Do you know what this?
It’s a Chinese spider.
Do you have one in your kitchen? You need one.
A Chinese spider (also called a spider) is one of the most-used tools in our kitchen. It’s inexpensive. It takes up little room. And it should be in your kitchen, too.
Yes, I’m recommending you put a spider in your kitchen.
As you might imagine, it’s called a spider because the mesh basket looks like a spider web. It’s called a Chinese spider because this tool is fairly common to Chinese cuisine. It’s only less familiar in American kitchens.
Spiders are the perfect tool for frying. If you are frying chicken for dinner, use a spider to take it out of the oil. You won’t burn your hands. Plus, the oil drips away through the mesh of the spider, meaning less of that oil on your food. The same is true for fried fish and tempura foods.
Our favorite use of the spider, however, is when we make pasta. Rather than draining cooked pasta into a colander, simply remove it from the pot of water with a spider. After a couple of dips, you have all the pasta in a bowl and the hot pasta water in the pot. Leftover pasta water makes a pasta sauce creamy, without any cream. That reserved pasta water is key to our easy gluten-free macaroni and cheese.
Essentially, whenever you need to strain something, reach for the spider.
We own this spider but you can find yours in Asian grocery stores or kitchen supply stores. This might be the most useful tool in our kitchen.
You can find more of Shauna and Danny’s recipes, essays, photographs and words of comfort about living gluten-free at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. Shauna shares food ideas and answers questions on Twitter. She also pins photographs and recipes on Pinterest and Foodily. There’s a great community at the Facebook fan page for Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.