Oh, the joy of cooking. Cooking makes you feel happy, productive, and even creative. It is one way we provide for and nourish our families, and it is often something we do solely for the pure sake of enjoyment.
When you are cooking Chinese food, the utensils you use may be different than you would use in other types of cuisine. Here we examine various Chinese cooking tools and how they are best used when cooking. Enjoy!
Chopsticks are sticks of equal length that are used as eating utensils for Asian cuisine. Used for cooking since 1500 B.C., they came to be used as an eating utensils around 400 A.D. As a cost-saving technique, food was chopped into smaller pieces that would use less fuel to cook, and chopsticks had the perfect ability to pick up the smaller food items. Bamboo chopsticks are a good item because, as a renewable resource, they are better for the environment. Also, bamboo does not breed bacteria, so chopsticks can be used for a longer period of time than traditional wood chopsticks.
Bamboo is a natural, durable, but lightweight material used for cooking utensils. Bamboo is heat resistant, water resistant, and stain resistant. Because it is moisture free and does not absorb water, it is less likely to harbor bacteria or fungus. Additionally, bamboo does not cause scratches to cooking surfaces. They are ideal for stirring and mixing, and they do not absorb flavors so they can be used over and over without altering the taste of any dish.
A rice paddle is a tool used to get rice out of a rice cooker without fear of scratching the surface of the bowl. A rice paddle is a great tool because the rice does not stick to it the way it does a traditional kitchen spoon. A bamboo rice paddle is heat resistant, lightweight, and does not scratch cooking surfaces, so it is an indispensable tool for the kitchen.
A bamboo skewer is a thin stick of bamboo that has a sharpened or pointy tip on one end, allowing meat, fruit, or vegetables to be pierced and easily positioned onto the skewer. Skewers are used for grilling food items and are necessary for holding the items together, such as when grilling kebobs. It also makes serving food easier since the skewer can be picked up easily and provide fruit, vegetable, and protein all at once.
A bamboo steamer is made of baskets that stack on top of each other and have a lid on top. These are placed over a wok or pot of water, and the steam rises and cooks the contents inside the basket.
A bamboo spider strainer enables the cook to scoop up and drain oil or liquids while cooking. It is made of a stainless-steel basket/strainer with a bamboo handle. The wiring pattern of the strainer resembles a spider web, which is how it gets the name spider strainer.
Compared to other materials, cast iron cookware holds heat longer. Whether you're sautéing steak, making Chinese food, or even panning pizza, a sturdy seasoned cast iron skillet is the way to go. A cast iron skillet will help you handle a huge variety of culinary tasks, so I highly recommend adding it to your list. A cast iron skillet looks nice enough to show off on my stove. They are not Chinese kitchen tools, but besides the wok, cast iron cookware is probably the most used cookware in my kitchen today.
Clay and earthen pots are used for cooking soups and stews. They can be placed directly on the stove for cooking and then removed to the table for the meal.
Rather than have numerous knives for every slicing or chopping need, Chinese chefs often use a cleaver. It can slice and dice, chop and scrape depending on how the chef manipulates it.
Colanders are used for draining liquids away from noodles or for rinsing vegetables. Raw vegetables are placed in the colander and cleaned under running water. Dirt and debris are removed as the water drains out of the colander, and the clean food remains inside.
Cut-resistant gloves are a must-have for someone who is new to cooking or not very skilled at slicing and dicing. As the name suggests, the gloves are cut-resistant and cannot be penetrated with a knife, which means fingers are safe while chopping and dicing are taking place. They can also be worn while using the mandoline slicer or kitchen shears or any time hands need extra protection.
The cutting board is very useful, yes and it has a little shelf that allows it to stand on the kitchen counter so for us it survives all the time and is SO functional.
Stewing meat is a top priority in my kitchen, which is why I need a Dutch oven. Dutch ovens are essential if you want to slow-cook meat and be part of the process, unlike an Instant Pot or slow cooker. Any type of cuisine requires heavy pots that can be used on the stove and in the oven, especially stews and soups.
A fine-mesh strainer is used for rinsing rice or vegetables, straining
sauces, or sifting flour or powdered sugar. It is also ideal for removing small bits of food that may burn in hot oil and give a dish a bad flavor.
Garlic is heavily used in Chinese food. With a garlic press, you crush cloves to extract the flavorful juice and create a paste that can easily be blended into a variety of dishes. Several garlic presses and grinders can grind other foods such as ginger, herbs, chili peppers, seeds, and soft nuts.
Tart tins are used for making egg tarts, which are custard pastry. The best molds keep the shape of the egg tart and allow for even heat distribution. Molds made of carbon steel or aluminum are often the most durable and long-lasting, but the molds may also be made of tin and heat-resistant materials.
A hot pot, or fire pot, is a large metal pot containing a flavorful broth. It is placed in the center of the dinner table, and the broth is left to simmer during the meal. Various raw food items can be placed inside and cooked during the meal.
Every kitchen likely has a set of kitchen shears. Shears are used to cut raw or cooked meat, trim shellfish, and even cut flowers and many other items in the kitchen. Shears are much easier to use than a knife because they can be controlled better and are safer to use.
A KitchenAid stand mixer is a wonderful tool for any kitchen where there is serious cooking or baking going on. It allows for hands-free preparation of dough, dips, or sauces. Kitchen Aid is a more expensive brand, but it also has a higher quality than other brands. It usually comes with a wire whip, flat beater, and a dough hook and performs excellently for whipping, mixing, and kneading.
For slicing large quantities of vegetables, or for making finer slices, the mandoline slicer is the tool for the job. Vegetables are slid back and forth along the blade, and the slicer makes it easy to cut a large quantity quickly and precisely.
This item has prongs that are used to pierce the meat in order to make it more tender. As it breaks down meat fibers, it tenderizes the meat and allows the spices and marinade to reach the inside portions of the meat and get absorbed faster.
A meat thermometer monitors the internal temperature of the meat. This is important for making sure the meat is thoroughly cooked so that harmful bacteria are destroyed. Using a meat thermometer prevents the meat from having to be cut to check for readiness, which can alter the texture and flavor of the meat. It ensures the meat is not overcooked or undercooked.
A metal steam rack allows food to be elevated above the heat source while
it continues to cook. This rack can be used in a wok or a deep cooking dish. Food is placed on the metal steam rack and cooks without fear of it burning.
A wok spatula is also called a Chinese spatula, wok shovel, and a wok spatula and hoak are used when cooking stir fry. These tools typically have long handles, so the cook works outside the wok. The wok spatula has a shape that enables it to scrape the sides of the wok and not skip any food from being tossed or turned. The hoak is a spoon shape utensil that resembles a ladle. The spatula and hoak used together make it easier to scoop and scrape food around the wok as it is being cooked.
A Microplane is like a zester. It is used to grate ginger or garlic or other spices. It is also excellent for zesting. While not a Chinese cooking tool, many professional chefs and experienced home cookers consider it an essential tool to have in the kitchen.
Chinese cuisine calls for lots of spices or spice blends, so a mortar and pestle is another must-have tool for your kitchen. A mortar is a bowl that is made of wood, stone, or ceramic. Spices can be placed inside the mortar, and then the pestle, which is shaped like a club and is made from the same material as the mortar, is used to grind the spices or herbs. Used together, they can turn garlic into a paste and whole spices into powder.
A rice bowl is a small bowl that is the perfect size for a serving of rice. The bowls may be plain or decorative. Decorative ones are also used around a home for décor. Traditional designs include flowers or leaves, Chinese poems, calligraphy, or cherry blossoms.
A staple for any Asian table, the porcelain soup spoon is used when eating soup dishes. It has a flat bottom, which makes it possible to lay the spoon on a flat surface. The spoons are typically used for soup dishes that contain noodles or for won-ton soups. Porcelain does not absorb the heat from the food, making it less likely for the mouth to get burned by the spoon.
A sheet pan, also known as a cookie sheet, is a versatile kitchen tool. It is often used for making cookies or bread, but it is also useful as a roasting rack for vegetables or meat. It typically has shallow edges, which keep liquids from draining off the pan. Professional grade means it has superior durability and will last longer than a regular sheet pan.
There are many types of rice and grains that can be cooked in a rice cooker. The rice is tenderized by boiling water, which is then absorbed into it. High-end rice cookers are a great way to make healthy cooking easy and safer.
Most kitchens probably have a rolling pin. This kitchen tool is used for rolling dough for bread or cookies. In Chinese cuisine, it is used for rolling dumpling wrappers. The Chinese version differs from an American rolling pin in that it does not have handles and is smaller. The smaller size makes it easier to use during Chinese food prep.
Also known as honing steel, sharpening steel is not used to sharpen a knife. Instead, it is a rod that is used to straighten the edge of the knife blade in order to keep its sharpness. The edge of the blade is run along the steel rod at a 15-degree angle. This helps maintain the edge, so the blade does not require sharpening.
A stainless-steel cooling rack is another multi-use kitchen tool. It can be used to cool baked goods, such as cookies, but it also is used as a roasting rack over a sheet pan. It sits well in a sheet pan and leaves room for the juices to gather underneath. And stainless steel is not only durable but is also easy to clean.
Folding dish tongs are used to lift hot plates out of a bamboo steamer. The tongs are placed on two sides of the plate, allowing the hot plate to be removed from the steamer easily and without burning the cook.
The stainless-steel skimmer is used to skim off or remove any foam that forms on the broth in the hot pot, and it can also be used to drain the foods coming out of the hot pot.
A thermometer is used when deep frying to monitor the temperature of the cooking oil. Deep frying requires higher temperatures, and a deep-frying thermometer can reach higher temperatures than a regular thermometer, usually around 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It often has a metal clip that is used to attach it to the pot. This holds it in place and limits the potential for hot splatter that may result from moving it in and out of the deep fryer during cooking.
To make sure food is clean and free of dirt and pesticides, a vegetable brush is a necessary tool to get the job done thoroughly. Using a brush cleans your fruits and vegetables better than just running them under water. A brush can scrub away dirt from the skin of the fruit or vegetable without damaging it, and it helps remove pesticides so the food you serve is free of toxins.
There are numerous things wide-mouth canning jars can be used for. They are ideal for canning and storing vegetables or fruits for future use. They are also good for holding soups or sauces for later use. And glass storage containers are better for storing fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator as the food items last twice if they will in plastic storage containers.
In Chinese cuisine, the wok is one of the most important cooking tools, they are one of the most used favorite Chinese cooking utensils for many recipes. If you just got your wok, it is imperative you know how to season a carbon steel wok properly. When you cook Chinese food, a wok with a lid is much easier to use. The wok lid is normally made from carbonized wood, it weighs less than a glass cover as well.
A wok ring is a metal ring or circular stand that is used when cooking with a wok on a traditional stovetop or grill. It keeps the round bottom of the wok stable on the flat surface of the cooking space. The ring is placed on top of the existing stove burner, and the wok is placed on the ring, which stabilizes it for safe cooking.
As you can see, there is a myriad of wonderful kitchen tools that make cooking easier, safer, and even healthier. While all these tools are not necessary for preparing delicious meals, they certainly make quite the indispensable collection for any new or seasoned chef.