Kitchen Essentials

I’ve been thinking a lot about food and cooking recently.  Below, is a list of our most used kitchen utensils.  Some of the things on the list I’d never used before cooking with Satya and some he’d never used before.  For all of you in intercultural relationships, what are some of your favorites and which ones were new to you?

Pressure Cooker-We use this for nearly everything: sambhars, rice, or mixed bean and veggie dishes like bisi bhele bhath.  It certainly does make cooking easier and faster.  We like it a lot more than our old rice cooker so now the rice cooker sits in the back of a cupboard.


We received our pressure cooker as a wedding present.  Satya asked for it as I guess they are extremely popular in India.  My family didn’t trust me with one since they had visions of the older, more dangerous versions from the ’70s and since I’m not the most mechanically inclined person.  Ours was a gift from his brother’s in-laws. Fortunately, nothing has gone terribly wrong and it is easy to use.  Ours has a timer and a few different settings.  When it is done, it goes on to the warm setting so the food never gets cold. 


Small Chopper/Grinder-It is very useful for grinding roasted and fried spices, for making guacamole, and for quickly chopping things like onions.  Along with the pressure cooker this is one of our most used kitchen supplies.


Lots of Spices-Last January when we first started cooking Indian food together we went to the Indian grocery store and stocked up on dried beans, soji, and spices. Spices are A LOT cheaper at Indian grocery stores and fortunately keep for a long time.  Most of our spices are kept in plastic bags in a wicker basket.  This is definitely not ideal, but is what we have at the moment.  We have a few salt and pepper containers and some of those larger glass containers with clasp closures, but not enough yet. 


Blender: Great for making mango lassis and smoothies. 


Mortar & Pestle: We use this for quickly grinding almonds or cashews.  It is easier to clean than the chopper/grinder.  We found a smallish one at the Indian grocery store.  I thought Satya’s mom would be thrilled to see that we had one, but her response was, “Get an electric one.  It is easier.” 


Wok from Ikea: One of our most practical purchases.  I think we purchased ours for $8 or $9 and so far it has held up well. 


Spatula: This is one of Satya’s favorite things.  He never used one until last year. 


Grater: We use this to grate everything from ginger to cucumber to carrots.  Satya is a big fan of ginger. 


Rubber can/bottle opener: Have a tough jar to open?  These have definitely made our lives easier.  This was another new discovery for Satya, but we consider these another great investment.  So far they’ve worked for us every time. 


What are your kitchen essentials?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea
    Mar 10, 2009 @ 19:46:27

    Nice idea for a post! I’ve been thinking A LOT about this stuff lately because my own kitchen “essentials” are so hard to come by in Paris! Still, one of the first things we did when we got here was head to the Indian neighborhood and buy spices 🙂

    *My masala dabba: my mother-in-law brought it for me when she first came to visit from India. I love this thing – it’s so stylish!

    * My food processor: Amazing, amazing piece of equipment from my uncle and aunt for my wedding. I MISS IT!

    * Spatula. Believe it or not, they don’t sell the rubber, baking-type spatulas in France…

    * Morter and Pestle: great for making spice blends, I miss this too!

    * Huge, deep soup pot. Miss it…

    I laughed at the pressure cooker thing, though – those things still terrify me! I refuse to use one!

    Hmm, I had a hard time believing Satya had never seen a spatula before. Weird the French don’t have them either. I guess I always took them for granted.

    We need a masala dabba ourselves. What have you found in France so far? Anything close?


  2. La Vida Loca
    Mar 11, 2009 @ 05:02:37

    Pressure cooker
    Generic vessel in which I cook everything
    Knife and chopping board
    rice cooker
    rolling pin, pan
    coffee maker

    Thanks for the list, La Vida.


  3. Andrea
    Mar 12, 2009 @ 16:03:21

    I haven’t found many cooking supplies (although I did see a store in Paris that had pressure cookers and various other Indian cups/pots/etc).

    I’ve done OK with ingredients, though, it’s just taken some time. I’ve got a little collection of mostly all the spices and spice mixtures I could ask for, plus a few things like daals, besan flour, etc.

    The things that are hard to get, though, are little spicy green peppers. They don’t sell in them in the groceries here, but when I buy them in Paris, I can’t buy too many or they rot before we use them. So, we’re constantly running out!

    Yes, Satya loves those little spicy green peppers too. It is good to know they are hard to come by in France so if we ever go, we’ll be prepared.

    I like to hear how things are going in France. I hope all is going well for the two of you!


  4. Raquel
    Nov 03, 2010 @ 19:17:52

    Wow, great post! Like you, I’m an American married to a man from Karnataka, and my kitchen supplies have tripled since our wedding!

    I keep the 30+ spices and masalas, dals, soojis, aata, tamarind paste, besan, pickel, etc etc etc in screw top plastic jars in a big plastic box on the pantry floor. I have a small masala dabba I keep on the counter that I got from, which is a lifesaver for me because it would drive me insane to search for the cumin-coriander-mustard seed-chilly quartet when I’m trying to cook fast! It never ceases to amaze me how many things are required for even the simplest South Indian meal! 🙂

    Hi Raquel…….welcome! Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to check their site out. The masala dabba sounds very useful. It is a pain having to collect all the jars and fit them on the small counter space we have near the stove. What are some of your favorite meals?


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