Szechuan Kitchen Essentials
One needs to pick up some common kitchen tools along with a few specialized ones to set up a Szechuan kitchen. Here is a reference guide to provide information about Szechuan kitchen essentials.
The list of tools that are must haves in a Szechuan kitchen is as follows:
A wok or a frying pan can be used to bake, dry roast, fry, boil, steam, brew, and braise food. It is usually made up of steel and aluminum these days. It is highly recommended to use a carbon steel Wok that has a round bottom. Also, such a Wok needs to be seasoned before being put to use. These usually come with a steel ring to hold the Wok in place while cooking.
A Cleaver can be used for many purposes in Szechuan cooking. One can mince garlic (an essential ingredient of Szechuan food), cut vegetables into thin beautiful shapes and to peel fresh water chestnuts. Of course, for those who would not prefer to do it the traditional way, you could buy a meat grinder from the market to suffice the need.
It is a long, flat, and wired tool that is used to segregate solids from liquids like noodles from boiling water or deep-fried foods from oil. A 6 inches diameter Strainer can be used in a Szechuan kitchen to cook the wanton dumplings you deeply crave for. A smaller version of the strainer called the hotpot strainer is also used for Szechuan steamboat cooking. Here the food is cooked at the dinner table itself to serve it while it is hot.
Chopsticks can be used for stir-frying, mixing ingredients and eating food as well due to easy maneuverability through the food. The Szechuan way of having food using chopsticks might reflect to be difficult but it is an art nonetheless.
It is a versatile tool used to chop and dice meat and vegetables. The back side of a traditional Szechuan chopper is used to tenderize meat by bashing the meat using it. The wide side of it is used to crush garlic or carry the chopped ingredients to the Wok. A heavy chopper can help chop through bones and a light one can be used for chopping vegetables.
A wooden or acrylic cutting board is most suitable of a Szechuan kitchen where a lot of slicing and chopping happens.
A traditional subtle version of an American casserole, a clay pot defines a Szechuan kitchen. The food in a clay pot is cooked on the stove top. Its major advantage is that due to uniform distribution of heat, the food in a clay pot can stay piping hot for hours together.
Also a rice cooker is quite essential in a Szechuan kitchen since rice is an important part of a Szechuan meal. These absorb the water completely and you don’t need to worry about the rice being overheated once it is put in a rice cooker.
For those of us who like an occasional venture into a different cooking style, you could use common tools in your kitchen to whip up Szechuan cuisines and impress your guests.
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