Three Essential Pieces of Chinese Cooking Equipment
In order to make good food at home, you have to begin by having sound fundamentals. As any chef or experienced home cook knows, having the right kitchen equipment makes all the difference in their final result. Give an amateur cook good pots, pans, and knives to use and his dishes will improve almost immediately. In the hands of a skilled culinary artist, these tools can be used to create magic on a dish. Below are some tools and Chinese cooking equipment that anyone aspiring to cook quality Asian food at home needs.
You knife is the most valuable tool that you have in your kitchen and is extremely important for cooking your favorite Chinese recipes at home. If you have ever looked at your favorite takeout dishes closely, you may have noticed that all the meats and vegetables inside of the dish have been neatly and precisely cut. Not only does a uniform knife cut make for even cooking, but the flavor and textures of food actually change depending on how you cut it. As a general rule of thumb, buy the most expensive knife that you can afford. High-quality knives will last longer, be easier to sharpen, and stay sharp longer. If given the option, choose forged blades over stamped blades because they are of much higher quality.
The next most important tool in your Chinese kitchen should be your wok. The wok is thousands of years old and is used because its shape is ideal for a multitude of tasks. You can perform practically every type of cooking technique in a wok, including braising, stir frying, deep frying, and steaming. When purchasing a wok for your home kitchen, you need to think about a few things. First of all, you need to choose the shape of your wok. Today, woks come in two main varieties. The first design is a traditional, curved shaped bottom wok. In order to sit securely on your stove, you will need a heat ring, a cylindrical ring upon which the wok will sit. The negative side to using a heat ring is that your pan will be elevated from the heat source, meaning that you will not get the maximum temperature that you would if the pan was in direct contact with the heating element. Instead, most home cooks that want to fix Chinese cuisine should opt for a flat bottomed wok, which will sit snuggly on any cook top. Finally, you need to decide on the material used for the construction of the wok. Opt for high carbon steel woks of cast iron woks. Steel woks will heat up quickly and are easy to maneuver. Cast iron woks heat up slowly, but retain their temperatures for a long time. Having high cooking temperatures is essential for good results.
3. Rice Cooker
Rice is the stable grain of the Chinese table and every home cook that is serious about cooking Chinese food at home needs to own a rice pot. The reason for this is because of the convenience a rice cooker offers. Preparing rice in a regular saucepan on the stove can be quite perilous for the inexperienced cook. First of all, it is easy to mess up the proportions of rice to water with this method. Next, the rice can boil over the edge of the pot quite easily if you are not looking. Finally, you have to maintain a constant watch over the temperature to make sure that the rice is not sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot. A rice cooker solves all of these problems. Many models have convenient measuring guidelines to help you get the proportions right. Also, the heating mechanism inside of the rice cooker is designed to maintain the right temperatures throughout the cooking process. Finally, after the rice is done, the pot will automatically switch to warming mode, which prevents scorching and burning.
If you are serious about cooking Asian food at home, the wok, a good knife, and a rice cooker are essential Chinese cooking equipment for your kitchen. With these three items, you will have a solid base from which you can reach new culinary heights.