Starting a new kitchen can be exciting as well as overwhelming. Planing a proper strategy to fill up your kitchen will help you save a lot of money and avoid hoarding. I personally regret buying things to start my kitchen without assessing their quality and needs. Hoarding culinary products will lead to a messed up kitchen. First you need to plan out what things you will actually need rather than just opting for things which look pretty on the shelf. This will cut your shopping cost as well as give you a clutter free kitchen.
First lets start with the utensils you will be needing. Then we can have a look of what other optional products you can add if you have a bigger kitchen and want to make it look sophisticated.
- Saucepan : To boil water and make tea/coffee. Buy this in 3 sizes which you can use to make tea for just your family and one for your group of guests. Look for anodized aluminum or stainless steel with an aluminum or copper base for maximum heat conductivity.
2. Rice pot : Get a rice pot or a rice cooker in sizes to fit your family. I keep one for making rice just for 2 and other for many people. Stainless steel is a better option than aluminium because it can release the metal into certain foods. Avoid using non stick for this purpose.
3. Fry pans : You will need atleast 3 fry pans in 3 sizes for your everyday use. To make an omlette or stir fry veges, it is the mostly used pan in your kitchen. So invest in a good one. Please don’t make the mistake of choosing the non-stick set of fry pans in every brand which are always on sale. They are not worth the money as well as very harmful for your health as the coating wears off easily and may enter your food.
The best option is Stainless steel cookware with an added “inner core” made of copper or aluminum, which improves the heat conductivity. It might be expensive, but it’ll last a lifetime. Even though it may cause sticky bottoms, your health is not at risk.
Another option is Cast Iron pan. Durable, inexpensive, naturally non-stick if properly seasoned, distributes heat evenly and retains heat well, imparts iron to foods (an added benefit for some), great for long, low simmering and browning. Our ancestors have been using these for centuries while we opt for so called modern equipments which have deadly effects. My mom has been using cast iron pan as long as i can remember and once you learn how to properly season it you will love it.
4. Strainer/Colander : To drain rice, pasta and noodles a colander is mandatory. It can even be used for steaming food by placing above a vessel of boiling water.
5. Extra Rice Pots with lid : Get a couple of these to make variety rice, noodles and gravies. Again you can opt for stainless steel or ceramic coated vessels.
6. Vessel for deep frying : To make those yummy samosas and fries, get a couple of heavy bottomed vessel with some depth. Don’t ever buy aluminium fry pans as aluminium tends to react with food and is harmful to health. So stick to steel.
7.Pressure Cookers : These are things without which an Indian kitchen cannot function. I use them in 3 sizes, 2L, 3L and 5L. I use the smallest one to make mashed potatoes and the bigger ones for daily cooking. There are a whole lot of brands out there and i own 3 different brands. It depends on which model is easier for you to use. Invest in a STEEL pressure cooker. They may be a little expensive but worth your health.
8. Biryani Vessel –
Indian cooking is incomplete without the traditional biryani. Make sure to buy a rice making pot with lid to make variety rices like pulao, ghee rice and biryani. You will need them in two sizes, one for just your family and other for your guests.
9. A Grater – To grate cheese and vegetables for cooking.
10. Special Vessels for South Indian Dishes
- Puttu Maker – It’s a traditional and popular kerala breakfast made with rice flour and coconut. You can use the traditional long vessel or small one which fits on a cooker.
- Idly Maker – To make soft idlies, this is a must have. You can also use the same vessel to make idiappams. You can buy them in aluminium or stainless steel.
- Idiappam Maker/Stand – Idiappam(String Hoppers) is a dish loved by many in the south. It looks like steamed noodles and is delicious. Our ancestors have been using the wooden idiappam maker which needs a lot of muscle strength. But today we have so many options which makes it an easy task. I own the brass idiappam maker with which you can make idiappams by turning the handle on top. A little practice and you will love it. You also need the plates and stand to hold it. The Idly cooker can also be used to hold idiappam stand.
- Appam Pan – South Indians love appam. It’s a soft dish made of rice and coconut. To make the softest and tastiest appams, we need to use the traditional cast iron appam pans we get in the south. Though they are a little heavier than the non stick ones, the crispy and soft texture they add is unbeatable. It’s a one time investment.
- Dosa Pan – As a south Indian i can’t imagine life without dosas. They are life savers on a tired day. Dosa tawas should only be used for making dosas and not anything else as it will cause sticking and tearing of dosas. I prefer using thick cast iron tawas to make the crispiest paper dosas. They are healthy as well have a long life. Nowadays we get get dosa tawas in ceramic, nonstick, and what not!
- Fish Curry Pot – Now this one is not necessary, but some people prefer using mud pots for making fish curry to give it the authentic taste. I personally own them because I like using a separate pot for fish recipes.
- Roti Tawa – For making South Indian rotis made of rice flour and coconut, a cast iron tawa is used solely for this purpose.
- Paaladai – It’s a famous south Indian dish which look like crepes. For preparing it, you will need a seaparate non stick fry pan with closed edges.
- Ottadai – This is again a south indian dish not known to many. It is made in a clay pot specially made for this purpose.
First of all, list out what dishes you make mostly and what type os spoons you will need for them.
Dinner Spoons – You will need a set of atleast 6 small pudding spoons, 6 tablespoons and 6 forks. Get them in pure stainless steel without all the plastic fancy handles which will wear off in time.
Cooking Spoons – From Chapatis, rotis to gravies, here are some basic cutlery you will need. A wooden set of spoons is a must have.
Dinner Plates, Bowls and Tea Set
Gift yourself a porcelain/ceramic dinner gift set. And also don’t forget a couple of coffee jugs and of course a set of 6 tea cups for your guests.
Serving tea and snacks for guests on cute trays can make your presentation better. Get a small one which can fit 3 cups and a larger one for 10.
A good cutting board is a daily essential. That is where your cooking starts. There are many cutting boards available in the market. The cheaper ones are plastic but very harmful for your health since while cutting on them, some of the plastic from the board may enter our food. It’s best to use a Wooden Cutting board. Scrub it with some lemon slice dipped in salt to disinfect and remove odours after constant usage. Always keep it dry and polish it with some tissue dipped with oil.