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?