Sunday, 19 April 2009

how to clean a wok

I vividly remember scrubbing my mother's wok 'clean' when I was little, and feeling slightly confused by the lack of congratulation when I showed her its gleaming surface ... woks (not the non-stick kind) need gentle treatment and love rather than abrasive soap and elbow grease.

What you are ultimately after is the delicious patina which builds up over time, adding flavour to cooking and preventing food from sticking. I think the aforementioned wok has now passed into my hands, and I'm doing my best to handle it with due care and attention to make up for my past transgression.

So, how to clean a wok ...
  • Always wash the wok by hand in plain hot water, never in the dishwasher or with soap
  • Use a soft sponge or cloth to remove any food, soaking the wok in hot water to get the stubborn bits if necessary
  • If you really have to, you can use a tablespoon of salt rubbed in with a damp cloth to gently scrub off anything which isn't shifting. This is a last resort mind
  • Rinse any salt off thoroughly, wipe with a paper towel then put the wok over a low heat to dry it out completely
  • Once dry, rub a little bit of light oil - sunflower, sesame or whatever - around the inside of your wok. Et voilà

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