I was hoping to get a wok for Christmas and Santa (aka Mom and Dad) didn’t fail. I did a lot of research and some strong hinting and got just what I wanted. New Asian cookware is not what Christmas is about, of course, but its a nice bonus. My choice was a 14-inch carbon steel model with long and helper handles. It was ordered from The Wok Shop in San Francisco but made in China. Carbon steel woks must be seasoned. As I’m a Southern girl who seasons her Grandmother’s iron skillet with a reverence that most reserve for prayer, I felt up to the task. My stove’s ventilation system, unfortunately was not. You’ll be glad to know my smoke alarm is in working order. After some rigging of fans and opening of windows, I was on my way.

Seasoning a wok wasn’t that much different from seasoning an iron skillet. I did choose peanut oil over bacon grease for this application, however. Several methods and detailed instructions were included with the wok. I chose to use the oven. The grey steel surface darkened and warmed to a beautiful copper which I expect to blacken and improve with time and use. I can’t wait to experiment.

The snaps below show: (1)Prepped wok, with wood handles removed or covered, ready to put into oven, (2) Cooled wok scrubbed and re-oiled for a second round of baking, (3) Deepened color after second baking, (4) Clean wok after stir-frying allium-rich aromatics over the gas range.  Above: Unseasoned wok, wok shovel, and bamboo cleaning brush