>> Mar 4, 2017
Sushi rolls, ramen, even a hot boll of Peking Soup, are all happily, luckily samples of Asian cuisine that are now staples of the relatively healthy part of the American diet. However, they are also somewhat expensive and sometimes unsafe due to different kitchen safety regulations. The good news though is that you can easily start cooking every one of these dishes tomorrow and all you need, besides the patience of following a recipe step by step, are a few tools that will make your life a little bit easier.
A Small Rice Cooker
Cooking the rice for many of these dishes can be a challenge in itself. As you may know, in traditional sushi restaurants students can spend even 10 years just cooking the rice. But why should you spend that much time learning to cook rice when you can just purchase a small rice cooker and get on with your day. Most rice cookers today will come with preset programs for sushi rice or whole grain rice, and they will have handy measuring cups so you will know just how much water you need to add to how much rice in order to get the perfect result. There are even rice cookers that will help you achieve the perfect risotto, but that would take you into an entirely new different space.
With a rice cooker at hand you can easily start rolling up your favorite vegetables and meats to make the perfect sushi roll. Granted, you may need a sushi rolling mat, and the process itself looks quite intimidating, but it is actually quite simple to do. The real challenge is to get a rice that is sticky and yet light, so that the sushi will not break apart when you pick it up or dip it in the soy sauce. The good news here is that you already have your handy kitchen expert assistant cooking the rice for you.
A Sushi Knife
If you have ever looked into buying a sushi knife you will know that they are notorious for 2 things: they are as sharp as they are expensive. That is why there are 2 things you should consider before you decide whether to buy one or not. First of all, there is the undeniable fact that a sushi knife is simply better, sharper, more comfortable to use, than any other knife on the market. It is an excellent tool for preparing sushi because it will allow you to cut the slices of fish so that they will look glossy, perfectly marbled and, oh, so delicious. But you can also use it to chop vegetables, file chicken and have it as an all round kitchen knife. In that case you will need to sharpen it more often so that it will maintain its edge, but there are numerous easy to use tools for that.
As far as the price of a good quality sushi knife is concerned, you would be right in assuming that it will cost more than your average kitchen knife. But, you would be wrong to thing that it is that much more expensive than a chef’s knife, which is, in fact the category you should be comparing it to. Granted there are sushi knives that run into hundreds of dollars, but there are some that are way below the 50 dollars mark. They do need a little bit more care and attention when storing and sharpening, but they are just as good and just as effective.
A Mandoline Slicer
Finally, you should consider a mandoline slicer. It will definitely come in handy for American cooking as well, but you simply cannot even start considering a good Peking soup, or garnishing for spring rolls without one. Interestingly enough the more expensive mandoline slicers do not have all the accessories you would expect, because they were designed to be used with Asian foods in mind. So be sure to consider all of your options and take into consideration all the types of cooking you are planning to do. For pure Asian cooking you should definitely go with one of the more expensive mandoline slicers that use Japanese steel in the blades because they will retain their sharpness for much longer. However, if you think that you may want to julienne some vegetables for a salad at some point, you may want to go with a German or American made mandoline slicer.
Whichever way your fancies take you, the good news is that you can get the entry level for all of these tools for less than a hundred dollars. The high end versions can definitely run into hundreds of dollars on their own, but if you are just now starting to dabble into Asian recipes, there is no point in spending that much money. First learn to use the kitchen tools and to enjoy the cooking and then you can move up to buying the more expensive versions.