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Cookbooks and Tools to Master Chinese Cooking

Make a lunar new year’s resolution to learn more about one of the rich, diverse cuisines of China. These cookbooks and tools–some of our editors’ and contributors’ favorites–will put you well on your way.

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    Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge

    Grace Young’s book is an epic, must-cook-from guide to an ancient Chinese way of cooking. With a gentle, authoritative voice, Young leads readers through the basics of choosing a wok, seasoning it, and the many subtleties of cooking with it. Through recipes from Chinese cooks living across the globe, she reveals how one simple vessel and age-old techniques have sustained a people on the move.

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    Wok of Ages

    “Round-bottom woks are meant for cooking over hearth stoves, where flames engulf the bottom of the wok,” says Young. “But Western-style stoves can’t achieve this level of heat,” so a flat-bottom wok is better suited for American home kitchens. Young's pick: this 14-inch carbon-steel flat-bottom wok. “Carbon steel heats and cools quickly, and it develops a nonstick patina the more you cook in it. The wooden handle stays cool so you don’t need a pot holder to pick it up.”

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    Put a Cork Under It

    “After discovering cork cutting boards, I’ll never go back to plastic or wood,” says Young. “They don’t slide around on the counter while you’re cutting. They’re antimicrobial and antifungal, and the cork has a nice cushiony feeling, which is important because Chinese recipes often require a lot of knife work.”

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    A Versatile Knife Sharpener

    A manual knife sharpener is an easy way to keep your knives at their best, but most of them don’t allow you to adjust the blade angle. Asian knives need to be sharpened at a 15-degree angle (as opposed to 20 degrees for Western knives). The Chef’s Choice Pronto Pro manual sharpener has an Asian setting as well as a European/American setting), so you can sharpen your entire knife collection to the ideal angle.

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    Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking

    Author Eileen Yin-Fei Lo has worked a miracle here, taking a vast, great, and complicated cuisine and breaking it down into approachable lessons. She teaches basic cooking techniques, like stir-frying, steaming, poaching, barbecuing, and preparing noodles, offering just a handful of recipes for you to practice and perfect before you progress to the next technique.

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    Steam it Up

    These stackable bamboo steamers are lightweight and fit perfectly inside a 14-inch wok. They’re designed for steaming everything from dumplings to fish, but once you have them in your kitchen they’ll likely become your go-to steamer.

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    Get Prepped

    With stir-frying, there's no stopping if you forgot to peel your shrimp. Ideally you want to line up all your ingredients next to the stove before you begin heating your wok. These recycled coconut bowls are perfect for holding large amounts of ingredients like vegetables or meat.

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    Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking

    If you’ve wanted to cook authentic Chinese food but have felt a little put off by unfamiliar ingredients or techniques, then run, don’t walk, to buy this book.

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    Chopsticks for Cooking

    “When I deep-fry food in a wok, I find that I have better control with chopsticks than I do with tongs or a spatula,” says Young. But these aren’t ordinary eating chopsticks; their extra length (16-1/2 inches) keep your hands safely away from the hot oil while you fry.

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