Help! I can't get a wok to work!!

I got my cast iron wok from several years ago for ten bucks. The price hasn’t changed; a 13-incher for 9.95, to a 17-incher for 19.95.

There’s instructions for seasoning it in the oven. As you use it more times, and the burned-oil seasoning gets thicker, it gets easier to park the already cooked ingredients up on the sides.

With cast iron, you don’t scour it like steel pans. You just give it a quick rub with a stiff brush under running hot water, and put it back on the stove to dry it. The burned oil becomes the non-stick coating.

There have been a few threads about Wok usage in the last couple years. Many of us have provided some oft-repeated advice. There’s also a response somewhere in a thread about chicken (chicken thighs, maybe?) that includes several recipes involving a wok.

Without rehashing what I’ve said in previous responses, I’ll simply add to the hot oil tip: Nut Oils get hotter without breaking down; vegetable oils will burn quickly. Besides, part of the art of wok cooking is getting that thin layer of ultra-hot oil to gloss-up your ingredients so the hot oil is cooking the little chunk from all sides at once, plus creating a seared surface area to retain juices.

Oh, that brings up another little matter: Unless you’re using that monster in the Amazon link, most Wok-fried dishes are small chunks or slices of ingredient – peas, diced whatever, tofu or meat cubes, thin bean pods, etcetera – and that tends to require the chopping be done before you start heating the wok. [I think someone in another thread called that *mise en place*, but I’ve never received culinary* or French language education so I’m not sure.] In fact, that’s why I find Wok cooking to be so simple. I just decide what I want to throw in, get little bowls of stuff ready, then heat the oil and start dumping bowls in a the right times.

Note that you can also use your wok for soups and stews and, with the right accessories, steaming and deep-frying. In fact, deep-frying with a wok is a bit more safe than using a dedicated deep-fryer.

Now I’ll just encourage you to search for the other Wok threads.

*Mom simply ran a Chinese restaurant and taught me how to use a wok. For some reason she never understood my suggestion of woking the neighbor’s annoying dog before dinner.

I’ve got one of those turkey fryer ones I’m thinking of trying.

I made stir-fry for dinner last night after reading this thread. Inspired by a suggestion in JohnnyLA’s shredding thread, I tried to thin-slice some semi-frozen chicken in the food processor. OMG. The results were tasty enough, but I more or less pulverized it instead of ending up with nice thin slices of chicken breast. It was more like chunky ground chicken. But hey, my connoisseurs are of the teenage/schoolage/hungry husband variety and they gobbled it right up. :cool: