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Old 05-14-2020, 04:24 PM   #1
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Carbon Steel Wok sticking a bit...

Ive been cooking Asian food for a while and just started researching woks and bought a carbon steel wok due to many peoples recommendations.

I bought an inexpensive one, an IMUSA 14 inch carbon steel wok. Looks like this one.

https://www.amazon.com/IMUSA-Carbon-.../dp/B01BUKR8PI

I have seasoned it properly through several rounds on stove, the color is changing a bit. I have started cooking several things on it for past few days, eggs, salmon burgers, ground meat, general stir fry stuff. I also clean it properly, using warm water, no soap, then heating up wok and using a thin layer of oil wiped around with tongs. I have used it about 10 times already.

I am finding that the wok still is not NON-stick, meaning the meat/eggs get stuck at the beginning, using about 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil. After a few minutes, if I scrape the food stuck to the bottom, it comes off with some legwork, then it seems to stop sticking.

this is a similar photo i found online as to what im referring to. its not this bad, but similar. i can scrape it off.

https://i.redd.it/gys8g03bjdc41.jpg

Is this normal? Or do I need more oil? Or will it get better with time? Or is my wok a cheap one, and I need to upgrade?

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Old 05-14-2020, 05:27 PM   #2
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I'm unclear. Did your wok come with a non-stick coating? If not, You should keep going. The more use it gets and the more seasoning that's built up the more it will be non-stick. Eggs will be among the last things you can cook successfully.

Also, the photo you linked looks like garlic and ginger sticking to the pan. Maybe you're cooking too hot to start.

Also, don't hesitate to use more oil.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:30 PM   #3
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hi andy,

im not sure if wok came with nonstick coating. i was told most come with some layer that you need to wash off with soap, water, and scrubbing, which i did, then proceeded to season.

"Eggs will be among the last things you can cook successfully." really?

from youtube videos i have watched concerning seasoning, most seem to say that is the test to see if you seasoned well. they season, then cook an egg first.

yea, not sure if im not using enough oil, and maybe flame too hot.


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I'm unclear. Did your wok come with a non-stick coating? If not, You should keep going. The more use it gets and the more seasoning that's built up the more it will be non-stick. Eggs will be among the last things you can cook successfully.

Also, the photo you linked looks like garlic and ginger sticking to the pan. Maybe you're cooking too hot to start.

Also, don't hesitate to use more oil.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:38 PM   #4
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Big Tip Like all pans, the real difference between not-stick, and sticking, is the amount of fat added, and when it's added. i had the opportunity to watch street vendors in the Philippines, Japan, ans Hong Kong all prepare food on carbon steel woks, using a blow torch, and wooden utensils. The wok was heated screaming hot, oil was added, and then the food, and seasonings. On flat top steel the same technique was used, heat,then fat, then food, and finally in my own carbon-steel wok, high heat, then fat, then food. They are all stick free when used in that manner. Even my SST pan is stick free when I heat, then add the fat, then the food.

You will ind that non-stick coatings, i/e. Teflon, and ceramic benefits from added fat. I even seasoned aluminum camp cookware, the cheap mess-kits, with oil and they became nearly stick free as well.

Food will stick to all pans if they are not used properly. I love my Griswolds CI pans for their durability, and nearly stick free surface. But if I don't use them correctly, foods will stick. But when used right.I can even make caramel that doesn't stick to the pan.

Use it right and it will do you well.

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Old 05-14-2020, 06:29 PM   #5
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hi chief longwind,

just to be clear, when you say "fat", does oil count the same?

i agree that heat shouldnt be the issue, as many woks are heated very hot before beginning.

i have a flat top carbon steel wok, and am doing the same. add oil (albeit maybe not enough), wait for wok to get hot, then add food, seasoning. im finding that when i initially put the food in, it sticks to the bottom of the pan.

so im not sure if im still doing it incorrectly.
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Old 05-14-2020, 08:19 PM   #6
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Heat the wok first. When hot, add the oil, swirl it around the wok, add food.

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Old 05-14-2020, 10:01 PM   #7
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My wok will cook eggs without sticking but it took time to get to that point. Frying bacon helps.

This video has some of the best tips for wok cooking on a home stove. In it you will see that when she adds the chicken she lets it set before stirring.
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:24 PM   #8
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thanks for letting me know it takes time. ill continue at it!
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:44 PM   #9
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Good video, James.
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:49 PM   #10
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Yea when she put the chicken in, no stick at all! mines not like that for sure!

might just take some time.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:53 AM   #11
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Herer's my thoughts on this. Metal is porous, in a small degree. As you heat it, with, or without the seasoned patina, the metal expands, opening ujp those micro pores. Adding just a little more oil to the hot pan fills those pores with more oil, thus creating a slick surface. Over time, enough patina builds onto the cooking surfaced so as to completely isolate the metal from the food. The patina is carbon, and is very slippery. Think of how graphite is often used as a dry lubricant. Its the same principal. That is why all metals will work better when seasoned. I hope this is understandable.

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Old 05-15-2020, 10:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerplantop View Post
My wok will cook eggs without sticking but it took time to get to that point. Frying bacon helps.

This video has some of the best tips for wok cooking on a home stove. In it you will see that when she adds the chicken she lets it set before stirring.
I was surprised that Sara said Chinese cooking was very different from the way she cooks because all the ingredients are prepped and measured in advance. She doesn't do mise en place?
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:23 AM   #13
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I was surprised that Sara said Chinese cooking was very different from the way she cooks because all the ingredients are prepped and measured in advance. She doesn't do mise en place?
I was also surprised by that comment.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:45 AM   #14
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I did learn something from the link, and it makes sense. Add liquids from the sides, an swirl, to maintain the heat in the bottom of the wok. Everything else I already knew from experience. And in Sarah's defense, sometimes I use Mis En Place, sometimes not. And even in stir-fry dishes, though it helps, if your knife skills are good enough, And depending on your ingredients, I sometimes prep as I'm cooking. I do advise prepping and having all ingredients at the ready though.l If I did that every time, maybe I wouldn't have the occasional over-cooked, or burnt food. This is especially important when using thin slices of meat, such as velvertized meat, where overcooking toughens it.

And I agree with her seasoning technique. Oh, and that egg pancake is a french omelet, except that you don't flip the omelet, but let carry-over cooking finish the omelet, and melt the cheese. And yes,I've made them in my wok.

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Old 05-17-2020, 01:04 PM   #15
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And in Sarah's defense, sometimes I use Mis En Place, sometimes not. And even in stir-fry dishes, though it helps, if your knife skills are good enough,
I was surprised that she seemed to think of it as a technique that was brand-new to her - "something that is completely different from the way I cook," she said. And yes, it does help prevent overcooking because you have to prep the next ingredient, or finding out at the end that you don't have enough of something. That's the whole point.
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