Thai Cooking with Wok
As far back as I can remember, my family kitchen contained only a few cooking utensils and cookware. The most versatile cookware was a wok. We use woks for all tasks, from stir-frying, steaming and blanching vegetables to making cooking oil from lard and coconut milk. It is possible that every household in Thailand will have an average of 3 woks in various sizes. For a community kitchen, the wok can be as wide as three to five feet wide. This wok is used for cooking curry, frying and steaming rice for a function with more than 300 people. A wok allows you to have total control to stir and mix a large quantity of foods with a large shovel. Owning a new wok is a new beginning of your culinary adventure in your kitchen.
A wok made of mild steel will rust; therefore a well-seasoned wok will protect it and make it easy to cook foods and prevent them from sticking.
Ladle & Shovel (Spatula)
Depending on the style of your wok, a ladle or spatula can be used. A ladle fits well in a deep bowl shaped wok and a shovel can be used for either a flat bottom or deep bowl wok.
How to Season a Wok
This is the summary on how to season a wok according to the “The Breath of a Wok” by Grace Young.
First step to handling your new wok is to clean it with hot soapy water to remove the protector. Then season it by using a few tips below.
~ Cook pork in a bone in boiling water.
~ Pan fried tofu to absorb metallic taste, and then stir-fry chives.
~ Use scallions, garlic chives, pork and ginger to remove the metallic taste.
~ Use high heat with salt.
This is a recipe for seasoning a wok for the first time before cooking a meal for serving:
2 to 3 tablespoons pork fat
1 cup garlic chives
½ cup ginger, shredded
Clean the new wok according to instructions. In general, clean and rinse well with hot water. Dry with a paper towel. Open all of the windows and turn the range hood on high. Bring the wok to a high heat, when it starts to make a layer of smoke, add in a pork fat, ginger and chives, and with a shovel or spatula stir-fry the ginger/chive mixture to cover the entire surface area of the wok. Reduce the heat to medium-high and keep stirring until the wok darkens. Discard the ginger/chives. Rinse the wok with hot water and bring back to high heat to dry the wok. Your wok is now ready.
The best way to season and to develop the wok patina is to constantly use it. I like to use the wok for deep frying, and the shape of the wok also helps to use less cooking oil.