So, for one reason or another, I’ve been really enjoying Chinese food lately … so much so that I’m interested enough in trying my hand at creating some Chinese dishes (and no, I’m not going to go “authentic” and use cats and rats). Last week, I bought a Chinese cookbook (in English, not in Chinese – I don’t know how to speak the language), and decided to try my luck at cooking some Kung Pao Chicken. After purchasing several of the ingredients at a local grocery store, I went to work.
It turned out o.k., I guess, but I know I can do better (no, using chicken instead of cats did not change the taste). I didn’t have a wok, and that, in my opinion was an issue – we used a regular pan – and from what I read, can change the flavor of Chinese food (enough with the cats, already!).
So, on Tuesday, I decided to go out and buy a wok … and what better place to purchase one, than at Walmart (strike 1). I confess, I don’t know enough about woks to make an intelligent purchasing decision, and I’m far too lazy to read up on them (any help here from you, the reader, would be appreciated). I ended up buying one for only $15 – the only one they had (strike 2).
Here’s the thing. I didn’t realize that with some woks (maybe all, again, I’m not sure), you have to boil off the protective coating, and then, you must “season” the wok. My initial thought was that I would need to cook some herbs and spices in the wok in order to season it (ignorant American), but I found out that seasoning means heating the wok up and “lathering” it in cooking oil.
It sounded easy enough, and to an extent, it was easy enough. BUT, the wok needed to be heated for 10 minutes … and then cooled, and then repeated 3 or 4 more times. About 7 minutes in, the oil was burning and smoke filled the house. My wife was not happy. She claimed the entire house smelled like a diner the rest of the night (not sure what the problem with that is).
The thing is, I now don’t want to repeat the “seasoning” 3 or 4 more times, and I fear I have bought an inferior wok. I’m thinking about going out to purchase a non-stick wok – one I don’t need to season. Again, any help here would be great (I sure do ask a lot of you guys and gals, don’t I?).