Many recipes contain little known facts and tips that new learners may not be aware of and the importance of buying and using the right equipment for getting the perfect flavoring is one of them. For Oriental cuisine such as Chinese cooking, the importance of making the meals in the right Chinese cooking utensils cannot be emphasized more than simply stating that when cooking in the traditionally used cookware, the true nutrients and flavors are released from the ingredients, giving an authentic Oriental tang to the food!
The main concept behind the distinct taste to Chinese cooking is the right combination of all ingredients used in the recipes, chopping and preparing them right and then cooking the food in a certain preferred method in the proper Chinese cooking utensils. The US fortunately has no dearth of shops where one can purchase the many varieties of traditional Chinese cookware and thus, putting together an authentic Chinese meal is an easy and tasteful task!
1. Wok :
Among the most popularly used and multipurpose kitchen vessels used for Chinese cooking is the wok, which has a pan-like shape to it, much like a big, hollow and curved dish. The wok is generally used for deep-frying, shallow frying or stir-frying, steaming, sauteing and for making stews and though traditionally, it was constructed out of heavy iron or steel, newer materials are being used to make woks today, most of which come fitted with a handle on either side.
In the olden days, Woks were also made of clay or mud, were round-bottomed and so they fit perfectly over the conventional cooking unit. Due to the rounded bottom, the Wok ensured all the foodstuff was cooked just right as it got uniform heat spread over its bottom. The present day Wok (made of stainless-steel and fitted with flat copper bottoms) is also intended to rest securely on the cooking range and comes fitted with one long handle; they are light-weight and thus easier to use as compared to the double handled variants.
2. Chinese Spatula : There is something called the Chinese spatula, a great cooking support tool ideal for low-oil cooking, such as stir frying. Its bowl edge has a rounded shape to it for fitting in better into the pan for easier and faster stirring even for generous amounts of food! The Chinese spatula is mostly used for shredding garlic, chopping vegetables into subtle shapes and cracking fresh water chestnuts and besides this handy Chinese cooking tool, authentic Chinese chefs are partial to using cleavers made of high carbon steel (gives a sharp edge for cutting) for cutting meat if a meat-grinder is not available.
3. Bamboo Steamer : A bamboo steamer is the next important piece of Chinese cooking utensils that double up as a serving tray; typically placed over hot water in a wok, it encourages food to get cooked by steam at the same time. The broad, flat, wire mesh with a long bamboo handle is also used for taking out deep-fried or boiled food from a dish and the Chinese clay pots are regarded as the eastern variety of the US casserole dish, used for stove-top cooking. Its construction ensures food stays hot for long periods and maintains its flavor!
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