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Aug 4, 2014 08:25 AM

Avoiding oil residue from wok stir-frying?

I just moved into an apartment with a beautiful kitchen and a very nice and new gas stove. I own a wok and enjoy stir-frying with it, but when I left my previous apartment, I spent hours trying to clean off the polymerized oil residue (yellow dots) from the stove and the backsplash. I lost several kitchen towels and a whole thing of baking soda this way.

I may cover this stove with aluminum foil, but before that, I want to check to see if there is a way to avoid creating this polymerized oil residue in the first place? Some articles online suggest that the choice of oil may help prevent this. I've been stir-frying with canola oil because of a peanut allergy, but should I switch oils or how I stir-fry to avoid this? I'm open to suggestions and ideas (short of "stop stir-frying.").

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Frying of any sort produces oily residue. You need the kitchen from Eat Drink Man Woman.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tcamp

      I like that you had that screengrab handy.

    2. A powerful overhead hood fan helps. But then you'll have to clean that. Lol.

      1. Not much you can do. The only thing I will say is that ammonium is more powerful than baking soda for cleaning up oil residue.

        1. A weekly wipedown with mildly soaped dishwater or an orange-based cleaner is all that's necessary. It's the layers of buildup that are the problem - not the oil itself. Cabinets and countertops suffer from this too.

          I never go more than two weeks without a good wipedown, and that's all that's ever really needed. Probably 2-5 mins max.

          1. I'd suggest the oil type and amount do factor in. When I use lard to fry I notice that it wipes off with a paper towel. Not so other veg oils.

            When I stir fry anymore I tend to use the smallest amount of oil that I pre-coat my veg in before adding them to the red hot bottomed wok I've left on the electric hob on high for at least ten minutes. This yields the crispy vegetables and nuts with singe marks I crave.

            This may not suit your cooking style or taste preferences, but I've noticed little to no oil residue to clean when I cook in this manner with the lightest coating on the veg of lard or clarified butter.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

              The method perhaps not, but the difference in oil type was suggested by this website:


              And because it was brought up, I was curious if it really did make a difference.