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I just received a cast iron wok for Christmas this year and I love it! Mine is Lodge (not Le Creuset) and came pre-seasoned. If yours is not pre-seasoned, it will not be non-stick (i.e. it will be sticky!) There are many articles that talk you through seasoning cast iron. They way I have seasoned mine in the past is to heat it up on the stove until it is very warm to the touch. Rub it all over and very liberally with vegetable oil. Place in an oven (300 degrees or so) and let cook. Take out after 30 minutes or so, and rerub all over, adding more oil if needed. Bake in oven again. Once removed, let cool enough so it's easy to handle and wipe out any excess oil with a clean, dry cloth.
The most important thing with cast iron is to NEVER USE SOAP while cleaning it. NEVER. It will remove your seasoning and waste all your hard work. Instead, clean while it is still warm. Depending on how dirty it is, you just might need to wipe it out with a paper towel. Additionally there are cast iron cleaning brushes, maybe a one-trick tool, but I do like mine. Another is to cover the still warm cast iron with kosher salt and wipe out with a clean kitchen rag. That is more for when there is burnt on food. Another way to clean off burnt off food is to boil water in the cast iron to help loosen it. Again, remember, DO NOT USE SOAP.
Additionally, in general, avoid use of acidic ingredients, like tomatoes. Sorry this is so long! Don't want to discourage you from using cast iron because I absolutely LOVE mine! Let me know if you have any more questions.
I agree with all of this - I have a Le Creuset cast iron wok. However I season with shortening because I find that vegetable oil gets sticky or kind of gunky. Shortening does not do this. I typically boil mine while I'm cleaning up after dinner, and then scrub a bit to get off the last bits. Usually there is very little stuck to it.
The best advice I can give you was given to me by a man who does pre-Revolutionary War reenacting as a cook. He uses nothing but cast iron, and he uses it a lot--large pieces of cast iron cookware. Anyway, when I mentioned to him that I never soak my cast iron or use soap on it, he asked me why. I replied, "Well, I don't want to ruin the seasoning on it." He laughed and told me that not only does he soak his cast iron overnight after using it, but he also uses soap and, sometimes, steel wool. Which, after baking a sticky apple cobbler in a Dutch oven, I can totally understand.
He claims that once you've seasoned your cast iron well, it can handle being washed with soap. Of course, I don't think you'd want to scour it every time you use it, but if you have a big mess or something that's really stuck on, I wouldn't be afraid to soak and/or wash with soap. The seasoning method given by biggreencookbook is a good one. The only thing I would add is that when I get a new cast iron piece, I season it several times over the first couple weeks. I cook everything I can in it, wash it, and season it and repeat that process until it develops a sort of sheen on the surface. I have a feeling that you'll never be able to treat your cast iron like a non-stick pan, but you should be able to roughly approximate it.
The advice given is excellent, but I'm not sure it applies to your wok. I checked and found this description -- "its inside surface offers a durable black enamel finish (no seasoning required." I believe the cast iron itself is on the inside, and both the outside surfaces are covered in enamel. Un-coated cast iron is rather porous (so it absorbs the oils that give you the 'non-stick' surface. Your enameled surface will have different characteristics, similar to other LeCreuset.
Judging by the enameled cast iron I use (not the wok, though), here's what I would do: soak it first, maybe with baking soda. Use a scrubber which will not harm the surface. When you cook, do not use the highest heat or leave oil heating too long -- it can concentrate and leave a sticky residue.
I agree with Susan if it has an enamel coating. My wok is only cast iron, no coating. If yours is coated, I would maintain like you would a dutch oven.
petitbleu, I must kindly disagree with you! I am most definitely in the never use soap on cast iron camp, it's what I was always taught! Boiling water has always worked for me, even with hard, stuck on messes! Most of the time I am lucky enough to get away with just a quick swip with a heavy duty paper towel.
Sam is a trusted home cook.
Not much of an answer to address the question here, But Cast Iron Wok aren't the best device to use for Asian cooking---I'm sure they do have their place, IMHO.
A good wok is hand hammered steel. Heat control is instant, cast iron by nature retains heat. I know people that love their cast iron woks. But I see them as big heat sinks with little control over heat for that type of cooking. Yes, they are pretty, but a well used thin body wok scares some people with it's grungy character. A good hand-hammered wok is cheap and lasts decades and is 'non stick' after carbon builds up on the inside and outside.
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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