Check out these 8 stocking stuffers for the Asian cook who has everything or wants to have everything. At these prices, you can keep on giving these gifts year after year for any occasion.
These items are inexpensive, but they work. Plus if they break, they are cheap enough to replace.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking they are poor quality.
These tools work for their intended purpose and are especially well suited for cooking all types of Asian cuisines.
#1 Easy Vegetable Grater ($8)
If you buy anything on this list, make it this one.
Shred carrots, green papaya, green mangos, and any hard vegetable you’d like to cut. Squash or pumpkin perhaps?
When I took cooking classes in Cambodia and Thailand, we used this grater all the time for prepping vegetables.
It works just like a regular vegetable peeler, except it has grooves on the blade that shred the vegetable instead of shaving off wide peels.
It is about a thousand times easier than trying to julienne carrots with a knife.
#2 Scallion Shredder ($6)
You could practice your knife skills to finely shred scallions, but why would you when you have this tool?
Negi is the Japanese word for green onions. This Japanese tool does a find job of handling the green onion garnish that could seemingly be added to every single Asian dish on the planet.
All you have to do is lay the green onion down on a flat surface, hold the white part of the green onion, and run the blade across the green part of the green onion.
You can make the prettiest garnish of green onions for your steamed fish, cold noodles, or ramen bowls.
Bonus tip: Soak the shredded green onion slivers in ice cold water to make curly slivers instead of stick straight ones.
#3 Mandoline Slicer ($15)
A high end mandoline, like the kind used in restaurants, can run upwards of $400. That is fine, if you actually plan to use it frequently. However, you will also need to make sure you sharpen the blade often, just like a knife.
This low end mandoline is great for the some time cook who wants to thin slice ginger, zucchini, or potatoes once in a while.
#4 Spider ($13)
You need a spider for fishing egg rolls out of hot oil or green vegetables out of boiling water, like Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce.
This works especially well for scooping noodles and dumplings, instead of carrying the whole pot of boiling water to the sink and dumping it into a colander, with the ensuing hot steam bath hitting your face.
#5 Chinese Soup Spoons ($17)
No matter what you eat out of these spoons, it just feels more Asian when you do.
In addition, they can double as serving vessels for small bites of appetizers such as hamachi crudo.
For $12, you can get the notched style spoons that will hang onto the rim, so it doesn’t completely fall into the bowl. (Don’t you hate it when that happens?)
#6 Matcha Tea Set ($13)
Whether you drink matcha green tea or cook with it, this is the “authentic” set to have to scoop it and most importantly whisk it into hot water for tea.
Since matcha tea comes in powder form, it must be whisked thoroughly to fully dissolve into liquid. (A fork just doesn’t quite mix the powder into hot water completely.)
This little bamboo whisk greatly helps with that task and also makes it feel more like a true tea ceremony.
#7 Dumpling Press ($9)
Well, this gift may cause some controversy.
But it’s $9, so that may alleviate any horrific thoughts of inauthenticity.
Truth be told, making potstickers from scratch is tragically time consuming.
This dumpling press makes it a wee bit easier, so you don’t have to painstakingly fold your own pleats on each and every single dumpling.
Just lay the premade dumpling/wonton wrapper onto the press, add a scoop of filling, coat the dumpling rim with some water, and fold over the press to seal.
Just try not to overfill the dumpling, so it actually seals.
#8 Bamboo Steamer ($20)
This would be the proper steamer to steam dim sum, even if those dumplings came from the freezer.
This also doubles as a serving vessel, so you can take this steamer basket from stove to table.
The thought that counts
Whether you choose one, two or even something else, it’s the thought and intentionality behind the gift that matters so much more than the price tag.
Happy shopping, gifting, and celebrating your Asian cooking enthusiast!
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