Cooking Asian Food At Home: 5 Utensils You Need
From humble beginnings in remote oriental villages, Asian food is now one of the world’s most renowned culinary styles. Bowls of spice-infused Asian goodness are commonplace across the globe, whether filled with steamed rice and seafood or crispy duck and vegetables.
Surprisingly, these tantalisingly tasty dishes are easier to make than you might at first think – you just need the right equipment. Without further ado, here are five cooking utensils you need if you want to start cooking Asian food at home.
Rice is a fundamental part of Asian cuisine and as such it’s important to make it right. If it’s too soggy or undercooked, your meal could easily be ruined. Sushi, for example, is one Asian dish that often depends on quality rice. When making sushi, make sure that the rice is dry, but not burnt. A rice cooker is an easy way to get the rice just right. Simply follow the included instructions for the ideal water-to-rice ratio, press a button and then wait. In half an hour or so, you’ll have perfectly cooked rice.
Many Asian dishes are one-pot wonders. When you’re cooking pad thai, green curry or fried rice, you’ll usually have to add all the ingredients into one pot – a feat that your average frying pan simply can’t handle. To avoid making a colossal mess, you’ll want the depth provided by a wok.
Woks are shaped like large bowls, so you can easily throw ingredients into the bowl and toss around the contents, showing off your cooking skills. Add vegetables, meats and whatever else your recipe calls for – just be careful not to flip the contents of the wok too vigorously, as nobody wants dinner served fresh from the kitchen floor.
For a true Asian experience, you’ll need a pair of chopsticks. Chopsticks have been used in parts of Eastern Asia for over thousands of years and continue to be a huge part of food culture there.
They do, however, take a bit of practice to use, and some dishes are easier to eat with chopsticks than others. Rice-based dishes are particularly hard, but noodles-based ones are less challenging. If you’re hosting a dinner party, why not give each guest a pair and let everyone try using them to eat their meal. If nothing else, it’ll be good entertainment and a talking point for later!
Mortar & Pestle
From spicy chillies to lemongrass and Thai basil, Asian cuisine is full of flavour. Unlike Western cooks who chop their ingredients, Asian chefs typically release the flavour from ingredients by pounding them with a mortar and pestle. This helps to break down the ingredients, which creates a stronger flavour and finer texture. You’ll be surprised at the results – we certainly were!
Steaming is one of the main methods used in Asian cooking. A bamboo steamer is perfect for cooking lighter ingredients as it protects their texture and delicate flavour. Steaming food is also healthier than boiling it, as the ingredients aren’t soaked in water, so crucial nutrients don't seep into the boiling water. Bamboo steamers are a healthy and efficient way to cook vegetables, fish, crabs and even dumplings.