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I have just bought a kazan which still needs to be seasoned.

For those who are not aware what a kazan is – it is a cast-iron vessel, shaped roughly like a half-sphere (similar to a wok but deeper). It is used for a variety of things that include shallow-frying, stir-frying and boiling.

I am aware of the existing seasoning approaches for cast iron skillets, specifically the Sheryl Canter approach, which only require the heating of the skillet after rubbing it with a thin layer of flaxseed oil (chosen for its low smoke point) several times. Everything I was able to find about seasoning a kazan uses a different approach (but pretty much the same every time). For this reason, I am wondering if there is a fundamental difference between a kazan and other cookware.

Standard procedure for a kazan (as per my research):

  • Wash the kazan (some even scrub the inside thoroughly with a wire brush)
  • Heat it until the inside changes color
  • Add salt and heat it for about an hour, while moving it around
  • Dump out the salt, and add some oil (commonly sunflower or rapeseed)
  • Heat the oil, while moving it around, ensuring the entire inside surface of the kazan gets covered in oil
  • Fry some onions or a mix of vegetables, which you then throw out
  • Lightly oil the inside of the kazan

I understand the steps up to (and including) the salt in the kazan approach are necessary to get any production residue out of the kazan, so I would always do this before moving on to whatever oil I eventually choose.

Why the difference?

The different methods might just be historically grown (there are many different approaches to seasoning cast iron skillets as well, after all). Or the different ways in which different types of cookware are used might require different approaches to seasoning (a kazan has a much wider range of applications than a skillet, and might see more acidic ingredients).

So, would these differences (or any other that I have missed) require a different approach to seasoning? Or would the Canter method work just as well for a kazan?

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  • As seasoning is not dependent on the shape of the vessel, your question boils down to comparing a method with vs. a method without vegetables, so I am closing it as a duplicate. You might want to browse the tag for seasoning, we have several questions going into the same direction, which tend to always get the same answers.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 21, 2021 at 20:49
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    @rumtscho I feel you are misunderstanding the question. I am specifically NOT asking which seasoning method is better, but whether there are any differences between a kazan and, say, a skillet that would result in different requirements for seasoning. Shape plays a minor role, but ingredients typically cooked in a particular type of cookware may change things. A skillet is used primarily for frying, whereas many recipes made in a kazan involve significant amounts of liquid. Some of them are acidic, which may also play a role.
    – user149408
    Aug 21, 2021 at 21:20
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    OK, I was not able to read that in the question as it is. If you would ask a new question which is specifically about the difference between seasoning of liquid-cooking containers and skillets, that would not be a duplicate and would stay open. Or if you can edit this one, removing the part which looks like you are asking about comparing the two methods - which is basically everything except the last sentence, making it as much work on your side as writing it completely from scratch. If you choose the second way, vote for reopen after the edit, so we will notice it.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 21, 2021 at 21:40
  • I’m not sure, but the salt heating of the first one might be something about getting rid of whatever storage coating was on there. Without knowing what that was, it’s difficult to recommend a procedure. I’d be reluctant to heat up a cleaned and dry cast iron vessel, and they can rust pretty quickly if they’re heated too far.
    – Joe
    Aug 21, 2021 at 23:05
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    @Joe yes, the salt is essentially to clean the kazan. Instructions say it will turn gray in the procedure, indicating it is picking up all the nasty stuff, much like the potato peels. I have heard of cast iron cookware manufacturers recommending the salt method for a skillet as well.
    – user149408
    Aug 22, 2021 at 10:31

2 Answers 2

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...so, the difference is applying a layer of oil, and frying some onions, vs. heating a layer of oil to the smoke point six times?

Seasoning is about creating a layer of polymerized oil that protects the pan, and ideally, creates a non-stick surface. I don't know if you need 6 "layers", as you can build up the surface as you use the pan, but I would probably do option 2 a couple of times. I'm not sure option 1 gets you far enough for an initial seasoning. My experience is with cast iron and carbon steel...same process....I think more important, is the clean up after use. You want to be careful not to wash and/or scrub off the seasoning, so that it remains seasoned.

EDIT: Your altered title question changes my answer a bit. I'm not sure it is critical to season a pan meant for boiling and using acidic liquids, to the point that you have a non-stick surface. It will be difficult to maintain any sort of polymerized surface under these cooking conditions. In this case, I would follow the instructions of the "standard" procedure, which, it seems to me, basically prepares the pan for use after manufacture. Then, after cooking, clean and wipe a light coating of oil on the pan prior to storage, just to prevent any rust.

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  • Dutch ovens are used for boiling all the time. You just need to build up a really good layer of seasoning first.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 24, 2021 at 17:15
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The Canter method will perform at least as poorly as on a skillet, possibly even worse, on a kazan.

While the method seems scientifically sound, Canter does not mention how well it performs in practice. My practical experience (and also by some other accounts I have come across since) is not nearly as great as the theory sounds.

I have used the Canter method on two already-used skillets and did not bother much with stripping them thoroughly. I use both on a regular basis and they perform well, but I cannot tell if this is due to frequent usage or due to the Canter method – on my cast-iron skillet, I suspect the flaxseed coat has long flaked off.

Another time I tried the Canter method on a brand-new cast iron skillet (which I additionally stripped with oven cleaner), and the seasoning flaked off the next time I fried some bacon in it.

So the main weakness of the Canter method is that the seasoning layer is brittle and cohesion with the clean cookware surface is poor, causing it to flake off rather quickly.

While high smoke-point oils or fats do not polymerize to the extent flaxseed oil does, this very quality seems to keep them elastic and sticking to the surface.

Many uses of the kazan are more aggressive with respect to the seasoning, in particular when large amounts of liquid or acidic ingredients are involved. While I haven’t tested this in detail, I’d see a high risk of the seasoning coming off after the first use. On the other hands, many uses of a kazan are less prone to sticking than frying in a skillet.

Personally, I have obtained good results simply by cleaning and drying the kazan after each use, then appplying a light coat of sunflower seed oil.

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