Chinese cooking equipment reviewed and compared
Do you want to know what the best Chinese Cooking Equipment is and what you are going to need to create an amazing authentic Chinese banquet in the comfort of your own home?
I like various types of international cuisine and food however my favourite is Chinese and Far Eastern. There is something about Chinese spices, Chinese flavours and Chinese recipes which is simply mouth watering. I love rice, I love noodles, I love vegetables and I love small pieces of different meats. I guess I just love Chinese food.
Replicating authentic Chinese meals is difficult however it is possible to do at home, but you do need the right equipment and tools otherwise you are going to struggle somewhat. In fact, if you haven't got the right Chinese cooking equipment and tools there is no way you can replicate authentic Chinese dishes, even if you have all the proper ingredients.
This article focuses on the essential Chinese cooking equipment and describes everything you need to replicate your favourite Chinese meals in the comfort of your own home.
Chinese cooking equipment - Wok
As any person to name a piece of Chinese cooking equipment and nine out of ten will instantly say the wok. The humble wok is the symbol of Chinese cuisine and when you consider the fact most Chinese recipe books have a wok on the front cover it is easy to see why.
If you want to cook authentic Chinese meals a wok is an essential piece of kit. Many people would argue any non-stick pan/frying pan will suffice but this simply isn't true. A wok is specifically shaped to enable the base to get extremely hot very quickly and this is essential for stir frying. Stir frying requires a lot of heat, which many people fail to appreciate, and this heat is best achieved with a wok. The wok is also shaped so it requires less oil for frying.
The best woks are made out of iron or carbon steel, both materials which are not only good heat conductors but also heat up evenly. Fortunately, both iron and carbon steel are relatively inexpensive so they won't break the bank. You can also buy woks made out of copper, stainless steel and aluminium, however I recommend you stay away from these and purchase an rion or carbon steel wok instead.
If your wok doesn't have a non-stick coating you have to remember to season the wok before you first use it. Seasoning removes the preservative oil wok manufacturers put on the wok to stop it going rusty and puts a coating of cooking oil on the wok instead.
When you buy a wok it doesn't matter if It has a non-stick coating or not, you just have to remember that non-stick is a lot easier to clean and requires less scrubbing.
14 inch Iron Pow Wok
If you want a bullet proof wok you can heat up to ridiculously high temperatures for stir frying and making other popular Chinese dishes the iron Pow Wok is the wok for you. This wok is made out of iron, which is a great heat conductor. This wok has a rounded bottom which makes sure it heats up quickly and also retains its heat for perfect cooking.
This wok may not be the prettiest of woks available but then it is so good its looks really don't matter. In order to get the most out of the iron Pow Wok and ensure it is non-stick it requires seasoning at least three times before use. Even though the seasoning process is a chore it is well worth it as once the iron Pow wok is fully seasoned it is totally non-stick.
Given the toughness and durability of this wok it is very cheap and will provide many years service, which makes it great value for money. It is an awesome wok and one well worth looking in to.
Panasonic SR-G06FG 3.3 Cup Rice Cooker
Rice is a staple ingredient of many Chinese dishes therefore a rice cooker is an essential piece of Chinese cooking equipment. You may argue that you only eat fried rice but even this has to be be boiled and pre-cooked before going anywhere near the wok.
My favourite type of rice cooker is the electric rice cooker. I appreciate it isn't very traditional but it does make cooking rice quicker, easier and I think the results are way better. Before I bought an electric rice cooker my rice tended to be starchy and sticky a lot of the time, which isn't too good. When I cook rice in my electric rice cooker the rice is soft, light and fluffy which is great. There is definitely a knack in boiling soft and fluffy rice and I haven't got it which is why I use an electric rice cooker. All I need to do is add the amount of rice as stated in the recipe book, add the right amount of water as stated in the recipe book and let the rice cooker work its magic.
There are several brands and models of electric rice cooker available however my rice cooker of choice is the Panasonic SR-G06FG 3.3. cup model, which I chose for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted a small rice cooker as I don't cook loads of the stuff in a single session and the 3.3 cup size is perfect for my needs. Secondly, it is made by Panasonic which are a well known and respected manufacturer of top quality products. Overall, I have to say I am very impressed with my electric rice cooker and I strongly recommend it.
For light and fluffy rice like this I would always use my electric rice cooker
Stainless steel rice ball
If you prefer to boil the rice yourself a rice ball is an excellent gadget. Simply fill the rice ball with the desired quantity of rice and then submerge it in a pan of boiling water. When the rice is cooked you simply pull the rice ball out of the pan, shake it a few times and serve. With a rice ball you won't have any rice stuck to the bottom of the pan and you won't get any
grains of rice in the plug hole when straining the rice. It really is a great product.
Aroma AWK -160SB Pasta Plus Water Kettle and Noodle Cooker
Noodles are another staple ingredient used in Chinese cuisine therefore another essential piece of Chinese cooking equipment is a noodle cooker. Cooking noodles properly is actually quite difficult. Simply boiling them often leads to a
starchy mess which isn't tasty at all. Cooking perfect noodles is definitely a skill, and unfortunately it is one I don't possess.
Fortunately, there is an electric noodle cooker that cooks my noodles perfectly each and every time, which is the Aroma AWK-160SB kettle/cooker. This product can be used as a kettle and this cooker is also advertised as a pasta and noodles cooker. Whilst it can be used for all of these things the only reason I bought this product was to cook noodles, and it does this very well. All you have to do is add the noodles, add the water and let the machine do its work.
The Aroma AWK is tough, durable and very well built. The quality is very good, especially given the price. If you want to get perfectly cooked noodles, that aren't sludgy and sticky, each and every time the Aroma AWK will help.
Chinese cooking equipment - Deep fat fryer
There are many Chinese dishes and meals that are deep fried, and popular dishes include things like prawn toast, wontons and crispy beef to name just a few. Traditional Chinese chefs will deep fry Chinese food in a wok however this isn't really practical when cooking Chinese cuisine at home.
Deep frying in a wok can be dangerous, besides you need to keep your wok free for cooking other parts of the meal unless you have multiple woks of course.
A safer and, in my opinion much more practical way to deep fry Chinese dishes to use a deep fat fryer. There are several different types of deep fat fryers available however the open types seem to work best in my experience. When cooking Chinese food you don't need a huge deep fat fryer and one of the small to medium sized ones will be plenty big enough for most Chinese meals.
T-Fal FR7008002 Ultimate EZ Clean 3.3 liter Stainless Steel Fryer
Whilst many Chinese dishes have deep fried foods the quantity is usually quite small therefore you don't need a huge deep fat fryer. Similarly, you don't need a double basket fryer either. There are plenty of single deep fat fryers available, most of which are very good. Personally, I recommend the
T-Fal EZ clean fryer for a few reasons.
Firstly, this fryer is made by T-Fal, which is a well known manufacturer of quality products. If you buy a T-Fal product you can be sure it is going to be tough, durable, well made and well up to the task it is designed for.
Secondly, this fryer has an automatic filtering system, which makes it quick and easy to clean after use. You can put the entire fryer in to the dishwasher if you want, and have a large enough dishwasher of course.
Thirdly, this fryer had plenty of good reviews which is always a bonus. There are, of course some reviews that are not so good but this is to be expected. Overall, there were more positive reviews than negative so I thought I would give this fryer a punt and boy am I glad I did.
Mini spring rolls - my favourite Chinese starter but you need a deep fat fryer for them!
Chinese Cusine - Chinese Cook Books
If you want to cook some authentic Chinese meals you are going to need some Chinese food cook books. For some of the best, and most popular, check out the books below:
Easy Chinese RecipesBUY NOW
Stir Frying to the Sky's EdgeBUY NOW
The Wisdom of the Chinese KitchenBUY NOW
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