Are you, like many people, attracted to the possibility of cooking delicious and healthy Chinese meals at home? What do you need, besides the recipe, the ingredients and your kitchen?
Well woks have been the mainstay of Chinese cuisine for centuries; in fact, more than 3000 years of use in China. If you don’t have one, is a wok necessary? Highly desirable, but not really essential, would be my point of view. However, a wok has numerous advantages. It requires much less oil and distributes heat much more evenly than a skillet. And the unique concave shape of a wok makes tossing out during stir frying easier. Along with the fact that you can also use the wok as a simple frying pan every day and a deep fryer if you like.
Other equipment that is also not essential, but desirable includes:
A wok lid. Which can be dome-shaped or flat roof. It should be able to fit on the top of the wok. And the lid should be high enough to ensure that it allows the wok to be used in the desired amounts.
A spatula. Which is used to stir and dispose of food Needs to have a long handle, for obvious reasons! And it can be made of metal or wood; the latter is especially desirable for nonstick pans and pans.
In ladle . It is used to add broth, in addition to other seasonings. A ladle can also be used to measure other ingredients to add.
A knife. It is especially important to cut and slice before food preparation. Having bite-sized chunks allows you to eat your food with chopsticks. It also reduces cooking time by increasing the amount of surface exposed to heat. And it allows a greater absorption of sauces and flavors. Although Chinese blades often seem to be able to cut bones, do not use blades for this as it can damage them. Although traditionally made from carbon steel, it can rust and add a metal flavor. It is best to get a stainless steel knife. The flat end can also be used as a hand.
A steaming basket. This is a round basket that can hold food floating on boiling water. Bamboo baskets are generally better than metal ones, as bamboo absorbs moisture and allows steam to circulate. Dripping water from metal can reduce the taste of food.
Ring holder. A ring holder can stabilize the wok. These generally have open sides for gas stoves and closed sides for electric ones. If your wok has a conical stand, use it so that the wide side is facing up for electric stoves and the other side is facing up for gas stoves.
Shelf. It is usually a semicircle and can be used to keep food warm.
Skimmer. A skimmer is an implement made of wire mesh. Usually with a long bamboo handle (although rarely also metal). It is used to remove foods such as noodles, dumplings and wontons, as well as foods fried in boiling water or oil.
Thermometer. Useful to ensure that the proper temperature has been reached during frying. It is essential that the bulb does not touch the bottom of the wok.
Whisk. used to clean the wok.
Flip flops. It is used to remove and move food.
If you buy a wok, it may make sense to get accessories at the same time that you can get a discount.