Some of the things to cook with for Chinese are the same as in the West. Others are quite different. However, most Chinese dishes can be prepared and cooked with the equipment found in the normal home kitchen with perhaps, a few smallish additions. A good supply of pots and pans of various sizes should be handy. In general, slow cooking dishes should have thicker pots and faster cooking things should have thinner ones. In the recipes, skillet means any shallow, thin pan which oil can be heated quickly for various forms of frying. Deep frying, of course calls for something deep enough in which to float the pieces to be deep fried.
For the handling of materials being cooked, you can use the ordinary ladle, leaking ladles, and perforated frying shovels.
Of course, you will want to add your home kitchen with Chinese cooking utensils such as a wok and bamboo steamers as you go along and get more ambitious; which you'll find very useful and indispensable once you put you hands on them. This section is created to make you have a better understanding of the utensils used in a typical Chinese kitchen and help you decide if you want to invest in some.
are great for steaming food and are designed to fit inside the wok. The
texture of the bamboo allows steam to circulate and evaporate so that less moisture will form on the inside of the lid. The bamboo steamer has the additional asset of allowing more than one layer of food to be steamed simultaneously - just stack a second basket on top of the first. Chinese would boil water in a wok then stack bamboo steamers over the wok, up to 5 layers, with the food needing less steaming on top, and the most, at the bottom. Bamboo steamers are attractive and can be used to serve food as well. They sure will fascinate yours guests!
Tip: To clean a bamboo steamer, simply rinse it with water. Do not use detergent or it will absorb the flavor of the soap and spoil the taste of you food the next time you use it.
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The Chinese Spatula : This is a long-handled wide shovel-like blade spatula specially designed for stir-frying in the wok, known as 'wok sang' by the Chinese. The edge of the spatula blade is rounded to fit the shape of the wok, and the utensil itself is sturdier overall than the usual Western version, to allow stirring and tossing of large quantities of food as well as removing food from the wok.
The Chinese Wire Strainer - This wide, flat wire-mesh strainer with a long bamboo handle is very useful for removing deep-fried foods from hot oil or noodles from boiling water. It drains oil and liquid more efficiently than those metal perforated types. The long bamboo handle won't conduct heat and helps keep you farther away from the cooking heat. The most common size for home use is 6" diameter.
Sizzling Platter - Sizzling-platter dishes, also called "iron-plate" dishes, have recently become popular menu items in Chinese restaurants. These dishes are named for the heavy iron platter that is used for serving. The platter is heated to a high temperature, placed on its wooden tray, and delivered to the table. When hot stir-fried food is spooned onto the platter, the sizzle is very dramatic.
Clay-Pot - Clay-pot dishes are the Chinese version of the American casserole. The main difference is that they are cooked on top of the stove rather than in the oven. The design of the clay-pot assures good retention of heat, so that even if dinner is delayed, the food stays piping hot. Clay-pots add an indefinable richness of flavor to soups and hot pots.
Steaming stand or rack - useful in steaming food.
Long Wooden Chopsticks: The Chinese sometimes use chopsticks for putting food into and taking things out of a wok especially during deep frying, but you may use your fingers, forks or ladles, if you have not learned to use chopsticks.
Chopping block - The Chinese prefer a wooden chopping block over the plastic ones because it does not slip as easily and a big heavy wooden block big enough to hold what you're chopping is easier to find. However, you can always lay a damp kitchen towel under a plastic board to prevent slipping. Never soak a wooden chopping block. Instead, scrub with soap and hot water after us and keep dry when not in use. Occasionally, you can use vinegar and lemon juice to clean, sanitize and deodorize a chopping board.