Cooking Chinese food is simple when you have the right cooking utensils. For most Chinese food recipes, you will need at least two basic utensils, the wok and a slatted spoon that is specifically designed for using with a wok. You may also add a bamboo steamer to your utensil for a complete set of Chinese cooking utensils.
A wok looks much like a basic pot, or a large bowl. The shape of the wok allows foods to cook quickly, so make sure that you pay close attention to your foods while they are cooking. Unlike a frying pan or a pot, foods can overcook in a matter of minutes in a wok.
Although the Chinese cooking recipes do give approximate cooking times, you should be careful the first few times that you use your wok. These cooking times are not always accurate, since each heat source can be slightly different from the next. Woks are best used on gas stoves, since the heat is easily adjusted, but you can also use woks on an electric stove if you are know how to adjust the temperature quickly.
Woks can be used for steaming, deep frying or stir frying your foods. For deep frying, it is best to use an oil that can take high heats without burning. Most Chinese recipes will tell you which kind of oil you need for best results.
Bamboo steamers are also a staple in Chinese cooking. Bamboo steamers are excellent for steaming foods, including vegetable and Chinese dumplings. To use the steamer, you need to fill your wok with enough water for the entire cooking process and then allow the water to boil. Once the water is steaming, you add the bamboo steamer, with the food already arranged on the tray, to the wok.
Obviously, the steamer needs to sit above the water while you cook. If you have added too much water, then you will need to remove some of it before you begin using the steamer. Also, you can line the tray of the steamer with cage or lettuce leaves to prevent the Chinese food from sticking to the tray.
The type of recipe that you are making can help you decide whether you use cabbage or lettuce leaves. If the taste of cage or lettuce is not something that you like, you can also use foil with small holes placed through the material.