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chopsticks as cooking utensils

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  • ctl98 Jan 11, 2007 07:56 PM
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I keep several pairs of long plastic chopsticks together with all my cooking paraphernalia. They're so useful! I use them to pick up olives, pickles and other things in tall jars. They can be used to mix small amounts of sauces and batters. They can be used for flipping things in the oven. Basically, for almost anything I use tongs for, I can use chopsticks. And they take up so little space and are so easy to clean. I even have the japanese cooking ones for deep frying purposes. Anyone else do this?

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  1. I have a Japanese tempura pot that came with a pair of long cooking chop sticks. I find I use them many times when deep frying. Never thought about using them to get items out of a jar however.

    1. I've never tried this (though I have a million pairs)--what a fantastic idea! Thanks for the tip!

      1. I'm good with chopsticks at a sushi or Asian restaurant, but I'm hesitant to say that I'm as proficient with them as I am with tongs - especially when flipping over hot items in an oven. Good for you though, I wish I had the ability!

        1. In my family, we used chopsticks for a lot of cooking tasks. They're particularly good for turning delicate things like frying bacon strips. Used them to scramble eggs, and to stir them around in the frying pan, too.

          There's a type of Japanese tongs made of bamboo that are also good for more delicate tasks: http://www.fantes.com/images/4482tong...

          1. Aeons ago I recall Julia Child (who once lived in China) extolling the uses of chopsticks in the kitchen. IIRC, she specifically talked about retrieving a string bean from its blanching water to test its degree of doneness....

            1 Reply
            1. re: fauchon

              ... and spaghetti and noodles as well!

            2. I couldn't get along in the kitchen without chopsticks, and have pairs in lengths from about 5" (originally my kids' training chopsticks) to some that are almost two feet long. Varying thicknesses, too...I have a pair that are practically like drumsticks (musical, not chicken legs). The cooking chopsticks are all wood (mostly bamboo), tho...no plastic.

              8 Replies
              1. re: ricepad

                Wood has a better grip than plastic. I don't own any plastic chopsticks.

                ricepad, how do you use those big chopsticks? And what for?

                1. re: DebL

                  Both the long ones and the fat ones are for making tempura (which I almost NEVER do these days). The fat ones are for drizzling extra batter on items already frying, which makes the delicate lacy patterns. The long ones are to turn and retrieve items from the oil.

                  1. re: ricepad

                    LOL! They may have been made for tempura, but they work for lots of other things, too! Only don't put them in the dishwasher--the glue they use at the top is eventually water soluble (ask me how I know!).

                    1. re: DebL

                      Glue? What glue? Ain't no glue on my chopsticks. Just wood. Well, the long ones have a cotton string, too.

                      1. re: ricepad

                        Mine has a cotton string too. Well, I sould say had because that string is gone now...

                        1. re: ricepad

                          Glue on the tongs. It's two pieces of bamboo, glued at the top. I lost the cotton strings on the chopsticks a looong time ago. I don't even know what the purpose of it all was.

                          1. re: DebL

                            Ah...I see. I don't have any of those. Never mind.

                    2. re: DebL

                      Many years ago, I took some cooking classes at the China Institute in NYC. The instructor used wooden chopsticks for stir-frying. I have a pair with slightly burned tips that I use for that purpose too. Thanks for reminding me of all their other uses. I've gotten away from that.

                  2. for stirring coffee and tea so we don't use every spoon in the house.
                    actually stirring anything on the stove
                    grabbing small amounts of condiments out of jars
                    grabbing one thing out of a pot when it's hot - better than tongs
                    poking through foil and plastic seals in packaging
                    they make great back scratchers right here by my computer...
                    great for eating anything when you are on a diet because you eat more slowly
                    great for working in the garden, planting seeds
                    held tulips upright in a vase yesterday
                    keep a jar full on the kitchen counter and grab them for a new use every day

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MakingSense

                      Long ones to "roll" boiled eggs as they cook to help center the yolk.

                      Short disposable ones for canned sardines, and for ragu'ed spaghetti.

                      Back Scratcher... yes... but that toolkit is augmented with an unsharpened new pencil. The 90 degree face, rather than tapered, is awesome.

                    2. definitely, for fishing around in the deep fryer, but much more often for digging things out of the toaster that probably should not have gone in there in the first place. (don't really want to stick a metal fork into the toaster...)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CapnPrep

                        I have flat wooden tongs purchased in Chinatown years & years ago for about 35 cents & use them every morning for extracting toast from the toaster...I think these work even better than chopsticks because the flat area is wider & gets a better purchase on toast...

                      2. Those do sound useful, but they count as cheating in this thread! If I only made toast, I wouldn't need any tools. My problem is, I'm more likely to shove leftover falafels and fried cheese etc. in there, gets a little messy...

                        1. Chopsticks are a staple cooking tool for me. I use bamboo - heat resistent, durable, and no slivers. They are also inexpensive, so if they get burned, or marred in any way, there is always another pair at the ready. Also, you can get the longer ones for deep frying and bbq turning.

                          1. The bamboo chopsticks can be used on non-stick surfaces.
                            In my kitchen there are clearly different chopsticks for cooking and for eating with.