Tools in our family kitchen
Chinese and Vietnamese food may be our specialty over here at Wok & Kin, but the recipes certainly don’t come to life without the help of some of our most trusted tools. Some of these utensils we use everyday while some are reserved for specific purposes.
Bring the cooking magic into your home with our FAVOURITE equipment!
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Ah, the most fundamental tool to Chinese cooking. If you step into any Chinese restaurant’s kitchen, you’ll quickly notice that all the chefs will be expertly tossing mouthwatering food in the same appliance: that’s right, the almighty wok.
There’s a common phrase amongst the Chinese that signifies the purity and immense strength of flavour found in food cooked by a wok. Wok hei (also known as the breath of the wok) is a quality that comes exclusively from a cooking with a wok.
That’s not even the best part. Woks are extremely versatile and are commonly used not only for stir frying, but boiling, blancing, steaming and deep frying!
This carbon steel wok has received numerous positive reviews and can be the first step to your wokking journey!
With every wok master comes its unfailing partner: a wok shovel. Those exciting sizzles and clangs you hear in a restaurant kitchen are manifested by the one tool that Chinese chefs swear by.
A wok shovel is perfect for scraping, breaking apart, flattening and scooping any ingredient you add to your wok. Not to mention, it will train your forearms to weather any culinary storm.
Try out this metal wok shovel and see what it can offer!
Metal Steam Rack or Steam Basket
If you love your dim sums at yum cha or just prefer to be a little healthier, you can’t skip on owning some sort of steaming appliance.
Steam racks are used to hold plates of food above boiling water and allow steam to gently cook the ingredients. It’s particularly handy if you’ve done some marinating in a heat-proof dish and don’t want to transfer the contents.
Steam baskets work in a similar fashion, except they’re designed for steaming separate items such as dim sums. I’ve used our metal steam basket to satisfy my wonton cravings!
I’m an avid fan of yum cha and have always loved seeing the bamboo steamers piled head high as they’re being carted around on trolleys because it means one thing: more food!
Bamboo steamers never go out of fashion because you can steam multiple dishes at the same time while still retaining its freshness. It goes hand-on-hand with any wok. You only need to fill the wok with water about 5cm (or 2 inches) high and place the bamboo steamer in for a highly nutritious and clean-tasting meal!
Foldable Dish Plate Clip Tongs
There have been many times when I’ve nearly burnt myself trying to take a piping hot dish out of the steamer. Luckily for me, stainless steel foldable dish plate clip tongs (what a mouthful!) were invented. Instead of using your bare hands or a cloth, these tongs are a steamer’s best friend. They clip around the dish and will hold it steady enough for you to pull out. I haven’t thanked my one from saving me from those near accidents enough!
The last time I visited Hong Kong, I fell in love with their fragrant claypot rice. There’s something about a claypot that just locks in all the innate ingredient flavours and amplifies them while cooking.
My family also adore rice that’s slightly crispy from intense heat and there’s nothing better at making that than a good ol’ claypot. We don’t use it often, but it’s ideal for keeping dishes hot for extended periods of time or for that classic claypot rice.
The claypot linked is actually a Korean one, but it has a very high rating and will achieve the same goal as any other claypot.
I’ve mentioned using colanders throughout almost every recipe to date. Hands down, it is one of our MOST used kitchen tools because we Chinese and Vietnamese love our aromatic herbs and a colander is the best way to keep them clean and dry.
Our family own numerous plastic colanders in many sizes (you just never know which one you’ll need), but I find metal colanders are the easiest to clean. Very recently, I discovered this adjustable basket colander that can be placed over the sink’s edges. It definitely has Grandma’s tick of approval.
Mesh Spider Strainer
You won’t need any other knife once you have a cleaver. It’s my personal favourite for many reasons: you can slice, dice, mince, chop, flatten, scoop and scrape with just one tool. Chinese chefs are also cleaver users, so that’s saying something.
Size doesn’t even matter with a cleaver! I’ve finely chopped spring onions and diced large meat slabs with no other utensil.
Mortar and Pestle
There are some flavours that can only be unearthed with a quick pounding. That’s where a mortar and pestle set come in handy. It’s the ideal tool to crush or grind spices and will work wonders for dehydrated ingredients like the ones used in our Wonton Egg Noodle Soup recipe.
Thai and Laotian cuisines call for bigger mortar and pestles for their salads that have larger ingredients such as tomatoes, but our family is happy with our smaller one for the occasion spice crushing.
I hope this page helps you fulfill your cooking adventures for Chinese and Vietnamese food! Happy cooking!