A takujo konro is a portable gas stove for use at the dining table. A large pot such as a donabe (earthenware casserole) or tetsunabe (iron pot) is placed on top of the stove, and the cooking is done at the table. The stove is fitted with a small, replaceable can of compressed propane gas; each can contains enough gas for three to four hot-pot meals. The stoves are available at Japanese and Chinese stores for a fairly low price, about fifty dollars. If you can not find a Japanese portable gas stove, use any portable gas cookstove approved for indoor use.
Rectangular Omelette Pan
A Japanese omelette is formed from multiple thin layers of cooked beaten egg rolled into a thick cylinder. To make a Japanese omelette, you need a rectangular skillet, about 6 by 7 inches, called a tamagoyaki-ki. The skillet is usually made of iron or heavy aluminum. Today nonstick versions are also available, and many professional chefs use a heavy copper skillet that is coated with tin. A good substitute for a Japanese omelette pan is an 8-inch nonstick skillet.
For stir-frying, the Japanese long ago adopted the traditional, round-bottomed Chinese wok. The most useful size is 14 inches in diameter, and the preferred source of heat is a large gas flame. A real Chinese wok, made of thin iron, is the best buy, although you can substi tute a large skillet or a modern, flat-bottomed Chinese skillet, with gas, electric, or another heat source. When using an iron wok for the first time, you need to season it, to remove the chem
ical coating from the inside and to prevent the wok from rusting:
How To Use Wok
• Place the wok over high heat, and heat it until the entire inner surface changes from dark grey to light bluish grey.
• Rinse the wok undercold tap water and using a hard brush with a little powdered detergent remove the burnt chemicals.
• Fill the wok with water, bring the waterto a boil, and discard it. Wipe the wok dry with a paper towel.
• Add Vs cup vegetable oil. Heat the oil until it is almost smoking. Gently swirl the wok to coat the entire inner surface with oil. Be careful not to let the oil catch fire. Discard the oil.
• Fill the wok with water again, and bring it to a boil. Discard the water. Repeat this process two more times. Wipe the wok dry with a paper towel.
• Add 3 tablespoons fresh vegetable oil to the wok, spread the oil over the entire inner surface, and wipe off the excess. Now the wok is ready to use.
Steaming, simmering, and grilling techniques are dominant in the Japanese kitchen. To drain off cooking liquid and rinse the cooked foods, a large sieve is indispensable.
The Japanese strainer or sieve, zaru, is a shallow basket made of woven bamboo. The traditional Japanese kitchen contains baskets in various sizes, depths, and shapes, to suit various culinary purposes.
After using a zaru, brush offany food residue under running water, and clean the basket with a little detergent. Letthe basket dry completely before storing it. Western strainers and colanders can of course serve as substitutes for bamboo baskets.