Our mortar and pestle is used for almost every meal — for black pepper and other spices; or for making pastes of garlic, ginger, chilis, or black beans. Because it’s so heavy, it also makes a handy weight. If you’re using freshly ground spices (and you should), a mortar and pestle is extremely convenient (or you could use an electric grinder). There are a few things you should keep in mind when you’re looking for one, though.
A wok is a versatile tool in the kitchen, and is ideal for sauteeing, stir frying, pan frying noodles, and deep frying. You need to be able to get fire under it (they’re pretty much useless on an electric stove), but there are electric options available, and outdoor gas wok stands. The outdoor gas woks are especially handy for deep frying, so you don’t have to worry about grease splattering everywhere.
There are often workarounds or (aha) wok-arounds? if you don’t have a wok. We’ll try to note alternative cooking techniques. But, if you can, it’s worth getting one.