What is a chinois?

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A chinois (aka chinoise)  is a finer meshed version of a china cap.  They are used for straining soups, stocks, and sauces, usually to remove as many particles from these liquids as possible for a smooth, clearer result (although for “perfect” clarity, as seen in consumme, a technique called clarification must be used).

The chinois’s tiny holes can be easily blocked by larger ingredients, so chefs often nest a china cap inside a chinois.  The china cap will catch the big particles, keeping them from jamming the finer chinois.



If your chinois becomes jammed…

Try using a ladle to agitate the liquid that has collected in the bottom, swirling the bowl of the ladle across the holes may help unblock them, and short plunging motions will help force more liquid through.  When only a small amount of liquid is left stuck in the strainer, dump it out, rinse the chinois thoroughly, and continue straining the rest.

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