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Jun 12, 2012 08:21 AM

what is a seasoned ci wok supposed to "feel" like after cleaning?

hi - hv read the CI wok posts here (i think i've covered most of them). i'm a new cast iron wok owner, have just completed the seasoning step. i think it went correctly. what i want to know now is: after i cook something and have cleaned the wok (water, natural brush to remove bits, air dry), what is the surface of the wok supposed to "feel"like when i run my fingers over it? since i read that i'm not supposed to ever use soap or detergent to clean the seasoned cast iron wok, i assume that even a cleaned wok is always supposed to feel greasy or oily? i can't find any information or reference to this last step of things.

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  1. also - how do you store/keep the wok, exactly? i aim to use this almost every other day, it will be the main cooking utensil. but i don't leave it on the cooker, i like to put pots and pans away even if i use them often. i seasoned the bottom of the wok so its oiled. how exactly do people store cast iron woks that are oiled? won't the grease come off on whatever it touches? thanks for any explanations/suggestions.

    2 Replies
    1. re: timpani_mimi

      Full disclosure, I teach wok cooking and also market a preseasoned cast iron wok set.

      Assuming you have a gas stove? Is your ci wok a thin walled, lightweight or a heavy with flat bottom?

      1) What should your wok 'feel' like after cleaning? It depends what you've cooked in it prior.
      2) I used to air dry but now use paper towels because you never want to have it 'wet' and 'rust'. 3) I suggest you leave your wok on your stove at all times so it's convenient, you'll find you'll use it more for heating up leftovers, anything you cook in a pan, you can do in your wok!
      4) the more you use your ci wok, the better the patina builds up and becomes a natural non-stick surface, so you actually need less oil.

      1. re: Eleanor Hoh

        Hi Eleanor

        Thank goodness someone replied to me, I was wondering if my question was too dumb. How cool as well – I have watched your video (with the guy demo-ing) on care and feeding of woks quite a few times now, as part of preparing for the seasoning of this wok.

        To confirm, after cleaning, it's ok for the wok to still have that slightly oily or slightly slick feel? It's just never going to be "clean" like normal pots after they 've been washed with detergent, right?

        I have a gas stove and it is a cast iron wok. It is thin (from what i see), but heavier than a normal wok (the normal anodized aluminium non-stick kind that are everywhere), and round-bottomed. The interior surface of the wok is not 100% smooth, and is kind of “lumpy,’” I mean – I think you can kind of see that it wasn’t machine made. I believe it was hand-made because of that, and also the way the handles are forged to the wok, the area is very uneven. There is also a protruding bump, in the center of the wok exterior, like an extra smudge of iron was stuck onto it. The wok edges are very sharp. It was about SGD $15 (about US$12) After scrubbing off the initial layer of oil from the factory, there was in fact another layer of rust (I assume that’s what it was) – which took a lot of scrubbing to remove. I seasoned it with pork lard three times. I think the surface brown-blackened very nicely. Have used it three times to date and nothing has stuck.

        I think in taking on the cleaning step, I missed out one thing, which was to wipe off the wok with paper towels after using hot water and a natural –bristle brush to get stray bits off. Since I didn’t really need a brush, I was mostly just boiling water in it and throwing it out, then wondering how people put up with oily woks when not in use (even if they use them every day) . Also, this post was made after I cooked for the first time in the wok, right after seasoning (I allowed the wok to cool for a few hours). I only made scrambled eggs with no oil, but not much of the wok surface was used, so the top edges were extremely oily to the touch. I wondered if that was normal. Following two more cooks, when washing with water and a brush, the surface always stayed slightly oily, even if I cooked with minimal oil (which I did). I was just wondering how I was supposed to store the wok like that, since anything I put on top of it would become greasy as well. So it’s confirmed that a “clean”(after cleanup), seasoned wok will just always have that slight slickness on its interior, and that’s the correct state of things? I.e. it won’t be bone-dry like a normal washed pan.

        I will use this wok often, but I don’t cook every day. If all goes well, in fact, this will be the main pot I use. I just prefer a completely clean and empty stovetop at all times, when not in use. Currently I hang the wok from a small rack near the stove on an S-hook.

        Thanks so much for your reply!