After rubbing the new wok with chinese chives, see Part I of the process here, the next step was to open up all the “pores” of the wok by heating it up and coating it with fat. Traditionally, pork lard was the fat of choice. And some chefs choose to slather on the lard onto a cool wok and slowly heat it up. I decided to render the lard and continuously paint the the insides of the wok with the hot pork fat. I know it sounds a little over the top, but the combination of the chive juices, the pork fat, serves to not only clean out the new wok, but coat it with oil and remove the “metal” taste.
I used roughly a kilo of pork skin and fat for each wok and it rendered roughly 1.5 cups of oil. Using a heat resistant silicone barbecue brush, I just kept “painting” the wok with the hot fresh pork fat. After about 15 minutes of rendering the pork fat, I added more fresh chives and let that fry up as well. Partially because I had so many, and hoping that the flavor and aroma would somehow permeate the pores of the woks as well.
Somehow, the visual of a kilo of slowly rendering fat gave me the slight hibbie-jibbies… I wonder if my own belly fat would yield the same result?! :)
If there wasn’t so much iron dust and grey matter, the fried pork skin with chives would have made an excellent snack!
And thank goodness we had set up the wok outdoors as the aromas were just totally intoxicating… After about 30 minutes of basting the wok, we turned off the heat, allowed the fat to cool. Added some water to the wok and brought it back up to a boil, then discarded the water and wiped the wok clean. It was now ready for use. And we definitely took it for an extensive test drive, as the subsequent wok-based dishes will confirm!
After a few maiden dishes, the bottoms of the woks looked like this. In this case, the fat was rendered slowly, leaving “burn” marks where the fat was pressed against the wok in the early stages of cooking.
For the second wok, the odd drip pattern was caused by dripping hot lard from the first wok onto the second one to help more fresh pork fat start cooking. The odd coloration is nothing to worry about, apparently. If we use the woks at least 5 times per week for the next year, maybe then and only after then will a nice dark brown/black patina develop on these woks. Oh, and while many professional cooks do season their woks in some variation of the steps I have described here and on the previous post, there are other methods as well. But enough about seasoning, let’s start cooking!