There's nothing like a day at the spa to revive aging surfaces, especially when a neglected cast iron wok is the client. To see the dreaded "before" pictures, keep reading.
Is there anything nicer for your skin than a salt scrub?
Maybe the dried coconut and lime leaf scrub I had a few weeks ago. It was vigorous, to say the least, but when I emerged from the shower, my rough winter carapace was as silky as the inside of a conch shell.
But salt, especially sea salt, is marvelous for aging surfaces.
Now if there’s anything that needs a treatment more than me, it has to be the cast iron wok I carted back from Singapore 15 years ago. It’s not really the best wok for home cooking—too unwieldy and even the hottest burner on my stove never completely heats up the sloping sides—but I’m still quite fond of it.
Maybe it’s remembering the long search that ended in a tiny shop in Singapore’s Chinatown where woks of all sizes were stacked on the floor and the elderly proprietor insisted this was the right one for me. Or maybe it’s just that I hauled it 9,727 miles, only to clog up the garbage dispos-all with the grated coconut I used to season the monster.
We've been through a lot together...
...but sad to say, over the years misuse and neglect have taken a toll.
Look closely and you’ll see lots of rust spots, a dull finish and oh my, are those dog hairs? I have no idea about the white specks. What you may not see: Sticky patches where ancient oil has dried.
When I heard that Grace Young was coming to The Lantern for a special dinner, I asked, via Twitter, how to rejuvenate an ailing wok. (Grace is the lively author of the award-winning Breath of a Wok, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks.) The Wok Doc wrote back saying, “Pamper your wok and give it a do it yourself wok spa facial.”
Here Grace Young shows us how with “Give Your Wok a Facial” a video on chow.com.
So how did it go? See for yourself.
The more I scrubbed the heated wok with salt and canola oil, the smoother and shinier it became. The salt even turned brown as I scoured the rusty spots. No more rust, no more sticky patches: Just a smooth glowing surface.
Now the question is: What should I try first? Grace’s Dry-Fried Pepper and Salt Shrimp? Stir-Fried Lettuce with Garlic Chili? Vinegar Glazed Chicken? We ate all these delicious dishes from her cookbook, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge (which won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best International Cookbook in 2011), and more at The Lantern dinner a few days later.
The possibilities are endless after a day at the spa.