Find out which special utensils you’ll need on hand during cooking.
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16 May 2013 - 2:19 PM  UPDATED 29 Apr 2015 - 4:02 PM

Kitchen scissors

Vietnamese home cooks and chefs use heavy-duty kitchen scissors the way Western chefs use knieves. Helpful for everything from jointing chickens to thinly slicing herbs without bruising them.

 

Wok

A versatile round-bottomed pan that is primarily identified with cooking stir fries, but can also be used to deep fry, braise, stew, smoke or make soup.

 

Cleaver

Although a little daunting at first a cleaver is extremely useful. It will easily chop through bones when cutting a chicken or duck into portions, and is good for chopping vegetables. The flat side easily squashes garlic cloves ready for mincing.

 

Bamboo steamer

Essential for steaming dim sum, vegetables, fish etc. Food to be cooked is placed on a plate in the steamer and then sat inside a wok over simmering water. Available in many sizes that can stack on top of one another.

 

Mortar and pestle

Essential for grinding and pounding herbs, seeds and spices and making pastes. Food processors can generally be used as a quicker, easier alternative, if less authentic. 

 

Cleaver

Although a little daunting at first a cleaver is extremely useful. It will easily chop through bones when cutting a chicken or duck into portions, and is good for chopping vegetables. The flat side easily squashes garlic cloves ready for mincing.

 

Bamboo steamer

Essential for steaming dim sum, vegetables, fish etc. Food to be cooked is placed on a plate in the steamer and then sat inside a wok over simmering water. Available in many sizes that can stack on top of one another.

 

Claypots

Many braised Vietnamese dishes are cooked in claypots. These can usually be found cheaply in Asian grocery stores. A clay pot is a primitive but efficient piece of equipment. When used for cooking, a clay pot distributes heat evenly. When presented at the table it maintains heat much longer than a regular serving bowl. The clay pot is often used for caramelising and braising as it gives the ingredients an earthy dimension, imparting smoky aromas. Before using a clay pot, be sure to submerge it in cold water for 24 hours. This will ensure that the clay pot does not crack when put on direct heat.

 

Mandoline (plastic food slicer)                                                                     

Very handy for making Vietnamese salads and pickles as it can be used to finely grate or thinly slice large quantities of ingredients consistently.

Vietnamese essentials
Key ingredients: Vietnamese
Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients and fresh herbs. These will help you achieve authentic flavours in your cooking.
About Vietnamese food
Vietnamese food is one of the most varied and seductive on the planet – a delicious mix of the food of its colonial visitors and age-old native flavours and techniques. Many forces of climate, trade, history and immigration have influenced Vietnamese cuisine.