Every cooking cuisine has its own cooking equipment particular to them and Chinese cooking is no different. The cooking equipment can be used for other cuisines but makes the food more authentic in taste and presentation.
What Essential Items Do You Need For Chinese Cooking
This is a list of basic equipment that you would need for your Chinese cooking journey. Just the essential basics to get you started, and then everything else.
The Traditional Chinese Wok
These are made from carbon steel and need seasoning before using. once seasoned correctly they are never washed in soap and water. The seasoning of the wok makes it non stick and can withstand high temperatures.
There are now non stick woks available, choose the size according to your needs. If you are cooking for one a small wok will suffice, cooking for a family get a large wok.
A lid also comes in handy for retain heat.
Not essential as any good knife will do but the Chinese use it to great effect because of its weight and size. You can easily cut through bone and cartilage because of the weight. It is also used to scoop up the chopped ingredients to transfer to the wok.
Chinese Bamboo Steamer
If you intend to make some classic dim sum then you will need a traditional Chinese bamboo steamer basket. It is also used for steaming fish, cakes, desserts, rice and vegetables.
A healthy way to cook is steaming the food locking in nutrients.
A good cutting board is essential in Chinese cookery, especially if you’re using a Chinese cleaver. All the ingredients are prepared in traditional Chinese cooking even before heating the wok. All the ingredients need to be cut to similar sizes so they cook quickly and evenly
Not essential but it does help move the ingredients around and stop anything from burning. It is shaped to fit the contour of the wok exactly and also helps serving the food.
A wooden spoon will do but it’s not quite Chinese cooking is it. These are also made from steel so if you don’t have a carbon steel wok then get a plastic/bamboo shovel so you do not damage your non stick wok
Thats all the basic equipment that you would need to start cooking Chinese. Of course there are other pieces of cooking equipment but not essential, let’s have a look at what else the Chinese use to cook.
Additional Chinese Cooking Equipment
A rice cooker is an electric cooking utensil that is used for pressure boiling or steaming rice, and other things. Chinese people, especially in southern China, prefer to eat rice as their staple food. They use a rice cooker almost every day. The best egg fried rice is made from steamed rice that is a day old, cook the rice and then just store in the fridge. (3 days max) I find it gives you a better texture once some of the moisture has gone.
Pressure cookers are used for cooking food faster than conventional cooking methods. Some are electric and some use heat from a hob. Pressure cookers can be used to cook many things, including rice, porridge, and spare rib stew.
The bamboo wok brush is an important Chinese cooking utensil to clean the wok effectively, which is especially useful when using woks that are made of sticky materials. The wok brush can properly clean the wok without needing any detergents, while at the same time won’t ruin the wok’s surface.
There are two versions of Chinese ladles, and the first one is called tngsháo. It is mainly used for serving soup or stew from a stewing pot, wok, or slow cooker. They can be made from various materials from stainless steel, aluminum, silver, plastic, and even wood/bamboo.
Chinese Scoop Strainer
A Chinese scoop strainer, as the name suggests, is mainly used for straining foods from the surrounding liquids (water, broth, or even oil). It is an important tool in Chinese cooking, and is very convenient to lift a fried fish after it is deep-fried or also to remove noodles, wontons, dumplings, and various dishes from boiling water
Clay Pot / Earthen Pot
The clay pot is a very important utensil in Chinese cooking, with so many clay pot dishes in Chinese cuisine. The clay pots have been around for many centuries and will produce a unique flavor for the dishes cooked in it due to the alkaline nature of the clay. Claw neutralizes the acidity of the food, and so the clay pot acts as a natural sweetener.
The mandoline slicer is a very useful cooking utensil to cut and slice various foods and ingredients in a much faster and convenient way. You can easily slice foods in various thicknesses depending on the needs of the dishes with the mandoline and is essential in various Chinese dishes especially for dishes that are stir-fried.
Long cooking chopsticks are used to manipulate foods and ingredients during boiling or frying, but also to pick up cooked foods that are already cooked from a hot stew pot or wok. The cooking chopsticks are longer than the typical Chinese eating chopsticks and can reach more than 12 inches
A stockpot, is used to make homemade stock which is used in various braised and stewed dishes, among other Chinese cuisines. Also used to make master stocks which are used to flavour other dishes. Foods poached or braised in the master stock are generally referred to as lou mei.
Chinese Rolling Pin
The rolling pin is very important in making Chinese buns, but is also useful in kneading bread, making noodles, dumplings, and all kinds of cakes. There are various rolling pins with various length and thickness, and each of them has different uses.