Are you setting up a new kitchen? Feeling stressed about what kitchen equipment to buy first & what later? Relax! I was also in the same position as yours two years ago. Back then, I made a long list of kitchen tools. Of course, that list was not perfect! But that experience taught me a lot.
Selecting necessary kitchen tools from a pool of kitchen equipment can be a daunting task. In this article, you will get to know the essential kitchen tools you as a cook should have.
I have divided the kitchen tools in the order of your cooking sequence. It means starting first with kitchen tools helpful in food preparation, then for cooking & serving.
The first list of essential tools starts with the tools helpful during the preparation of food. The tools useful in cutting, chopping, peeling, blending, or grating the raw material for cooking are included in this list.
15 Essential Tools While Food Preparation
Set of Starter Knives
A set of starter knives mainly consists of three different blades. There are varieties available in the group of these three knives.
Set of a Chef Knife, Paring Knife & Utility Knife
Chef’s knife is bigger, apt for cutting meat, chopping vegetables & hard nuts & utility knife is for vegetables & other more minor things. Similar to a chef’s knife, the utility knife is smaller in size. A paring knife is a smaller knife with a broad blade, apt for cutting fruits & vegetables.
Set of Two Knives & Peeler
Two knives have the shape of regular ones with a bit of difference in blades. Peeler is a metal knife with two slots for peeling the outer surface of vegetables & fruits.
Set of a Steak Knife, Laser Knife & Paring Knife
A steak knife is a table knife with tooth-like edges. A laser knife is a smaller knife with a thin spine & edge. A paring knife is similar to a steak knife; the only difference is paring blades are sharper than steak.
My recommendation is to select a set of two knives & a peeler. This way, you will get two regular use knives & a peeler at the same time.
A cutting board is a flat rectangular shaped board on which cutting & chopping vegetables, fruits, meat etc., is done. It is available in plastic, wooden & bamboo material.
My recommendation is to avoid plastic boards. Cutting on plastic boards leaves cuts on the board, which invites bacteria to grow in these tiny cuts. So, it’s better to use wooden or bamboo chopping boards.
A colander is a circle-shaped bowl with holes at the base. It is used for washing vegetables & fruits in one go. Just put the required raw vegetables (or fruits) in a colander & wash them under running water.
It is a multi-purpose kitchen tool. A colander can also be used for draining boiled pasta or rice, separating their starch water. You can collect the starch in a separate bowl for kneading the dough!
My recommendation is to avoid buying aluminium or plastic material or a colander with any coating. As colander is used for draining hot foods, aluminium & plastic tend to leach into your food at high temperatures. You can use a good quality steel colander.
A grinder is used for cutting material into smaller pieces. Grinder, with different speed levels, can make a paste of the material. A mixer is used for mixing more than two products at a time.
You will need a good mixer-grinder and different types of jars for almost every day of cooking. Cold sauces (chutneys) and ginger-garlic paste, tomato or onion paste are common products prepared by these tools.
Blender is used for making shakes & smoothies. Blender has similar functions as Juicer. The only difference, it has smaller blades as compared to Juicer jars. While preparing shakes, one of the content is liquid(milk), so they require smaller blades to blend.
Plastic Bowl With Dough Making & Vegetables Slicing Attachment
A separate transparent bowl is used for kneading the dough for flatbreads, vegetable parathas & puris. It is also used for chopping vegetables into smaller pieces, for example, cabbage, carrot, potatoes, etc.
This round plastic bowl setup is available with two different types of centre attachments
Juicer setup is similar to dough making a plastic bowl. The only difference is the different attachments for making juices.
So, as you can see, buying a food processor will give you a combination of useful products at the same time. My recommendation is buying a food processor will be worth the price & time.
Spice Box (Masala Dabba)
Spice box contains small boxes of all common types of spices used in cooking. Having a spice box will reduce time & effort.
If you are buying stainless steel spice box, make sure not to put salt in one of the boxes. It is observed that salt may cause a crack in the steel spice box. Instead, you can buy a wooden spice box or spice jars mounted on a stand as an alternative option.
Other 4 Small but Important Kitchen Accessories
Peeler is one of the most valuable knives in the kitchen. It comes in handy while peeling outer layers of vegetables or fruits. If you buy the knife set with a peeler, you can skip the peeler in this section.
Grater (Kadu Kass)
A grater is an essential kitchen tool used for grating (or slicing) the material into fine pieces, bits, or slices. Most commonly, a grater is used for grating cheese for garnishing or ginger while preparing tea.
There are different types of graters available in the market depending on the size of shredding holes. The primary purpose of shredding by grater is to distribute the material throughout the product cooking uniformly.
Churner is an effective product for making a smooth liquid mixture. It is an effective product for making sweet buttermilk (lassi), unsalted or salted buttermilk (chaas), gram flour mix or any other liquid mix where you want a smooth & even mixture without any solid lumps.
My recommendation is to buy a wooden churner. Metal churners tend to react with the churning liquid.
Mortar & Pestle (Kutni)
Mortar & pestle is a valuable tool for crushing ingredients into a fine powder. Mortar has a bowl-shaped structure & pestle is a cylindrical shaped tool.
Materials (to be crushed) are put into the mortar; pestle crushes these materials by a jerk repetitively till the material becomes the desired powdered form. Raw spices, ginger, garlic & cardamom are the most common materials being crushed in it.
My recommendation is to buy a marble mortar & pestle. It is heavier. However, steel mortar & pestle is lighter than marble, but the former tend to wear off after some time.
The second list of essential tools starts with the tools helpful while the cooking of food. The tools useful in boiling, frying, deep-frying, or cooking dishes are included in this list.
10 Essential Tools while Cooking Food
1. Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker is used to boil or cook vegetables & dishes. It takes half a time in cooking as compared to regular cooking. The pressure cooker helps lower the boiling temperature of liquid with the help of high pressure created by liquid steam. Liquid can be water or curry liquid.
My recommendation is to buy a stainless-steel pressure cooker. Despite aluminium being a good heat conductor, it tends to leach into the food.
2. Frying Pan
Frying Pan is a flat & round base cookware with low protruding sides. It is mainly used for shallow frying. The main requirement of a frying pan is to have a thick flat body, so that heat distribution is uniform.
My recommendation is to buy a cast-iron frying pan & a wooden frying spoon. Aluminium & non-stick cookware tend to stick to the food being prepared. On the contrary, cooking in a cast-iron pan adds iron content to the food.
3. Boiling cum Storing Pots (Bhagona)
Stainless steel pots are round-shaped cookware with protruding sides, size big enough to cook soups, stews or curries in it. Boiling raw milk, rice, or making sweet dishes like kheer (wet rice pudding), etc., are examples of uses of these pots.
My recommendation is to buy either stainless steel pots or pure ceramic pots. These two are regarded as healthy cookware, unlike aluminium cookware which sticks to your food.
4. Deep Cooking Pots (Kadhai)
Deep Cooking Pots are round-shaped cookware with steep sides. Also called kadhai or karahi, these deep-frying pots are used for cooking varieties of curries & vegetable dishes (with/without liquid).
These pots have two protruding handles diametrically. These handles help hold the pot while cooking.
My recommendation is to buy an iron, brass, or clay kadhai. This way, you can avoid buying aluminium kadhai, which sticks to your cooking food.
A saucepan is a deep cooking pan with a handle. It holds more liquid than the frying pan. It is used to make tea, stews, soups, or pasta sauces. Make sure to buy a tea strainer along with a saucepan for sieving tea.
My recommendation is to buy stainless steel saucepan with a plastic handle.
6. Set of Tools for Making Flat Bread
There are main four tools used for making flatbread (rotis, parathas, chilla, uttapam, etc.).
7. Flour Sifter (Channi)
A flour sifter is a round-shaped utensil with a sieve bottom. It makes the flour texture uniform by adding air to the dry ingredients.
First, flour is sieved properly through a sifter to separate bran into the kneading plate. My recommendation is to buy a plastic or stainless-steel sifter.
8. Rolling Pin & Board (Belan & Chakla)
The dough is prepared by mixing the required flour with water. Then, the procedure of making flat pieces of bread starts.
A small portion of prepared dough is placed on the board, and a rolling pin pushes that dough piece towards the board, making the round-shaped dough bread.
My recommendation is to buy a marble board, as it will be heavier hence helpful in making good raw dough bread. Also, buy a wooden rolling pin with a thick centre & small cylindrical rod-shaped projections for holding it.
9. Flat Pan (Tawa) & Tong (Chimta)
The prepared raw dough bread is placed on a heated flat pan. For providing uniform heating from both sides, a tong is used for cooking alternate sides one by one. Depending on the type of flatbreads (parathas, rotis or uttapam), the cooking time on Tawa varies.
My recommendation is to buy a cast iron flat pan & stainless steel tong. You can buy these from local vendors. Avoid buying non-stick flat pans due to the leaching of Teflon (material of non-stick pans) in your food while cooking.
A casserole is a plastic round shaped box with a plastic lid. It has a steel interior. It is used for storing freshly prepared flatbread (rotis). First, place a muslin cloth, a size larger than the circumference of the casserole. You can wrap the prepared flatbreads in a muslin cloth & close the lid. The flatbreads remain hot for an hour or two.
The third list of essential tools starts with the tools helpful during the serving of food.
Essential Tools while Cooking & Serving Food
In serving, essential utensils come handy. Do buy a set of 6 small & big plates, 6 bowls, 12 spoons & forks and five different types of serving spoons. You can buy a set of 6 teacups & a set of 6 steel glasses. I have recommended a bare minimum required quantities of utensils essential for cooking & serving food.
I suggest buying a stainless steel dinner set, which is a one-stop for all the necessary kitchen utensils.
The fourth list of essential tools starts with the tools helpful while cleaning the kitchen.
Essential Tools while Cleaning Kitchen
You can buy a set of two cotton cloths for wiping the dust or garbage off the kitchen’s central area. My recommendation is to buy a set of two or three cotton dusting clothes.
An apron is essential clothing for the cook to wear, especially during cooking. It is made up of cotton or plastic material. You can tie an apron to the front portion of the body. It is easy to wear. Apron helps in protecting your clothes from stains or spills while cooking or serving.
Invest in iron, brass, clay, or stainless-steel cookwares due to health reasons. Avoid buying aluminium cookware & utensils as it enters the food being cooked or served.
Check for the warranty of the purchasing product. This practice helps in knowing the replacement time for the material.
In the end, I would like to say the list mentioned above of kitchen tools is based on my experience of setting up a new kitchen. I have tried to include all the important tools required by you as a new kitchen user.
I hope the article helps you in selecting your essential kitchen tools.
What is your favourite kitchen tool? Do write in the comments below.
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