Woks are fantastic tools for cooking Chinese food. However, to properly use a wok, professional Chinese Chef will often use certain utensils. These tools make stir frying, tossing, cleaning and ladling a lot easier. Look up any Chinese cooking video and you will see them use it. Unfortunately, most videos dont explain what they are and what they are used for. This article will list some of the Best Utensils for Wok used by Chinese Chef.
Best Utensils for Wok List
Below, you will find a list of the Best Utensils for Wok. They work in tandem with stir frying, tossing and cleaning. Unlike western utensils, they have reach and are designed specifically for woks.
Wok Spatula and Ladle
Wok Spatula is a must have if you intend to stir fry and toss food. They let you toss food and scrap the side of the wok with ease. Usually the end will be slightly curved to fit the contour of the wok. Unlike a chop stick, you can stir a huge amount of food with little to no effort. These can also be used to break up pieces of mince meat.
Ladles are great for scooping and measuring sauces. Chinese chef will usually have a station full of condiments that they use to scoop ingredients. This lets the chef cook quickly and efficiently. The ladle and the spatula work together. Instead of a traditional tong, you can use both of them to hold food together. Perfect for when you are plating the food.
There are quite a few different version on the market. The traditional and best model are the spun steel version. They can take a seasoning and is generally more durable then the stainless steel model. Unfortunately, they are not as common anymore. The best alternative are the full iron models. Try to get one that is made from a solid piece of metal for durability.
Some also have a wooden end, they are great if you plan on cooking for hours. They wont get hot and you ultimately dont have to think about it. But most Chinese Chef just get an all metal model.
Out of all the models out there, I find that this Traditional spatula and ladle is the most traditional. It is made of iron and has a solid metal handle. This way you do not have to worry about rivets or screws coming loose. The iron construction will also take a nonstick coating. The ends of the handle is also open so that it can dissipate heat. There is no wood handle to break down. This model features a generous 15.8 inch in length. Try not get one that is shorter, those forces you to get too close to the heat.
Wok Utensils Long Chopsticks
Sometimes there are situation where the woks and ladle are not practical. For example, fishing food from a deep fry will often carry a lot of oil. By using a long chopstick, you can allow it to drain. Not only that, grabbing noodles are a lot more efficient than a ladle. You can also turn individual pieces of food a lot better. Since woks are generally very large, you should also get one that is quite long. This way you have more reach and safety from hot oil.
When choosing a chopstick, I prefer one with a relatively wide front tip. This lets you grab more food and pluck it efficiently. Those thin Japanese one are difficult to use unless you have perfect chopstick technique.
I recommend the model made by Donxote. It is long at 16.5 inch and uses real wood. The tip is wide and great for easy grabbing.
Spider Strainer are great for when you deep fry or boil food. What most people dont know is that most Chinese food is deep fried initially and then drain. For heavier object, most chef will use two of these strainer. I recommend that you get one with a bamboo or wooden handle so that it doesn’t get hot.
I recommend the one made by Helen Chen, they are designed more like a traditional Chinese Strainer. They come in various size, but I recommend you get a 5 and 7 inch for variety.
Wok Brush for Cleaning aka Stiff Rattan
Ever wonder what the broom is doing in a Chinese Wok? Its so that chef can quickly clean the wok between cooking. Since Chef are constantly switching from boiling, stirfrying and deep frying, they need to be able to clean it quickly. They cant always bring out a sponge to deep clean. These Wok Brush or Ratten is used in between cooking for a quick clean. They will get rid of any debris that is stuck onto the wok.
While the average home cook might not need it, if you plan on switching from dish to dish, then its recommended. This lets you cook a lot quicker and you dont have to return to the sink in between dish. Any generic brush should work, most are made out of bamboo. There are varying length for this. The shorter one are more stiff and can generally take off more stuck food better.
Squeeze Bottle For Oil
Squeeze Bottle arent just for mustard, they can be used to store and disperse oil. While most chef have a vat of oil out in the open, most home cook wont use that. Its a waste and can get contanimated easily. To solve this, you can use a squeeze bottle. You have a lot more control over the flow of oil and you can use it to spray a ring of oil. You can also use this in regular cooking, its an all around good tool to have.
Wok Utensils Bamboo Steamer
Bamboo Steamer is often used to steam food. They use it to steam vegetables, dimsum and even baos. The basket will often sit on top of a small body of water. Then the steam will travel upward cooking the food. Chef will often time use a lid to trap the steam in. Bamboos are generally the preferred choice for this task. They can trap moisture so that water does not drip down onto the food. Although the restaurant usually use stainless steel for general durability.
If you intend of steaming food or just trying to prevent oil splatter, a lid is a great utensils. While there are many variety, try to get one with a plastic or wooden handle. They are easy to use and you do not have to worry about burning yourself. I recommend getting a domed version, this way you can fit more basket in it. The wooden one are nice to look at but you are missing a lot of vertical space when you use it.
Best Utensils for Wok Thoughts
These are some of the Best Utensils for Woks. While this list might seem a lot, if you intend to be a serious wok user, they are a must. The most important would be the spatula and ladle, but in my opinion, you should get all of them. They really do make things easier. If you think of some other great wok utensils, please leave a comment below.
Looking for a Wok? Maybe try out the Lodge Cast Iron Wok. Our review lets you know when its one of the best for the home kitchen.