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You might be raising your eyebrows at the thought of using a Chinese spider strainer in the kitchen. The spider strainer is actually a rather handy utensil that is used quite commonly in Asian, and is an especially useful tool for cooking up delicious Chinese food. A wide, shallow, mesh-wire contraption with a long, wooden handle, the Chinese spider strainer is used for removing food from boiling water or piping hot oil.
But with large sieves and strainers easily available, you might wonder if a spider strainer is a real asset in the kitchen. Here are some advantages to using one when cooking your favourite Chinese food.
Spider strainers are great while cooking small pieces of food in very hot oil or broth. If you use a slotted spoon, for instance, most of the food gets left behind in the pot or wok. Spiders, because of their larger surface area, let you scoop large amounts at once.
Spider strainers are also sturdier than a fine mesh sieve, allowing you to poach a whole chicken or deep fry a whole fish with ease. As a opposed to using a pair of tongs, a spider will help you delicately lift up your chicken or fish without damaging it at all.
The long handle on a spider strainer also saves your hand from getting burnt while cooking Chinese food. Gone are the days of getting splattered with hot oil and scalded by hot water. The spider strainer acts as a basket, helping you to lower your food into the water or oil without risk of it splashing and potentially burning you.
This utensil is available in different shape. If you’re using a large pot, you can opt for a more curved spider strainer, so it can scoop out larger quantities of food. If you’re using a flat wok, you can go for a flatter spider strainer that’s better suited for the shape of the wok.
Caring for your Chinese spider strainer is no different from other kitchen utensils; wash it well with soapy water should do the trick. However, before dipping it into hot oil, just make sure it’s fully dry. Hot oil and water do not mix well.
The Chinese spider strainer is a handy tool in every kitchen. It’s easy to use, and easily available to buy online or in Asian cookware stores.