Home cooking has become ever more popular as the COVID-19 regulations governing just where we can go to enjoy some great meals have started to impact on the restaurant experience. People have grown tired of the home delivery option and are now starting to explore the wonders of preparing healthy and nutritious meals in their own kitchens.
One of the types of regional cuisines that is gaining a huge following among home chefs is Japanese cuisine – and for very good reason. The states are clean, the food is healthy and even though slightly exotic are already familiar to most of us. but there are some pieces of specialized cookware that are required to make the preparation of Japanese food easier and the end result more authentic – here are seven examples of the cookware that every home chef needs to properly explore the tastes and wonder of this Asian cuisine.
1. Great Knives
Japanese knifemakers have a global reputation for excellence. For the home chef, there are a number of choices when it comes to types of Japanese knives. However, if one has to spend that little bit extra on quality and is limited to a single type then the Santoku style knife is a great choice due to its versatility. It can be used to prepare meat or vegetables. The Deba Bocho style knife is a great choice for those preparing seafood. It is excellent when it comes to filleting fish.
2. A Rice Mixing Tub.
It may come as a surprise but preparing the many varieties of rice that are used in Japanese cuisine is not the same as preparing the normal rice that is used primarily in Western cusine. The Japanese rice mixing tub is known as a ‘Hangiri’. The prepared rice is spread on the Hangiri and gently mixed using a traditional wooden rice spatula (the Shamoji) – this avoids damaging the rice. The Hangiri also preserves warm rice for a longer period.
3. Cooking Chopsticks.
For westerners mastering the art of eating with chopsticks can take a bit of practice – but there are also a type of chopstick known as saibashi which are used to ensure that food does not burn when using hot oil. These can be bigger and longer than the chopsticks used for eating – and if the truth be known may not be absolutely essential, but if you are going for that authentic Japanese cooking experience they are nice to have. They are usually supplied unglazed – however, there are types with metal ends and wood handles.
4. A Great Wok.
Japanese woks are inspired by their Chinese counterparts and are incredibly useful in cooking a variety of dishes. You could conceivably use an ordinary pan, but the wok will allow for far better management of the ingredients being used. Some of the best are made from carbon steel and offer surprisingly good value for money.
5. A Breakfast Skillet.
There is a wonderful style of Japanese omelette known as the Tamagoyaki. Unlike western-style omelets, this is made by rolling thin layers of the egg in the pan. These omelets are an essential part of Japanese cuisine and are especially popular in Bento boxes. The deep rectangular Tamagoyaki style skillet has been specifically designed to offer a superior cooking experience and a great end result.
6. A Mesh Strainer.
Mesh strainers are among the most useful cookware items for those who are exploring the Japanese cooking experience at home. Stainless steel mesh strainers are used for cooking and draining noodles and for scoping assorted cooked ingredients out of boiling water. In a pinch, they can also be sued for sifting flour or tea. Keep a lookout for those types with the two small ‘hands’ on either side which allow the strainer to be easily placed on bowls or pots.
7. Mortar and Pestle.
Japanese mortar and pestle sets are absolutely essential pieces of kitchen equipment. They typically feature grooves and are available in a number of sizes. The most authentic types are made using wood from either the Japanese pepper tree or the prickly ash.
Japanese cuisine is well worth exploring. It is healthy and nutritious and finding those authentic ingredients can be an adventure in itself. Having the right Japanese cookware can increase the joy of the home cooking experience. The above are only seven of the essential tools every home cook interested in Japanese cuisine should there are many others, and choosing the best is part of the fun.