One of the most frequently asked questions by my readers are what kind of rice cooker and wok do I use? And what brands would I recommend for those?
With Christmas approaching, I thought I might share some of my favourite kitchen tools I use day to day in my kitchen, so that you can use this information as your shopping guide or even better request to your family and friends that you want one of these. 😉
After all, Black Friday is just around the corner and I bet most of you are eagerly waiting on the big splash sale to start to upgrade some of your kitchen gadgets right? 🙂 Out of curiosity, do you own any of these tools in your home? If so, which one? Anyway, I hope you find this guide useful!
Cuckoo IH Pressure Rice Cooker : This is my beautiful rice cooker made by Cuckoo. It is an induction heating pressure cooker so it distributes the heat evenly and thoroughly. I’ve owned this one (model number CRP-HYXB1010FB) since June 2013. I actually ordered it from Korea so I’m using it with an Australian power adapter. I had owned a different Cuckoo rice cooker before this as well. You can view the picture from here.
I don’t know all the technical details but what I know is that my rice cooker cooks the most delicious rice. It always gives me rice with just right – nice, fluffy and moist – texture. It’s also very easy to clean inside and outside. (It has an internal steam cleaning function so you can always keep the rice cooker clean even internally!) It is also very sturdy, nothing like the cheap $10 rice cooker you can buy from a supermarket. I keep my rice cooker out permanently on the kitchen bench as I use it everyday (sometimes I use it twice a day!).
It speaks three different languages – Korean, English and Chinese. (I set mine to English so that my husband can cook the rice as well, which is quite handy.) The “only downside” I can think of is the price. I think I paid close to USD $500 for this one but I consider it as an investment as it saves my time and gives me consistently great results (as long as the water to rice ratio is correct). It has many settings so you can not only cook rice, but you can also cook rice porridge, bake cakes and do so much more. Unfortunately I’m just too busy to utilise all the functions it has to offer at present but it’s all there! You can use it as an electric pressure cooker as well. I’ve steam cooked beef dishes with this before.
Cuckoo is by far the most well known rice cooker maker in Korea. They seemed to release a new and improved rice cooker every 6 months, so you should be able to get more advanced models now.
Lodge skillet (10.25 inch & 12 inch) with lid : These are my go to skillets for my everyday cooking. (Basically I use them as my wok.) I love using cast iron pans as they are cheap and easy to maintain. I also do think food tastes better even though it could be a psychological thing! The only downside to using a cast iron skillet for me would be the heavy weight compared to a non-stick pan but I consider it as my arm muscle building opportunity as I normally don’t get to exercise. lol FYI, I use these mainly on my induction cooktop. You don’t have to have a gas burner to use these ones! I’ve been using them for about 6 months now. Before these, I used to use non-stick pans and I got tired of throwing them away every few months when they got scratched. Now I don’t need to worry about throwing my money away anymore!
Also when I bought the skillet I bought the lid as well. I didn’t think I would use it much but surprisingly it is so handy to have a lid that fits perfectly onto a skillet. It’s great for lightly steaming during stir frying and speeding up the cooking. If I were to add a proper wok into my kitchen tool inventory, I will buy a lodge wok as I love their skillets!
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 3-1/2-Quart Round Braiser : This is my favourite braising pan. It heats up slowly and distributes the heat evenly. The food cooks well and keeps the moisture so well without over simmering the sauce. I used this pot in my latest cookbook for the Spicy Braised Mackerel and Radish recipe. It gave me consistently excellent results. It’s also good for Korean style hot pot (e.g. Bulgogi hot pot and Korean army base stew). Recipes for these two will be coming soon.
Victorinox 7-Inch Granton Edge Santoku Knife : I was introduced to this santoku knife about 6 months ago and I love it because it fits my small hand very well. It’s also very versatile and it cuts well of course too! I actually also own a more expensive brand’s (Wusthof) santoku knife but I prefer using the Victorinox one for my cooking. Food just seems slice better and easier with it.
Bamix Mono Hand Mixer : This one was a gift from my husband for mother’s day. Before this I only had a stand alone type mixer – Vitamix, which I also love. But for general cooking (e.g. making Korean BBQ marinade and Kimchi base) I wanted a handheld mixer as it works better than the stand alone type with the food that has little liquid. My husband chose this brand because his grandma and also his mum used it for decades.
6. Mandoline slicer
Swissmar Borner V Power Mandoline, V-7000 : I love using this borner mandoline slicer. It makes julienning so much faster and easier with minimum effort! I had owned other Australian brand mandolin slicers in the past but they were really hopeless in performance, so I gave them away to charity.
7. Kitchen scale
Soehnle Attraction Professional Kitchen Scale : I love measuring things. With this digital kitchen scale, I am able to measure my cooking ingredients accurately. It can measure weight and volume. You can also measure in grams or ounces.
OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Flexible Turner : I think this is one of the best spatulas I’ve tried so far and it’s particularly great when flipping (Korean) pancakes. It’s flexible and can support reasonably heavy pancakes such as Korean seafood pancakes (Haemul Pajeon). It’s also suitable for non-stick pan surfaces.
9. Measuring spoons
OXO Good Grips 6-Piece Measuring Spoon Set : It is very handy to have 6 different size measuring spoons. I particularly love having 1/2 Tbsp and 1/8 tsp. I use all of them all the time. They are dishwasher safe too. Though when I use these for Gochujang (Korean chili paste) or Kimchi I rinse them immediately after use as they can stain the spoon. You can also get these in black from Amazon.
10. Mixing bowl
IKEA Blanda Blank Serving Bowl : These are made with stainless steel and are sturdy and very handy to have. I own a couple of these mixing bowls in different sizes. I use 11 inch (28cm) bowls a lot for making small batches of Kimchi and marinating Korean BBQ meat.