Cooking Utensils That You Need
In this section, we will recommend the utensils that you will need to prepare our recipes. We like to keep our kitchen tools to the minimum so that there are less to buy, less to clean and store. We hope you do not have to buy new utensil but if you are currently using any non-stick pots and pans, we recommend you not to use them. The chemicals used to make them have recently been linked to a number of health ailments, including infertility, high cholesterol, and thyroid problems.
1. Stainless Steel Soup Pot
Typical Chinese cooking uses large clay pot for making soup. It is supposed to be most healthy and the soup will taste original without any foreign taste added from the pot. However, clay pot is very delicate and they can crack and break easily. This can be dangerous and not very practical. But clay pot is necessary when you are making recipes which are using vinegar as the main ingredients. It is because vinegar will chemically react with metal which is not good for taste and health. The alternative is to use glass pot.
We recommend using high quality stainless steel pot to prepare our recipes. It is durable and the heat distribution is good. If you can get stainless steel pot with an aluminum-plated bottom, the heat distribution will be even better and will help to save electricity/gas. The other reason for using stainless steel pot is that you can put the whole pot in cold water to cool the soup down immediately after cooking to get ready for refrigeration. You can even put the whole pot in the fridge. For soups that cook with meat especially chicken, duck, ribs or mutton, even the meat had been blanched before cooking; there will still be fat coming out during the cooking. The best way to skim all the fat away from soup is to refrigerate the soup so that the fat can solidify on top like a layer of butter and you can remove it easily.
This soup pot can also be used to make congee or soup base desserts.
2. Slow Cooker
Most nutritional soups that cook with herbs and hardy root vegetables require 2 to 3 hours of slow simmering. The long hours of cooking could be inconvenient to many people especially for those who don’t have the time. In this case, slow cooker is good for the job. You just need to start the soup going in a soup pot over high heat for 15 to 30 minutes and then transfer the cooking to a slow cooker to finish the job. You can set the timer to turn off the cooking when the time is up which means you can even put the soup on before you go to bed and have the soup ready in the morning.
Using slow cooker is especially good for delicate recipes that use expensive ingredients and you don’t want the soup to evaporate too much during cooking. This is a good alternative to steaming soup which requires a lot of work and attention.
3. Tea Cooking Pot
We have many recipes for making herbal tea. Some use a lot of ingredients and some use less. For those recipes that use more, you can use the same stainless steel soup pot for the cooking. For recipes that use only a few herbs, you can use a small stainless steel pot with lid that has small holes for stream to get out so that the water will not boil over so easily. It is best to use traditional Chinese medicine tea pot made of clay or electric clay pot for the cooking. But for practical reason, stainless steel pot is just fine.
4. Skillet or Wok
There are recipes that need to brown meat, stir-fry vegetables or pan-fry fish. We recommend using cast iron skillet/wok or aluminum with ceramic coating because they can transmit heat quickly.
Cast iron skillet or wok has to be treated every time after use but they can be cleaned fairly easily. They are not meant for moist heat cooking such as sautéing which may make foods taste metallic. They are only meant for dry heat and fast cooking.
Cast iron wok also works well for steaming food. By putting food on a plate and raising it above water in a wok by using a stainless steel stand, you can steam almost any dishes as long as you keep adding hot water to the bottom to prevent burning.
Ceramic coating cookware is best for cooking any white food such as egg and they are most healthy with no leaking of any substance from the cookware. They are also non-stick and can be used for moist heat cooking.
If you are currently using a high quality stainless steel wok or skillet that is working well for you, there is no need to make any change.
5. Stewing pot/Dutch oven
For braising or stewing meat or cooking beans, you need a good quality stainless steel pot or Dutch oven which can distribute heat evenly to prevent burning easily at the bottom. Enamel-coated cast iron pot or Dutch oven is good for this type of cooking.
6. Rice cooker
Rice cooker is a good investment because they usually can last for 10 to 20 years without any problem if you use it properly. It makes rice cooking a no-brainer and many modern rice cookers can even make congee as well. We highly recommend you to have one to make more whole grain rice as a part of your regular meal so that you can cut down eating refined carbohydrates such as bread and pasta which can make you fat easily.