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Got a Wok at a garage sale. Got some questions about it!

Here's a link to some pictures of it...
http://imgur.com/a/mp2EN
Is it a nice (or bad) Wok?
What is the discoloration? Seasoning?
Should I take some steel wool to it and completely clean it then season it myself?
The only marking is "TAIWAN 2005" at the base of the handle.
What should I cook with it first? Any comments about how to cook with a wok will be very helpful!
Thank you! No need to answer all the questions. Just do what you can :

)

*If the Link doesn't work, I added photos to domsumgirl's comment

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  1. I can't open the link to your picture. Do you have access to chinese chives? They are recommended for seasoning a wok. The more discolored, the better the seasoning of your wok. Lucky you!

    1 Reply
    1. re: dimsumgirl

      New to this site, but I think I attached the pictures to this comment.

       
       
       
       
    2. The discoloration might be seasoning, but there is not much there. Cleaning it up with steel wool and seasoning it yourself seems like a fine idea.

      As for what to cook in it first, you might consider doing some deep fried or shallow fried dishes - something where the food is completely or partially submerged in hot cooking oil. It will add to the seasoning.

      Here are a few more thoughts about cooking with a wok:

      - don't be afraid to turn up the heat as high as you dare (unless the recipe says to use a low setting)

      - the bottom of the wok will be a lot hotter than the sides. This is a good thing. For example it is great for regulating cooking speed of some stuff in your wok is cooking too fast.

      - While you could use a western spatula or cooking spoon to stir fry, a Chinese cooking shovel/spatula/turner thingy is far superior to any alternative. They are very inexpensive, so do get one.

      - If you have a gas stove, be comfortable turning the flame up or down depending on what stage you are in a recipe. Woks are extremely quick to heat or cool. If you have an electric stove, consider moving your wok off the burner and onto another when you need a lower cooking temperature or have completed a recipe.

      Hope that helps.

      1. It looks like a regular old carbon steel wok to me. It should do well for you, but as others said, you will want to scour it down and do your own seasoning. Pinch of Salt had some good recs for you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sueatmo

          I agree. It's not in bad shape, it just needs some aggressive scouring and seasoning. I think the outside 3-4" might be the protective coating carbon steel woks are shipped with that needs to be scrubbed off anyway. The black looks like food residue with metal utensil scratches. A well seasoned CS wok will definitely get dark, nearly black, but that takes some time and cooking and you won't see scratches since the metal has actually darkened.

          Scour with stainless steel scrubber and soapy water this first time, after that you don't need soap, it's just to remove that protective coating. Dry on heat, then wipe with oil. Similar to cast iron. To season, cook something that requires a lot of oil and aromatics. Check out Chemicalkinetics comments, below.

          I occasionally cook up a large batch of bacon trimmings in my wok, rendering slowly. The wide edges capture the spatters, and the CS will love the seasoning. You can buy at the supermarket some cheap bacon ends in 3# packs, chop it up and let it render. Make sure the bacon doesn't have a lot of sugar in the cure, check the box.

          When cleaning your wok after cooking, I like to use a green scrubbie pad, dry on the stove and wipe out with a paper towel and a quarter to half tsp. of oil. Carbon steel pans need the same treatment that CI does, you'll be rewarded with a glassy finish. Woks can be used for lots of non traditional dishes, with a perfect finish they become versatile tools.

        2. You Need Grace Young! ASAP. She's the number one expert on everything having to do with woks...
          How to season a wok;
          http://www.culinate.com/articles/feat...

          Video;
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZjkTP...

          1. Wok looks fine to me. No apparent rust. The seasoning is uneven, but that's normal for a real-world, used wok. It looks more or less like mine.

            http://www.chow.com/photos/957883

            I'd just get cooking with that. $3 is a great deal. If it's 14" or more, that's a wok that would cost you $20-$30 new.