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Wok Tools – What Do You Use?


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I've had these wok tools ever since purchasing my first wok some 40 + years ago:

 

IMG_4086.thumb.jpeg.4de4cad6ca26372440a0fd5ddd1484b8.jpeg

 

14" long, maybe they are cast iron or carbon steel. The wooden handles came loose 39+ years ago, but surprisingly have never been lost. Now that I've resuscitated a wok (not my first one) and am using it frequently, I really like the sound these tools make when stir frying.

 

I wish I could decipher the hieroglyphics inside the bowl of the ladle...

 

IMG_4087.thumb.jpeg.75906c73a96614a18dd68403fb6aa06e.jpeg

 

IMG_4088.thumb.jpeg.76c90eb7287fd3fdbe534f466769362d.jpeg

 

Anyone still using these tools?

 

And Grace Young (amongst others) has her opinions about the shovel...

 

Quote

 If you use wood for stir-frying meat, fish, rice, and noodles, your food is likely to stick because the wood is too thick to get under your ingredients. In my opinion, the only time a wood spatula can be used for stir-frying is for vegetables.

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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1 minute ago, weinoo said:

I've had these wok tools ever since purchasing my first wok some 40 + years ago:

 

IMG_4086.thumb.jpeg.4de4cad6ca26372440a0fd5ddd1484b8.jpeg

 

14" long, maybe they are cast iron or carbon steel. The wooden handles came loose 39+ years ago, but surprisingly have never been lost. Now that I've resuscitated a wok (not my first one) and am using it frequently, I really like the sound these tools make when stir frying.

 

I wish I could decipher the hieroglyphics inside the bowl of the ladle...

 

IMG_4087.thumb.jpeg.75906c73a96614a18dd68403fb6aa06e.jpeg

 

IMG_4088.thumb.jpeg.76c90eb7287fd3fdbe534f466769362d.jpeg

 

Anyone still using these tools?

 

And Grace Young (amongst others) has her opinions about the shovel...

 

 

 

I use the wok sled all the time.  I can't read all of your hieroglyphics, but the middle says Hong Kong.

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I use a wok spatula I've had for years, but almost every professional Chinese cooking video I've seen, they're using the ladle, so wondering what the major differences are apart from the obvious (that the ladle can hold liquid)

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11 minutes ago, Hassouni said:

I use a wok spatula I've had for years, but almost every professional Chinese cooking video I've seen, they're using the ladle, so wondering what the major differences are apart from the obvious (that the ladle can hold liquid)

I've always seen the ladle used, especially as it's great for dipping into various mise en place concoctions, used for sauces, gravies, thickening, etc.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Just now, weinoo said:

I've always seen the ladle used, especially as it's great for dipping into various mise en place concoctions, used for sauces, gravies, thickening, etc.

for my mise, I usually put separate piles on a small plate, then use the sled to push each pile into the wok as needed.  BTW, speaking of wok, I just got a relatively inexpensive 240V 3500W induction hob.  It's not that controllable, but from the little I've used it so far (I've stir fried some morning glory and some bok choy), it's great with my carbon steel wok.  I can get a great sear and char on things, then turn it down so it doesn't light the whole place on fire....

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Just now, KennethT said:

for my mise, I usually put separate piles on a small plate, then use the sled to push each pile into the wok as needed.  BTW, speaking of wok, I just got a relatively inexpensive 240V 3500W induction hob.  It's not that controllable, but from the little I've used it so far (I've stir fried some morning glory and some bok choy), it's great with my carbon steel wok.  I can get a great sear and char on things, then turn it down so it doesn't light the whole place on fire....

 

Oh yeah, of course. I was referring to the ladle usage in a professional kitchen in a Chinese restaurant. Such as:

 

 

In your new building, you're able to use 240V stuff?

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Hassouni said:

I use a wok spatula I've had for years, but almost every professional Chinese cooking video I've seen, they're using the ladle, so wondering what the major differences are apart from the obvious (that the ladle can hold liquid)

 

Yes, restaurant chefs and cooks more often use ladles (勺子 - sháo zi), but it's important to remember that home cooking and restaurant cooking are very different in many ways. Home cooks usually use wok spatulas / scoops (铲子 - chǎn zi) Never heard of a 'sled' in that meaning before!

I use both scoops and ladles, but I'm a show off. I have the 30 inch scoop and a similar size ladle, but they are just for fun / decoration. I've never  cooked with them at home. Only in a restaurant. Photos maybe tomorrow.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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I use the Wok Shovel/Spatula all of the time when I cook in my wok. No ladle, though I have seen it being used in Chinese cooking videos (in restaurant kitchens mostly).

I also have a spider to help scoop fried things out of the oil in the wok.

My cheap-o five dollar sheet-metal wok is finally getting some good "wok hei".

As Mitch mentioned with his tools, the wood handle on my wok is a little loose but the wok still works great on my stove's electric coil burners (which I despise).

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51 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

I use the spatula.  It is easy to use and with it’s plastic handle goes in the dishwasher.

 

Plastic wouldn't last three minutes near my wok. I know from bitter experience!

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Here are my main tools of wokery.

 

20210507_092537.thumb.jpg.417465822ffe368a134476ba5d163b20.jpg

Ladle (勺子 - sháo zi), scoop / spatula (铲子 - chǎn zi),drainer/ sieve ( 笊篱 - zhào li)- one of many.

 

20210507_092729.thumb.jpg.b0b1b495c5a6c49859c6c66bf7ff39c4.jpg

Cooking chopsticks (长筷 - cháng kuài), strainer (漏勺 - lòu sháo), fish lifter/turner

 

20210507_092924.thumb.jpg.5aeaab57dd781c3708e6a2dd3a369b16.jpg

bamboo strainer, plate lifter, steamer stand*

 

*goes in the wok, plate of food on top for steaming.  plate lifter to remove hot plate when food is ready.

Missing is my bamboo wok brush (炊帚 - chuī zhou. Threw it away a couple of days ago, but haven't yet replaced it. Maybe later today.

 

 

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, KennethT said:

@liuzhou What is the difference between cooking and eating chopsticks? I assume they're longer - but a different material? What about tongs?

 

Yes, length. The cooking chopstics below are 16½ inches / 42 cm long, as opposed to the regular eating chopsticks at 9½ / 24.

 

20210507_105213.thumb.jpg.8b7d459e8df288246df8cfa2da4b7b81.jpg

 

I do have tongs but never use them in the wok for some reason. More used in skillets.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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I use three tools for stir fry in the wok. First I make a spicy oil with garlic, ginger and dry red chiles, so I need a slotted spoon strainer similar to the one @liuzhou shows above to remove and toss the sizzling crispies before the garlic colors. Then I use a large utility spoon to put some of the oil into a small bowl to be added as needed. The real work is done by the long handled scoop/shovel.

 

I don't have a ladle for the wok. It seems like that would be most useful for large quantities that are portioned out. Since we are only two people it's easy enough to pour/ slide/push the finished dish into a serving bowl.

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2 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

It seems like that would be most useful for large quantities that are portioned out.

 

It would, but food is seldom portioned out in China - at home or in restaurants. We are 100% into family style dining, even when there are just two of us. Damn it! Even when it's just me.

But of course, there are no rules! Use your wok the way that works most efficently and comfortably for you!

 

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9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Forgot the essential wok lid - also used when steaming.

 

20210507_101141.thumb.jpg.b710599d54d2f8741c72e7f99554563b.jpg

 

 

 

 

I have pretty much the exact same lid.  But I remember my first wok's lid was solid (aluminum I'm sure, with a wooden knob handle atop); it had no window into what was going on. Are these a fairly recent innovation?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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44 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

I have pretty much the exact same lid.  But I remember my first wok's lid was solid (aluminum I'm sure, with a wooden knob handle atop); it had no window into what was going on. Are these a fairly recent innovation?

My recently purchased wok came with a solid aluminum lid with wooden knob...  not that I've used the cover yet... lately, anything that needs steaming gets done in the CSO

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One question for wok users about braising things - one of the curries I make has tamarind in it, which is acidic.  I'm concerned about cooking this dish in my well seasoned carbon steel wok because I'm nervous that the acid will break down my seasoning and A) make me have to reseason every time I make that dish and B) will taint my curry with dissolved seasoning!  Are my concerns unfounded?

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50 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

I have pretty much the exact same lid.  But I remember my first wok's lid was solid (aluminum I'm sure, with a wooden knob handle atop); it had no window into what was going on. Are these a fairly recent innovation?

 

Yes.

 

It didn't come with the wok. I bought it separately. In fact, woks seldom come with lids here.

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4 minutes ago, KennethT said:

One question for wok users about braising things - one of the curries I make has tamarind in it, which is acidic.  I'm concerned about cooking this dish in my well seasoned carbon steel wok because I'm nervous that the acid will break down my seasoning and A) make me have to reseason every time I make that dish and B) will taint my curry with dissolved seasoning!  Are my concerns unfounded?

 

I'd say "Yes".

I often make curries in my woks and have never had a problem. Also, some Chinese dishes can be rather acidic - especially when I make them!

 

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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1 minute ago, liuzhou said:

 

I'd say "Yes".

I often make curries in my woks and have never had a problem. Also, some Chinese dishes can be rather acidic - especially when I make them!

 

Thanks.  I'll try it one day and think of you, whether the results are good or bad.... hehe 🤣

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