Kitchen Essentials

Here is a list of Kitchen Essentials that will help you start your cooking sessions with ease.

1 peeler: Peeler is an essential kitchen tool. Use this for peeling raw potatoes, sweet potatoes, gourds,
carrots or any other vegetable or fruit requiring peeling. This method of peeling removes a very thin layer of skin, thereby reducing wastage and keeping the nutrient loss to the minimum. There are many nutrients close to the skin or in the skin of the vegetables and fruits.

1 chef's knife: Chef's knife of various sizes can be bought depending on your hand size. I prefer to use a small 4 inch blade for most things small but for large or tough vegetables like the pumpkin and the jack fruit I use the largest blade in my collection, about 10 inch long. It makes it easy to cut the vegetable in one go from end to end.

1 serrated knife narrow blade: I like to use this knife for soft skinned vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, and for most fruits. I use this knife to cut boiled eggs too.

1 serrated bread knife: This knife is an absolute essential knife in any kitchen. Helps cut through breads and sandwiches right through without disturbing the fillings or toppings on toasts and bruschetta, cakes, pizzas. It is good for cutting through large fruits like watermelons etc.

1 paring knife: This helps in doing precise jobs that require small cuts and need a firm grip. It is useful when trimming and also for peeling ginger for which I run it on the rhizome in a scraping manner and scrape off the skin.

There is a huge list of other types of knives and cutting tools that can be added over a period of time like the knife with the rounded blade for cutting herbs or an orange or citrus fruit peeler and segment separator knife.

1 pressure cooker: In today's fast-paced life with more awareness about nutrition in our diet, pressure cooker becomes an essential cooking pot. It reduces the time taken for cooking anything and cooks food at high pressure which reduces the loss of nutrients in the cooking process.
Boiling of potatoes can be done in 7 to 8 minutes while making a vegetable soup takes just 5 minutes.
Steaming of food is equally quick.

1 medium sized skillet: This is a good-sized pan for sauteing vegetables. I prefer the 10 inch pan as it is easy to move the vegetables around without spilling.

1 small sized skillet: I use this for mainly making eggs or pancakes.

1 dutch cooker: This is useful for making stocks, sauces,curries etc.

1 deep pan: This is useful for boiling pastas, noodles, spaghetti etc.

1 large-sized wok: This should be atleast 12 inch in diameter. It is good for making fried rice, noodles
etc. The curved surface helps in stirring required in making fried rice.

1 medium sized wok: I use this for deep frying. Uses less oil and gives the depth required for frying.

1 tempering pan: This one is good for tempering (approx 3 inch diameter).

1 griddle pan: This one should be without edges, flat. Is good for making Indian flat breads and crepes.

1 oven proof rectangular glass dish
1 oven proof square glass dish
2 rimmed metal baking trays

 There are many more dishes that may be required as you become an ardent baker like the muffin tins, cake tins, springform pans, ramekins, loaf tins, cookie sheets, pie dishes, tart pans and many more.

There are a variety of kitchen tools available out there, most of which I would love to possess.

 1 set of kitchen scissors: These are forever lost so it is better to have at least a set of 3. I use them for cutting my herbs, chilies or even beans while watching my favourite TV program or taking up  children's lessons.

1 cutting board/chopping board: Cutting vegetables on a chopping board protects the fingers from getting nicks and cuts and ensures even sized pieces. You can get plastic or wooden boards. Wooden boards need to be sanded and oiled regularly. Plastic ones are easy to clean and require low maintenance.

3 mixing bowls of different sizes: These are good for making mixtures, salads etc. These can be of glass thus doubling up as serving bowls too. And if they are oven-proof they can also double up for baking or can be used for re-heating in the conventional oven or a microwave oven.

Tongs: These are useful for handling hot potatoes and noodles or even for removing food from the fryer or oven.

Spoons: there are various kinds of spoons such as the slotted spoon for removing fried food from fryer, ladles, spatulas at least 1, spoons for general cooking, wooden spoons and spatulas.
These should be right next to the stove for ease during cooking.

Graters: A small handy ginger and garlic grater, a box type mandolin grater with various cutting steel blades great for cutting wafers, grating vegetables or cheese.

Colanders: These are useful for washing vegetables and fruits, for freshening up leafy vegetables.

Strainers: Used for draining off liquid from the pastas etc., small ones for straining tea leaves from the decoction.

 Measuring equipment: Cups, jars, spoons and the kitchen weighing scale.

Timer: Helps in keeping time as required by some dishes.

Oven thermometer: I find this very useful. I keep this inside my oven to keep a tab on the wayward oven, when it plays truant.

Sieves: Fine-meshed ones for sieving flours.

Can/ bottle opener: For opening cans and bottles.

Lemon juicer: For squeezing out the lemon juice.

Basting brushes: For glazing of bread and basting.

I like having melon-ballers of different sizes, cookie cutters, citrus fruit zester, skewers, ice picks, egg separator, egg slicer, tomato slicer, onion chopper, chili chopper, ricer, and many many more such tools.

You will require or may want to add

Idli mould

for cocktail idlis

for idlis

Cookie cutters of stainless steel: I use these for cutting cookies and also as moulds for my idlis especially when I am cooking for children, or as moulds for muffins.

Other essentials
Hand soap: It is very important to observe cleanliness in the kitchen. Washing of hands  and fingernails before touching any food items must become a habit. It is extremely important to do so before kneading dough of any kind.
Muslin cloth: It is required to make cottage cheese at home or to strain the yogurt to get thick yogurt and such.
Tea towel: These are useful when the recipe requires that the dough not dry out.
Dusters: These are absolutely a must in any kitchen. I keep atleast 1 dozen.
Apron: This protects your clothes from getting stained or kissed by a tiny stray flame.
Hair net: It is an essential item in the kitchen if you have a hair-fall problem.
Oil filter paper: It is very useful in filtering used oil.
Absorbent paper towel: These are very useful in removing excess oil from fried food.
Vegetable cleaning brush: This is good for cleaning off any soil or dirt from potatoes and such underground vegetables especially if you are using the skin in your preparation.


Electric mixer: This is the most important gadget in my kitchen. It has a stainless steel jar and a 1000 watt motor. This is important if you have to grind dry ginger or turmeric or dry roasted lentils into fine powders.
Look out for high wattage and sturdy jar. Glass jars are good and you can see through but they can easily slip and break. I prefer steel to glass and plastic.
High wattage ensures that the machine can run longer without heating up.

Hand held electric egg beater: These are easy to use, portable and less bulky must haves.

Hand held electric grinder/mincer/puree maker: These are easy to use, portable and less bulky must haves. They can be used directly in the cooking pan with the food to be pureed.

1500 watt food processor with attachments that can be slowly added: This is by far the most important electric gadget. It saves time and energy while chopping, grating, kneading dough etc. large quantities. When cooking for a party where the ingredient requirement in larger I use this machine to get my work done faster.

Oven: It is essential if you want to get into baking of food items. A good oven with even temperature is good enough for beginners. There are many other functions that you can look into as you get into baking.
It is good for roasting or grilling food.