Tips & Hints
The Wok: practical, but not compulsory
The wok is a wide pan with a strongly curved base. The first woks were made by Chinese people about 2000 years ago and proved to be so practical that the appliance quickly became popular throughout South East Asia. With the international spread of Chinese cuisine, the wok also gained more and more followers in the West.
The wok can be used to fry, blanch, deep-fry and steam while stirring at the same time. Its curved shape allows energy-saving, fast and even heating and cooking. The high side walls prevent ingredients from being stirred beyond the rim. Frying requires less oil: it is sufficient to bring the ingredients to the centre of the pan, where the heat is greatest.
There are two types of wok: the traditional Cantonese shape with two opposite handle-shaped handles, and the Beijing wok, which has a handle over 30 centimetres long. The long handle keeps the wok at a safe distance from hot oil or water.
The Rice Cooker
Preparation of Thai food does not require any special implements, but there is one utensil we would certainly recommend that facilitates the cooking: the rice cooker.
Of course you can also cook your rice in a regular saucepan, but if you've ever experienced the ease of cooking rice in a rice cooker, you won't want to go back! Even first-timers will be able to cook Thai fragrant rice to perfection!
In principle, the rice cooker is nothing more than a metal housing with an integrated electric element and a fitting teflon pan that can be taken out. The basic models come equipped with a measuring cup and a heat-resistant synthetic serving spoon. Some models also supply a basket for steaming, and a stand for boiling eggs.
The rice cooker is plugged into a normal socket. A simple auto-temperature system switches it over from the function "cook" to "keep warm".
Rice cookers are available in department stores, household stores and Asia shops for about CHF 70.-
How to use your Rice Cooker
Generally one measuring cup of rice is calculated per person. Thai tradition is to wash the rice 3 times before cooking, but this can also be done automatically in the rice cooker.
For each cup of rice you take one and a half times as much water. Most rice cookers have water level markings on the inside of the pan. Place the filled pan in the rice cooker, put the lid on and press "cook" (even if the yellow light is already on). The rice cooker will do the rest. You need neither check nor stir!
As soon as the rice is cooked, the cooker will automatically switch to "keep warm". You can now serve the rice, or wait until required. The rice cooker can keep rice warm for several hours without overcooking it.