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Getting Started with a Wok

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The Secret is Out

Have you ever noticed that professional fried rice chefs all have beautiful wives and a half-dozen children? Cause I have. I've studied the master fried rice chefs all across the globe with the most beautiful wives and the most children. What do they have that you don't? And how do you get it?[1]

After careful analysis, I've determined it's because they know how to make amazing fried rice in a wok. I was as surprised as you are.

Coincidentally, Globalkitchen Japan sells woks. Weird.

Now, I can't make any promises. I'm not saying that if you order the Yamada Hammered Iron Round Bottom Wok from us, Globalkitchen Japan, that you'll immediately make eye contact with the woman of your dreams. I'm not even saying that if you season the wok just right, as I've instructed below, that she'll even start a conversation with you. It would be irresponsible to say such a thing.

But there's gotta be a chance, right?

Preparing Your Wok

So you've purchased your Yamada Hammered Iron Round Bottom Wok. Things are already going well. But you got the unseasoned wok with that anti-rust coating and you need to know how to get it off and then how to season your wok. No problem.

Karayaki (Empty Heating)

Before seasoning the wok, we need to get the anti-rust coating off. For that, Japanese do what's called "karayaki". Here's what you do:

1. Wash

Cleaning a new wok Drying the wok

Lightly wash the wok with detergent and a sponge, removing dirt and dust from the surface. After washing, wipe away the moisture with a dry cloth.

2. Place on medium heat

Burning off the anti-rust coating on a new wok

Place your Yamada Hammered Iron Round Bottom Wok over medium heat. Make sure to handle it with a kitchen mitten or to wrap the handle with a towel to protect your hands because it'll get hot.

3. Set to high heat, burn off coating, repeat for edges

Burning off the anti-rust coating on a new wok

When the pan begins to smoke, set heat to high.

When the surface color changes to a bluish-white, it indicates the completion of burning off the anti-rust coating. Tilt the wok and repeat the process with the top edge of the wok.

4. Wash again

Washing the wok again after removing anti-rust coating

After thoroughly burning off the anti-rust coating, remove from heat and let your wok cool. Once the temperature has dropped, wash it again with detergent and a sponge. This completes the karayaki process.

5. (Optional) Repeat with Ladle

Washing a new wok ladle Burning off the anti-rust coating on a new wok ladle Rinsing the ladle

Like woks, new wok ladles have the same anti-rust coating. If you purchased a new wok ladle to go with your wok, you should repeat the karayaki process with the ladle, too.

Aburanarashi (Seasoning)

Once you have the anti-rust coating completely burned off, you are ready to season the wok. Seasoning is the process of applying a protective coating of oil that will protect the pan from rust and make the surface somewhat stick-resistant.

1. Add oil and heat

Adding oil to the wok

Wipe the wok free of moisture, add one ladle of oil to the dried wok, and heat it over medium heat. Many people recommend vegetable oil due to its high smoke-point, but butter or lard will work, too.

2. Discard oil

Discarding excess oil from wok

Once the entire wok has absorbed the oil, discard excess oil.

3. Stir-fry scraps

Stir-frying scraps

Add a moderate amount of vegetable scraps (peels, stems, outer leaves) and stir-fry over medium heat. This helps create an oil film on the wok and removes any specific iron taste or smell.

4. Rinse with water

Rinsing the wok one final time

After stir-frying, remove from heat, wash with a brush, and rinse thoroughly with water. Please do not wash with detergent after seasoning. Otherwise, the oil coating on the surface will peel off.

Congratulations, your wok is seasoned. You're ready to learn how to make fried rice and snag the woman of your dreams.

[1] Note: If you are already married to the woman of your dreams, you can still impress her by flinging some oily rice and mixed vegetables in the air with a perfectly seasoned wok purchased right here at Globalkitchen Japan.

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