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PERSONAL CHEF

PERSONAL CHEF
FOOD FOR REAL PEOPLE

Friday, April 25, 2014

MY NEW WEAPON Brand New 14" Flat Bottom Wok

Yay! It's here! My new weapon, my new toy it's here!
Sounds like a little kid eh? Getting that new video game in the mail, or maybe it's the UPS or Fed Ex guy that has the hots for your hotty neighbor across these street, you know the guy, he's in his early forties, going bald, has no life, or maybe he does…but when he drops off your boxes and you're done signing that electronic pad, he's always perving out on Kate the hot woman across the street that's always doing yard work in her tight tank top…yeah you know who I mean…anyhow…let's get to my package…I mean my…never mind.

I ordered a carbon steel, flat bottom 14" wok set from the Wok Shop in San Francisco, yeah the one in Cali you goofball what you think? So I get my package…I mean box, and open it up, and voila there's this beautiful hand hammered flat bottom wok, complete set with an aluminum lid wooden handle. And a wooden spatula to stir fry. It was packaged neatly, and hey it came with a back scratcher made of wood, and I think bamboo, I guess when I got a sweaty itchy back when stir frying for my clients, I'll whip it out and start to scratch? Ewwwww not good my friend.

So I read the instructions and followed it.. I mean it's really easy to season a carbon steel wok. You see, when they ship it to you, it looks like chrome, but that's not what we want in Asian or Chinese wok cooking these are pure China style woks. So it came with a layer of oil which needed to be washed off. Then Dried. Then I simply rubbed some kosher salt on the inside, with some soy sauce and some black pepper with some vegetable oil, then I heated up the wok over medium high heat over an electric stove top, the flat bottom is great for both electric stoves as well as gas, the flat bottom is perfect well balanced product.

Okay back to the seasoning session. I made sure I got all that hot oil and salt and pepper to go all over the inside of the wok, then it started to turn into a bronze color. After that I took the wok off the stove top, and then wiped it clean. Only to rub some oil inside when it cooled. As it cooled I followed the instructions, I preheated the oven to about 400 degrees F, and when the wok cooled completely I added a tablespoon of oil and some salt and rubbed it all over the inside, and about half of the outside. Then put the wok in the oven and baked it for about 25 minutes. Perfect, it turned bronze and it was ready to cook stuff.

So I took it out after it was done baking and let it cool. Then when ready, I just stir fried some meat and onions, with the traditional ginger and garlic, some sesame oil, oyster sauce and more shoyu…perfect. The wok is beautiful. I seasoned it, cooked my first dish in it… now all I did to clean it was rinse it under warm water, no soap, just ooshing the food particles off of the wok. Then got me some paper towels to dry it, and more vegetable oil to rub inside the wok, and a little on the outside (the top quarter), not where the heat will hit, but the top end, this will prevent rust, that's right, rust, and it won't kill you because once the oil is heated it covers the pores of the metal, and the heat will kill any kind of poisons you think might be on your food.

One last thought though, if you ever use a wok that's rusty, well, rinse it, wipe it, and oil it up and bake it, get rid of loose rust, keep it oiled, and it should be okay. If you got any questions find a local restaurant that does Chinese cooking, and go talk to the cook and he'll be able to help you get your old wok up and firing. Remember carbon steel will rust, so it's always a good idea to oil up them woks, and woks my friends last a lifetime, master Chinese chefs will take an old rusted wok, clean it, oil, it, season it, and next thing you know it's good as new.

Some folks will cover the wok with a plastic bag so air won't hit it, but I find as long as its in the cupboard and is oiled it should suffice. And these woks will turn darker as time goes on meaning it's aging and getting to be mellow and perfect, you don't want to disrupt this progression, the more you cook, the better the wok.

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