ISO seasoned carbon steel wok in Toronto
Hi my generous chow buddies.
I am embarrassed at how this sounds lazy but is it possible to buy an already season carbon steel wok?
I use a non-stick eco wok and it's ok but the flavour is just not there.
In hopes of getting straight to wokking, I thought I'd ask if any shop would sell one already seasoned.
I live a short hop from Spadina.
Lodge makes a seasoned cast iron wok
I find CI superior to steel because it can take unlimited heat without warping, and works better than steel in holding its heat for quick stir fry cooking. It will develop a non stick patina if cleaned with a hot water scrub, no detergent.
Try a pure cast iron wok, and heat over a low gas flame for 5 minutes before turning up the heat and adding ingredients. To me, Creuset is a crock. They use an enamel coating which no wok should have, and that slows down heat transmission, while increasing sticking and scorching. However they are easy to sell online because people are taken in by the name, style, and price.
There's Tap Phong on Spadina. Had any luck buying a truly seasoned cast-iron fry pan? Think it's the same answer for woks.
My HK-made steel wok is ancient and well-seasoned from years of use. Get a new one and start cooking.
carbon steel for wok, no Chinese cook is using a cast iron one, trust me. Way too heavy to even attempt to toss anything, tossing over a high heat is key to wok cookery.
$20-30 at any Chinese restaurant supply store, whether tap phong or ones uptown.
They're easy to season especially compared to unseasoned cast iron. Although most cast iron pans sold on the market come preseasoned already.
Get a flat bottom one unless you have a gas burner w/ a wok ring.
We don't all have skills in tossing, flipping eggs, or mimicking TV chefs. Probably a large majority of home cooks do not do this. And few people have high output gas burners at home, 16,000 BTU or more. That's why I have some success using a cheap gas range and a $20 cast iron heat retaining wok, or sometimes, a 12" cast iron pan, with two utensils. I don't mind the scorn for this method, if it works.
I decided to test the notion that a cast iron wok is superior to a steel wok making quick, hot stir fries.
Each 16" wok was preheated over a 9000 BTU gas flame for 5 minutes. I added 250 ml water to each and turned off the heat. When the boiling ended after a few seconds, I let the water stabilize for 1 minute. The temperature difference of the remaining water was significant, 202F in CI, and 185F in steel.
This confirms why my stir fries are quite a bit better in the cast iron wok than steel, using a low priced, average gas range. Clean up seems to be easier on CI thouigh awkward. Steel by comparison, has more residue to remove, always a wok in progress.
FWIW I thought I'd mention that apparently Loblaws is selling a PC-branded light weight cast iron wok for $29.99.
I bumped into a friend of mine at the LCBO yesterday and she was telling me about it. She had to pass her lovely seasoned carbon steel wok she'd rec'd from an aunt along to another family member because of a peanut allergy.
In any event, she was telling me how happy she was w the PC wok. She said it heats up quickly, evenly and maintains a high heat despite being lighter in weight.