Chinese Kitchen Essentials
Some Chinese utensils are the same as Western ones, but not all. To make the best Chinese recipes you will need various pots and pans, ladles and spoons or spatulas. Yes, investing in Chinese kitchen essentials is going to be a good idea if you want to rustle up authentic Chinese recipes. A good-quality wok is also a staple, and you might like to get a bamboo steamer too since you can make steamed wontons in there, or even cook vegetables or chicken. A bamboo steamer can be yours for just $4 or $5.
The texture of the bamboo allows steam to circulate and evaporate so you do not get a lot of moisture stuck on the lid. Also, you can steam more than one layer of food at a time by stacking the steamers on top of one another. The food which requires the least steaming goes on top. Just rinse a bamboo steamer with water. Never use detergent, else the steamer will absorb the soap flavor and the next recipe you make in it will taste like soap. That isn’t what you want from your Chinese kitchen essentials.
Other Handy Kitchen Utensils
A Chinese spatula is something else you might wish to get, and this long-handled, shovel-like blade spatula is for wok stir-frying. Certainly something to add to your selection of Chinese kitchen essentials. The spatula blade edge fits the shape of the wok and this is more sturdy than Western spatulas, so you can remove food from the wok as well as toss and stir large quantities of ingredients together. A Chinese wire strainer is a flat, wide, wire-mesh strainer with a long bamboo handle. Use this to remove deep-fried foods form hot oil or to get noodles out of hot water.
A sizzling platter or iron-plate is just used for effect, since the sizzle is part of the presentation. Clay-pot dishes are like casseroles but they are cooked on the stove, not in the oven. The clay-pot holds in lots of heat so the food stays hot inside. A clay-pot will add richness of flavor to the food inside.
Chinese Kitchen Essentials: How to Choose the Best Wok
Although a wok is not strictly compulsory for Chinese cooking it is very handy. This bowl-shaped pan spreads heat evenly, ensures food you toss lands back in the pan instead of on the stove, and requires less oil for deep-frying than a deep-fat fryer. If you like to make Chinese recipes you will find a good wok to be very useful.
The best type of wok is a carbon steel one. This will not cost too much and it is a good heat conductor. You can get stainless steel, copper or aluminum woks, but most Chinese chefs prefer to use carbon steel, despite it not being the most expensive. A flat-bottomed wok is better than a round-bottomed one, whether you are cooking with gas or electric.
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More Wok Information
Woks used to have two handles so you could lift them in and out of a Chinese wood stove. Modern flat-bottomed woks have a long handle which makes the wok easy to tilt and move while you are cooking in it. Some have a small handle on the other side so you can lift it. Woks come in different sizes; the best size depends how many people you are cooking for at once, the type of stove you use and the size you are most comfortable with, as well as the depth of the wok. You can have more than one wok in your collection of Chinese kitchen essentials of course.
Nonstick cookware is popular these days, as people try to make their recipes lower in fat, but nonstick coatings often do not work so well on carbon steel. If you want a nonstick coating, go for a heavy gauge aluminum wok, such as a Calphalon work or similar.