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Old 05-11-2003, 06:43 PM
Nicholas Zhou
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Default --- Useful Tools in Chinese Cooking ---

From: Nicholas Zhou

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--- Useful Tools in Chinese Cooking ---


Much Chinese cooking requires the use of a wok. The wok is
traditionally made of cast iron, but is normally found in
carbon steel form in the United States. Several factors
should be kept in mind when choosing a wok, one of which is
weight. Although the wok is not generally moved around very
much on the stove, weight does play a role in a wok's
utility; a wok that is too thick will not heat as quickly
as a thinner one. More important than weight, however, is
size, and the best woks are generally 14 inches wide, large
enough to hold a whole chicken, fish or duck, and with
enough room for additional ingredients. There should be room
in the wok to move the food around, and since the heat is
concentrated on the bottom, a larger wok will allow more
food to be cooked at one time. Woks generally come with a
matching ring and cover, and be sure to look for one with
wooden handles which won't conduct heat like metal will,
making your wok easier to work with in the long run.


Because they retain their sharpness well and are less
expensive than stainless steel, Chinese chefs recommend
using carbon steel cleavers. Cleavers come in a variety of
weights, with each dictating its degree of usefulness.

Light-weight cleavers have narrow blades and are primarily
used for light chopping, delicate slicing and boning.

Medium-weight cleavers, which are the most versatile, have
thicker blades and are useful for all but the heaviest of
tasks. This all-purpose tool can be used for everything
from crushing ingredients to chopping, slicing, mincing and
cutting up meat.

Lastly, heavy-weight cleavers have the thickest blades and
are generally used to hack through bones and cut through
the toughest of ingredients.

Frying Strainer:

Used for deep-frying foods, the best frying strainers are
made from wire mesh. Choose a strainer with long bamboo
handles which won't conduct heat and will be easier to use.

Wide-Blade Spatula:
This tool is helpful when stir frying and scooping up food.
Its long handle helps keep you farther away from cooking

Ladle or Scoop:

This dual-purpose tool is used for removing food from the
wok. The ladle or scoop can also be used to impress your
friends, allowing you to mix sauces right over the wok.
Of course, this technique takes practice, so be sure to
rehearse before performing in front of an audience!

Long Wooden Chopsticks:

Do I need to mention this here? Well, just in case.
Chopsticks are useful for picking up and moving food
around within the wok, but only if you know how to use
them! Here again, the wood will not get hot,
making them easy to work with.

Bamboo Steamer with Lid:

This fundamental tool is designed to fit inside the wok,
and can be used one at a time or stacked one on top of
another. You may line the steamer with cheesecloth and
place food on top of it for cooking, or simply place the
steamer onto plates when serving. The steamer should sit
approximately one inch above the boiling water inside the
wok, and the water should be replaced as it evaporates
during cooking. When cleaning the steamer, be sure to avoid
using detergent -- the bamboo will absorb the flavor of the
soap, so instead simply rinse with water.


For more cooking tips, please go to:


Nicholas Zhou
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FREE RECIPES: To cliam your free Chinese recipes, cooking tips
and health articles, email to

Real & Healthy Chinese Food Recipes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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