There are many specialized cooking tools, some which are specific for unique Southeast Asian recipes. For this site, I try to keep to basic and essential recipes, which helps ensure that the tools required for cooking them are ones that are easily available almost anywhere in the world.
Here is a glimpse into my kitchen and some of the cooking equipment that I use on a regular basis. While some of my cooking utensils are fairly new, others are decades old, like my wok, which works better and better as it becomes more seasoned.
1. Blender and Pestle & Mortar
The Old vs. the New! I use both for blending but find the blender easier to use, especially when making a big batch of marinade using herbs like lemon grass and galangal.
I prefer the ones made from stainless steel – they last longer. Beware of poor quality imitations made of chrome – they tend to rust in humid weather.
3. Knives and Chopping Boards
At some stage you may need to get a chopper, but you can make do with the knives that you have got for now.
4. Pots and Pans
The pot in the top right hand corner of the photo is a double boiler. It is made up of two pots – the lower section is for water only, and the top section is for the soup. With the double boiler, the soup pot is never in contact with the flame but rather is heated by the boiling water. This gentle and slow way of cooking produces nutritious and delicious soups.
5. Rice Cooker
This is an indispensable item in every Asian household. Since rice, as a staple food for Southeast Asians, is eaten at almost every meal, it is not uncommon to find a rice cooker in all Southeast Asian homes. It doesn’t take much effort to cook rice in an electric rice cooker and newer models can also be used to cook congee and bake cakes.
There are many types of steamers, including metal layers that fit one on top of another and heat up over a flame and electric ones, but I much prefer using these old-fashioned bamboo steamers.
7. Gas Stove on Low Table
My preference has always been to use gas cooking for stir-fries. This is essential to obtain a big enough flame for the intense ‘fire’ flavor or ‘wok hei’ (in the Cantonese dialect), which the Chinese attribute to the ‘omph’ in a dish. For ergonomic reasons, I chose a low table so that the handle of the wok is comfortably at my waist level.