Essential Asian cooking utensils for authentic Southeast Asian cooking

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You'll be able to taste the difference

Is your kitchen fully kitted out? Even if it isn’t, having the right Asian cooking utensils and essentials will help cover most quintessential Asian dishes. Here are our 7 essential items all kitchens need.

7 Asian cooking utensils and essentials

1. Cast-iron Wok 

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This is where the magic happens. Because this is a versatile kitchen tool, all your frying, braising, and poaching goes on here. Western kitchens will need a lot of pots and pans to achieve the same result. Yet none come close to getting the same flavours.

If your wok has a round shape, it’ll need a wok ring to hold it. The unique shape allows you to move food around the wok with ease. And the cast-iron lets you cook food at a higher temperature compared to non-stick pans. On the other hand, if it has a flat bottom then you can cook on an electric stove.

2. Wok spatula and ladle

Wok spatulas are perfect to cook with your cast-iron wok. They are slightly curved at the end to allow you to scoop up food from the deep base. And the ladle is essential to pour sauce or scoop a bowl of soup into a bowl. These are undeniably important Asian cooking utensils everyone needs to own.

3. Cleaver

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Many might associate a cleaver with butchers. But no Asian kitchen is without a cleaver. As far as Asian cooking utensils go, these are a staple in Southeast Asian kitchens. People like to buy and prepare their meat themselves. The cleaver allows you to break up bigger chunks of meat like ribs or chicken into smaller pieces. They might seem intimidating at first, but you’ll grow to love it!

And you’ll normally find the cleaver on top of…

4. Heavy-duty chopping board

You’ll need a firm base to break your meat apart. Normally a solid wooden chopping board is used. And even if this doesn’t feel like part of the Asian cooking utensils, you’ll find it makes a big difference in how you prepare your food.

5. Pestle and mortar

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If we’re speaking about preparation, then having a pestle and mortar in your Asian cooking utensils toolkit is essential. Spices and herbs are ground in order to release their true flavours. While other people try to replace the humble pestle and mortar with technology, you just can’t replicate the same depth of flavour with things like blenders.

6. Bamboo steamers

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You’ll recognise bamboo steamers in Chinese restaurants that serve dim sum. Although you might not have considered owning some, they’re extremely handy to have in your Asian cooking utensils collection.

Because the bamboo absorbs a lot of the condensation, food is cooked without getting soggy. And you can cook anything you can fit in there! Moreover, you can simultaneously cook several items by stacking the steamers!

7. Bamboo strainers

The bamboo strainer is really useful when you want to do some deep-frying. The strainer picks up a lot more food than a wok spatula. And they can also be used to blanch vegetables and noodles.