A spider (simplified Chinese: 笊篱; traditional Chinese: 笊籬; pinyin: zhàolí) is a type of skimmer used in Asian and Dutch cooking in the form of a wide shallow wire-mesh basket with a long handle, used for removing hot food from a liquid or skimming foam off when making broths. The name is derived from the wire pattern, which looks like a spider's web.
Unlike sieves or strainers, which have fine mesh screens for straining away liquids as food is retrieved, the spider can be used as a strainer for larger pieces of food. However, most often it is used as a skimming tool to add or remove foods from hot liquids such as water or oil. Spiders may be somewhat flat and round or small round spoon-like utensils shaped into the form of an open basket. They may also be referred to as sieves, spoon sieves, spoon skimmers, or basket skimmers.
A spider is ideal for lifting and draining foods from hot oil, soups, stocks and boiling water. It is the perfect tool for skimming stocks, blanching vegetables and deep frying foods. This kitchen utensil is most often used to retrieve foods that are being cooked in pots or pans of hot water. The spider can be dipped into steaming hot water or oil and placed under many different types of food to pull pieces out for inspection or for removing for cooling prior to eating.
Skimmers made entirely of stainless steel are the best choice for use in the kitchen, since wooden-handled skimmers have a tendency to soak up liquids as the handle is exposed to hot water or oil. This allows growth of bacteria that could result in a food-borne illness.
The size of the mesh makes these utensils suitable for use as improvised aerials for transmissions in the 2.4GHz frequency range.
- Ami shakushi, equivalent Japanese utensil
- "Spider Skimmer". RecipeTips. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Massey design for wok scoop aerial stirs up interest. New Zealand Press Association. 22-NOV-04.