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Wok Issues


Unicorn
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I'm having some troubles with my wok and I was wondering if maybe some of you guys could offer a little insight. It's a 12" flat bottom wok that I use to cook on an electric stove top, I'm not sure what kind of metal it is made from, but it has little ridges on the underside. Anyways, I season it regularly with expensive peanut oil and have never had a problem with it. But over the last week or two it has been losing it's non stick. Fried rice has been sticking to the bottom in huge quantities, noodles in broth have been sticking and even pot stickers and vegetables. Sure, rice and noodles stick a little anyways, but the amount that sticks now is just ridiculous!

I am not doing anything differently, and I'm cooking over high heat, using the same oil as normal and stirring everything like I normally would. It's just when I put things in after the oil it sticks right away to the bottom of the wok. I have seasoned the wok in an attempt to restore it, but oddly enough when I put the cold oil into my hot wok it smoked and then burst into flames as I was swirling it around. And this is with the same oil I have used for ages, Knife Brand Peanut Oil. Not recycled oil, fresh from the jug.

What could it be that I'm doing wrong? I take care of it very well, but for some reason it is mad with me. It's only a year and a half old, and it's the first cooking vessel I ever got. What can I do?

Thanks, this forum is great.

My wok

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To me, it looks like you need to scrub your wok more after you've used it as it appears to have too much residue on it. It looks glossy almost gummy and a little tacky. Does it feel tacky to the touch?

My main frying wok (i have a separate larger wok for steaming!) is a flat bottomed one and is celebrating it's 14th year of continuous use:

gallery_52657_4505_260397.jpg

As you can see it has a very matt even finish and nothing ever dares sticks to it. I scrub it well with plenty of running water after i cook with it, then usually leave it on a low flame to dry out whilst we're eating. When i'm done eating i give it a wipe down with an oiled paper towel whilst it's still warm to give it the thinnest film of oil possible.

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Hi, thanks for the reply. An example is very helpful. My wok is not sticky at all, it is just little bit textured, almost like it has been sand blasted.

I was under the assumption that properly seasoned woks are supposed to be black as night. Is this not true?

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The problem is your stove - electric burners don't work well with woks. Your wok is black only where it contacts the coils. If you heat the wok so the bottom is the right temperature, the sides will not be hot, and if you heat it so the sides are hot, the bottom is too hot and the oil ignites. My solution to this problem was to buy a propane wok burner, which must be used outdoors. This also solves the problem of vaporized oil wafting throughout the house.

Monterey Bay area

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Would you guys recommend a little burner like this?

Burner

I just don't really want to have to go outside to cook, it rains a lot here.

Surprisingly, my wok has returned to normal when I was cooking with it today. I really don't know what was going on with it, but I guess I will switch to flame anyways.

Thanks.

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Would you guys recommend a little burner like this?

Burner

I just don't really want to have to go outside to cook, it rains a lot here.

Surprisingly, my wok has returned to normal when I was cooking with it today. I really don't know what was going on with it, but I guess I will switch to flame anyways.

Thanks.

That's not a propane burner - it's a tableside butane burner, suitable for hotpot or sukiyaki. This is what I use:

http://www.amazon.com/Eastman-Outdoors-Big...94653695&sr=8-1

Monterey Bay area

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I prefer gas but if a gas range does not have a burner with at least 15,000 btu rating, I would prefer the large burner (coil type) on a domestic electric range. These burners are definitely more useful and hotter than the 10-12,000 btu burners found on a lot of domestic gas ranges. Don't discount the electrics They can be great for normal sized dishes. It's all in the technique.

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For years I have used the butane stoves in my cooking classes. There was a time when I had a propane stove with a hose from the small propane tank, but the container kept freezing on me. Then I found the butane stoves and haven't looked back.

When I've done demonstrations in Woman's Clubs or that sort of environment, it is great to have one of the 'hi-heat Hamiltons' to work with ---IF you are doing your thing actually in the kitchen. But in a hall with people seated before you and all you have is a table in front of you, the butane stove works out very well.

I did comparison boiling tests to see which was the hottest --- my gas stove or the butane stove. The butanes (I have several of them) were as hot or hotter than my gas burner.

You do have to make adjustments --- like trying to stir/fry a whole pound of meat at one time. You don't. But the amount of time stir/frying 1/2 or 1/3 a pound and then repeating with the other pound sections takes no more time than heaping a whole pound in the wok at once ----- and makes for a better quality piece of meat.

Of course the 'velveting' process by-steps the actual stirfrying of the raw meat. That is always an alternative. Stir/frying meat, in the wok, simply has guidelines to turn out a tender piece of meat.

There are butane stoves and there are butane stoves. The original 'pot-au-feu' is a lightweight in heat. The newer ones continue to improve and there is a brand that takes a butane tank right down to the last whisp of gas at full heat, rather than a slowly dying flame that is useless.

Most of the people in my cooking classes probably would never go to the trouble of getting an out door high-heat cooker. But these are people who --for the most part -- know their Chinese food and some are Chinese themselves. They are pleased with the quality of the dishes that come off the butane stoves and that can be done on their own kitchen stoves. They just have to follow the adjustment guidelines.

I have nothing against those outdoor cooker and probably am sorry I never got one, but I do feel that the butane stoves have a legitimate place.

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Jo-mel,

I have been looking at the butane stoves in my Asian market. These are Korean and really quite inexpensive - around $30.00 Canadian. Are they similar to what you are using?

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Liuzhou -- I was going to mention cooking in China. I realize that those old stoves with the hole for the woks and constantly fed with wood (as in the old days) were quite hot, but the one kitchen I saw in a teachers home in Beijing had a regular stove and she had great food.

Just look at the wonderful dishes Xiao hzrt has in his pictorials. Just a stove and a pan. Any chef would be proud of his dishes.

Dejah -- I have several butane stoves and their prices vary. BUT -- my overalll favotite is this one: an Iwatani 30FW:

http://www.hubert.com/pdf/specs/30704.pdf

As the link says, the stove takes the butane tank down to the last bit of gas. In the last minute, the flame dies and then goes out. But on my other stoves, the flame takes quite a while to die down. The last few minutes of heat on those stoves are just good for simmering.

There may be others that have this positive function, but I haven't looked. The Iwatani 30FW suits me just fine.

OOPS!! I just found that the 30FW has been retired, ---but this is their new one:

http://www.dvorsons.com/Iwatani/Propane/IwataniPropane.html

It looks to be the same as the one I have, but I haven't checked out the new features. It is more expensive than other butane cookers, but it is worth the extra cost ---- both in its efficiency for heat, but also because it gets the maximum heat from the butane cannister.

Edited by jo-mel (log)
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Dejah -- I have several butane stoves and their prices vary. BUT -- my overalll favotite is this one: an Iwatani 30FW:

OOPS!! I just found that the 30FW has been retired, ---but this is their new one:

http://www.dvorsons.com/Iwatani/Propane/IwataniPropane.html

The newer version is 15,000 BTU which is what en Sook recommends. So, looks like I'll have to buy one of them! It'll be great for hot pot too!

Thanks Jo-mel. :biggrin:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Dejah -- I'm so happy that this topic came up, and that you asked that question --- otherwise I wouldn't have been aware of the newer Iwatani.

And -- YES for hot pots! The extra BTUs will bring the heat back quicker. That's a plus!

I will certainly get one of the upgraded ones.

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