Chinese Cooking Utensils

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The following lists a few cooking utensils which the Chinese normally use in their kitchens. If they are not available to you in the same specifications, do not hesitate to use substitutes which you find meet the purpose.

1) The round-bottomed fry pan or wok as it is known among overseas Chinese communities, is made either of aluminum or stainless steel or just iron. It is generally 30 cm (or about 10") in diameter, 10 cm (4") deep at the center, and with a long wooden handle fitted into its socket. Some pans, instead of the single handle, have two annular handles fitted on the sides.

2) The cooking ladle is usually used when one stir-fries things in the above pan. Made of either aluminum or steel or iron, it has a bowl 9 cm (3.1/2") in diameter and 3.5 cm (1.1/4") deep at the center and, with its long handle, has a total length of some 35 cm (14").

3) The steaming pot or steamer, generally made of aluminum, consists of three parts - the pot, the rack and the cover. It is available in China in three sizes. The pot is like a barrel in shape and, for a medium-sized one, 31 cm (12") in diameter and 22 cm (8.1/2") in depth. The perforated rack or tray is of a size that just fits into the pot, about 9 cm (3.1/2") from the bottom. The domed cover is slightly larger than the pot and sits tight on it by means of a dented groove near its rim; on top, it has a small air hole and wooden button-handle at the center.

4) For the kitchen knife, there is a choice of a range of varieties. The type commonly used in a Chinese kitchen is rectangular in shape, about 20X11 cm (or 8"X4"), with a handle 10 cm (4") long. The blade is slightly curved out in the middle, and the blunt back is 0.4 cm (about 1/8") thick.

5) The earthenware pot or casserole is made of pottery clay, available in China in a series of sizes. Its side view is a truncated cone with the smaller end at the bottom. A medium-sized clay pot will measure 26 cm (10") in diameter on top and 16 cm (5") at the bottom. The pot has a top border 3 cm wide, with a 0.3 cm raised inner rim, on which to set the lid, bringing its total height to about 12 cm (4.1/2"). The domed cover has a baked-on cylindrical handle at the center with a small air hole on the side.

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