the non-stick. It's not a brand-name wok, and all I know from the shelf label is that it's 13" and flat-bottomed. It's steel. Carbon steel? I don't know. That's a new term to me.
This is the first wok I've decided to treat right. After reading up a couple of books, I seasoned it (and the stainless steel wok) with sunflower oil and a little salt.
First problem: due to the weight of the handle, it doesn't sit flat on the stove. This caused a patch of burnt black discoloration at the heavier side. Should this have happened? Is it much of a problem?
Second problem: after letting it cool, one book said to wipe it clean before heating again. The thing is, the burnt oil at the bottom was quite sticky. This happened with the stainless steel wok too. As well as making it hard to wipe, would this cause any problems?
I did that a couple more times (leaving out the salt), and everything seemed okay. Then I tried cooking with it.
Third problem: One chicken chow mein later, it had a layer of burnt food on the bottom, similar to what I would have got with the stainless steel wok. Everything I've read about woks mentions that they should be given a simple wipe clean; but I can tell you that it took a lot more than a quick wipe to shift that mess.
A long soak and a scouring pad eventually helped (although I know that's not the ideal method). I figured I'd just start over with the seasoning and hope it worked a second time, but then I saw that the wok had started to rust in places. More scrubbing. A rinse, then a thorough drying.
Fourth problem: maybe I'm going mad, but it seemed like a yellow patina (rust?) had appeared between scrubbing and drying. More scrubbing, and I saw the puddle of water in the bottom turn slightly orange. Dried again. Same yellow tinge.
I tried it again a couple of times, finally giving up and coating it with oil before setting it to one side. Then I came online.
I'm convinced I'm doing something wrong, or misinterpreting something. Or can the wok actually rust that quickly?
I've read the carbon steel wok topic a couple of pages back, so I'm geared up to try seasoning again; but for the rest, I need help!