23 Jan2007

chinoise1

This somewhat unusual conical stainless steel strainer is called a chinoise, or a chinois if yours happens to be male. I am not sure why it is called that (sometimes it is translated into “China Cap”) and although I am sure I have read it somewhere before, I am not so curious that I would spend hours researching the matter. The easy guess is that it somehow evoked in some cook’s mind the fact that it looked like a Chinese person’s hat or cap, though that would seem to indicate a more traditional wire mesh strainer that looks more like a half melon rather than a conical strainer. At any rate, this is one cooking item that may eventually have a name change for politically correct reasons. I happen to think it is very elegant to call it a chinoise, but that is just me. My chinoise is quite large with a diameter at the mouth of the strainer of at least 10 inches. Some models feature a screen mesh but mine is simply made of stainless steel and has tiny perforated holes for the soup, stock, sauces, etc. to filter through. It has clips to latch onto the side of stockpot and by virtue of its length, it is obviously for use in deep large pots…

I don’t recall where I purchased mine but they are common in kitchen stores chinoise2such as Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma and my favorite in France, Dehillerin in Paris. Ask most classically trained chefs and they will wax poetic about their chinoise. The chinoise also comes with a wooden pestle of sorts that you can use to mash the solids in the strainer to extract the maximum amount of juice/essence/flavor. I can’t find my wooden thingee at the moment…hmmm, I wonder where that disappeared to. Now many of you may think this is one of those useless, redundant pieces of kitchen and food related equipment such as fish knives, grape scissors, etc., but I have to say it is extremely useful when making stock and the bones, meats, vegetables are extremely bulky and heavy. A well-made chinoise is far sturdier than say a standard wire mesh strainer and can handle some serious mashing or pressure, if necessary. I love mine.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Maria Clara says:

    The use of it in the kitchen is versatile – from straining broth to custard or frangipane for filtering citrus zests or lumps. It is one of the French chef inventions designed for one man’s job. No one needs to hold it while pouring. Chefs favor it as opposed to screen strainer for obvious reason – no migration of the wire screen and heavier construction. When you want to get most out of the food you pass through it you can use the wooden stomper to extract and when done you bang it in the thrash to get rid of the filtered materials and still in one piece. It is a good kitchen investment – last forever with regular wear and tear.

    Jan 23, 2007 | 6:42 am

     
  2. joey says:

    I love your gadgets posts and I don’t think their useless! Especially this one as I have started making my own stock. That looks like a great thing to have! Yes, I still use my regular strainer and I think it, uh, feels the strain…as do I because I can’t strain the stock all in one go. Do you know if these things are available here?

    Jan 23, 2007 | 9:29 am

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Joey, I haven’t seen a chinoise in the malls here but I suspect they are for sale in Manila as restaurants MUST have them… like in Quiapo at the restaurant supplies area (I have never been there myself). Abroad, the good chinoises are about USD30, but the bigger pain is getting it home…

    Jan 23, 2007 | 9:48 am

     
  4. Anne says:

    this is a really handy kitchen tool and quite sturdy too. I remember using this to make big batches of soup when I was still working in a hotel.

    Jan 23, 2007 | 10:06 am

     
  5. tulip says:

    I have seen a chinoise before in Megamall not so sure if they still have it but Marketman is correct, it can be found in Quiapo. Last time I saw it, it comes in different sizes but not as sturdy as the ones available in the US. The quality had changed over the years. Those who sells chafing dish have it.

    Jan 23, 2007 | 2:29 pm

     
  6. Mandy says:

    and that chinoise is better than a regular strainer bec it’s shape is like a funnel so the stuff getting strained out will “shoot” into the pot, rather than the other stuff getting out in the edge of the strainer. :)

    Jan 23, 2007 | 5:47 pm

     
  7. sister says:

    Where is your chinoise stand? It’s very handy to have, leaves your hands free will the liquid drains. One is good for every size of chinoise.

    Jan 23, 2007 | 8:50 pm

     
  8. wil-b cariaga says:

    sure this is very useful in the kitchen, better than just using a strainer, saves more time. . .

    Jan 24, 2007 | 11:04 am

     
  9. kiko says:

    mm im waiting for your blog for today, im that addicted. pls post soon

    Jan 24, 2007 | 3:46 pm

     
  10. edee says:

    kiko, you’re not the only one…..

    Jan 24, 2007 | 11:23 pm

     
  11. amor says:

    MM, siguro busy ka… wa may bag ong post… Unta soon… :)

    Jan 25, 2007 | 8:51 am

     
  12. NYCMama says:

    Have a chinois, and love it, very useful. Hubby bought it but I am not sure it cost $30, much less I think. I always thought it was called a chinois, just cause the Chinese always have this kind of strainer (Not stainless steel, maybe rattan?) for straining their noodles, like in the wonton houses that serve nothing much but soup/noodles/wontons/condiments? Thought maybe the French named it the chinois after they saw the chinese use their rattan(?) ones. (Just one of the many stories I make up myself about the origins of things.)

    Jan 25, 2007 | 2:36 pm

     
 

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