Chinese Kitchen Tools
In The Chinese Kitchen, Ms. Lo spends an entire chapter describing the essential tools of a Chinese kitchen.
"Chinese cooking, true Chinese cooking, perhaps more than any other, is an art that changes constantly."
In her book, next to the cleaver, the wok is unrivaled. It is shaped like an oversized soup plate. Originally made of iron, today it is made of stainless steel and aluminum. The wok can be used to fry, steam, boil, bake and dry roast, to name a few. She recommends a carbon steel wok with a round bottom.
A brand new carbon steel wok needs to seasoned before first use. Her steps to season it are: 1. Immerse in extremely hot water with a little liquid detergent. 2. Clean the interior with a sponge and the outside with steel wool and cleanser. 3. Rinse the wok and while hot place over a flame. 4. While over the flame, dry the inside with a dry paper towel to prevent instant rust. 5. Get a new paper towel and with the wok over the burner still, pour a teaspoon of oil into the wok. 6. Rub the oil around with a paper towel. 7. Repeat until no more black residue comes off. 8. For first time use make French fries. 9. Do not use detergent again to wash the wok but use a wok brush and very hot water. 10. Dry over a flame after each wash with a paper towel. 11. It is properly seasoned when the interior is dark and shiny.
Next to the wok the cleaver is a must have tool. Get a 12-ounce cleaver for daily use and a 1-pound cleaver for cutting up whole chicken meat and bones. To chop spareribs then look for a 26-ounce cleaver. With a cleaver you can chop, mince, crush, slice and dice.
Other tools used in the kitchen are:
1. Wok cover – enables steaming, stewing and boiling
2. Wok brush – to clean the wok
3. Wok ring – helps balance the wok over the flame
4. Chinese spatula – shovel shaped
5. Chinese ladle – bowl-shaped with a long handle
6. Chinese strainer – circular steel mesh strainer with a long split-bamboo handle
7. Bamboo steamers
8. Cutting board
9. Sand clay pot
10. Chopsticks – for stirring, mixing and serving