|A new ceramic-coated 15" "haak gum gong" wok|
From all the literature I've been reading about the science behind seasoning a wok, I'm pretty sure the "traditional" method of seasoning a wok that I was taught, with fatty pork and chives, is scientifically unsound, but I'm going to tell you the rationale behind my purchase and what I've learned anyway, for reference and in the interests of covering the different schools of thought out there.
|New wok in its wrapping, with the name clearly printed on the plastic bag. It was only HK$55!|
|Pork fat back|
|Lots of drippings|
But - one crucial thing about this wok is that it's not plain carbon steel. As you can see, it's black and glossy on the outside. My initial research is inconclusive, but my guess it that it's either enamel or ceramic (please leave a comment if you know!). A lot of people swear by this type of black shiny wok ("haak gum gong" 黑金剛) and say it'll last forever, unlike the Teflon or modern "non-stick" pans that can't seem to withstand high heat. Many "serious" foodies tend to use uncoated carbon steel, stainless steel, or even cast iron woks with no coating, so the link about seasoning mentioned above will probably be useful.
|Rubbing the very hot pork fat around the very hot wok|
What I did was, I cleaned the wok in soapy water, gave it a little scrub, then dried it with a tea towel and put it on my stove, and turned the heat on high. I left it to dry and heat up for about 3-4 minutes, dropped a tiny drop of water using the end of a chopstick into the wok to see if it was hot enough (it evaporated almost immediately - I didn't even see the whole drop land on the surface) and deemed it hot enough. I then placed the fat in, fat side (not skin) down. I figured I wasn't cooking, I just wanted the oil, and that was under the skin, not on it. A lot of oil came out of these pieces of fat, perhaps a whole cup - probably too much. It happened quite quickly, so I began rubbing the fat into the sides of the wok. I did this for another 3-4 minutes, basically until I was satisfied that the surface of the wok had taken in enough fat.
So pork fat wasn't supposed to be ideal, but then again, with the coating on the wok, are we expecting the same reaction/effect?
In any case, my wok is working great - the general steps to making sure nothing sticks on a day-to-day basis are: heat wok up, add (room temp) oil, (try and leave ingredients out to reach room temp as well) then fry away!
I don't know about the rest, but my mom taught me the last part.
Happy mom's day!