I bought a very expensive Stainless Steel Baccarat Wok only last week. I followed instructions as told by the shop assistant (to wipe with a small amount of oil before I started to cook), but when I started to cook my wok had gone all brown like burnt and all my food was destroyed. Where have I gone wrong? Is there any way to keep this problem from happening again?
Stainless steel woks burn and stick very easily and are expensive and can't really be seasoned however they last forever. They are only used for foods that would attack a normal carbon steel wok and give the food a metallic taste, e.g. acidic foods.
Carbon steel woks are used by Chinese chefs and after proper seasoning they are like non stick but able to handle extremely high temperatures that Teflon can't.
This sounds as if you have only cooked in non-stick pans before. They are very forgiving, and you can throw any food at any temperature into them.
On a stainless steel pan, you have to cook it at the proper temperature, using the proper technique, so it does not stick. For a wok, this is a piping hot temperature, enough oil (not just wiping it), and moving the food constantly around, shoving the almost-through pieces up the rounded wall, where it's colder than in the middle of the hot bottom.
For other stainless steel pans and other types of food, there are other techniques. In every case, you have to be aware of what is happening in your pan, and what you can do without it sticking. This is mostly learned through experience and experimenting.
As for the "going brown" part, your description is too short to be sure what it is. Pictures will help.
- If by "brown" you mean it looks like this, then you mistakenly seasoned the pan by wiping it with oil first. Follow the advice in the linked question to clean it.
- If you mean you have a film of burnt-on charcoal, you'll have to soak it in acid before scrubbing it off.
- If the wok simply darkened from the intense heat, there is nothing you can, or should, do. Woks are taken to very hot temperatures, which discolors the metal. This is normal, and does not cause problems.
Did you clean the manufactures clear coat sealant off before you started seasoning it? I actually have a nice wok sitting waiting to be seasoned, because I haven't had time to scrub the clear coat off of it yet it takes a bit of time! You just need a brillo pad or such, then heat add oil wipe out with paper towel till there is no more brown color on the paper towels! Thats the instructions that came with mine. I've seasoned pans before, but its been just about 15-20 years! So thats what i'm looking for now is how to season a SS pan insert for a electric pressure cooker. Everyone keeps saying oh it doesn't need it...YES it does! I don't want everything sticking and it turning ugly colors! I hope this helped a bit!
Stainless steel is an unusual Material for a wok; an idea or recipe calling for a wok will probably assume and work best with:
- a seasoned carbon steel/cast iron/wrought iron wok (which would be the right choice for high heat stir frying, or deep frying technique. Nonstick with some but not all things you might throw at it.)
- a nonstick wok (best for handling starchy stuff with little oil at moderate heat, eg certain noodles, or for braising stuff in aggressive sauces that will stress the seasoning).
Stainless steel is the same surface you have on normal, old school cookware, with the same limitations.