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Keeping It Simple: A Talk with Martin Yan by Kris Man


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Whether included with your wok or purchased separately, a few traditional accessories can make wok cooking more efficient and enjoyable.


With its shovel - shaped blade that hugs the curves of the wok, the wok spatula is perfect for stir-frying and scooping food out of the traditional steel wok. The long handle keeps you from stir-frying your fingertips. It's fun to toss food around with a clanging Chinese spatula, but if you don't have one, an ordinary wooden or plastic one will do the trick.


This one, you know. Chinese ladles are typically a little shallower than Western ones because they're designed to match the curve or the wok. You can use a Chinese ladle as a companion to the spatula for stir-frying or for scooping liquids and cooked foods into and out of the wok.


Extra-long wooden chopsticks are another helpful tool for wok cooking. Use them for frying foods to separate boiling noodles, and to snatch bits of food from the wok for tasting.


The high, dome-shaped or slope-sided wok lid lets you turn the wok into a braising pot or smoker and creates a natural convection when used for steaming. If your wok didn't come with a lid, look for one that's slightly smaller in diameter than the wok, so it sits solidly just below the wok's rim.


This is the Chinese version of the Western slotted spoon, but bigger - normally 6 to 8 inches across - and shallower. It's most often used for fishing food out of hot oil or boiling water. The kind most commonly sold in the U.S. is a flat wooden or bamboo slot with a brass wire mesh basket at one end.



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