Basic kitchen equipment required for Indian cooking

IMG_0579Today’s challenge by Darren Rowse on the ProBlogger Challenge Group was to create a List Post

Some people are very good at coming up with ideas and making lists and probably wrote their blog post within minutes. For me I had to think long and hard about what I could write about. At first I thought about writing a list with links from my blog of all the curries you can make, or the different dishes you can make using rice or a list of various the Indian breads you can make etc. but then I thought that would be a good post for another day. For today, I wanted to concentrate on my cookery classes and try and create a list of kitchen equipment that would be needed for Indian cooking. Every time I teach, I end up carrying bags of equipment, ingredients and spices as there is so much I want to show and tell my students apart from the teaching them how to cook. The list could be long but bearing in mind that some things can be improvised – here are my suggestions:

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1. A good sized spice box often called the masala dabba. This spice box will hold the 7 main spices needed for making a curry.  Having the spices ready in one place keep things tidy and organised. So many times in class I notice students bring in the small bottles of spices which have such narrow openings that it’s difficult to use a spoon in them. Often the oil gets too hot and ruins the curry as they are late in adding the spices.  Most spice boxes are made of stainless steel these days although I believe there are some plastic ones available too. They really don’t cost much and a stainless steel one will last you a life time. I have had mine for the last 40 years. If you are not able to get a spice box, then make one by emptying your spices in small plastic cups that fit inside an empty ice-cream container.  in my next post I will talk about the spices you should keep in this masala dabba and why.

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2. Next is a chapatti stand and a thin rolling pin. These are essential when making chapattis, parathas or any other Indian bread. You can use any board and a rolling pin but again it’s one of those items which don’t cost much and can be used for a long time. In class I take a few of my own and  as you can see in the above pictures we  improvise by using a chopping board instead of a chapatti stand. Along side the chapatti stand and rolling pin, most Indian homes will have a small container – usually stainless steel dabba with a lid which holds the dusting flour needed when making any of the Indian breads.  Keeping the flour in a saparate container saves waste and keep things tidy instead of the mess made by some of my students.

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3.  Next is a griddle called a tava.  Again you can improvise using a frying pan but the results and taste of chappatis cooked on a tava are much nicer. Once you have bought one, it lasts forever. I have been using mine for the last 40 years. Most Indian homes have two kinds of tavas.  One  is used for frying and one for just roasting or dry cooking. Alongside the tave, you will need good quality metal tongs for turning over the chapattis and parathas you will make.

4. Another must is a good wide and flat tray (called trance) for binding the dough. A mixing bowl has high sides so often kneading the dough is hard. This tray allows you to mix the dough, knead it and then keep it covered ready to use. This tray also comes in handy for mixing lentils, snacks etc.

5. For deep frying a karahi (looks like a flat wok) is essential for cooking Indian breads like puris and snacks like pakoras, samosas etc.
6. Last but not least – at least one pressure cooker. There are so many varieties available in the stores and most are fine as they cut down the time of cooking lentils, pulses, vegetables etc.

7. The other essential items I recommend are ones most kitchens will have:

  • A good knife
  • A chopping board
  • A grater
  • A food mixer/blender
  • Tongs
  • Good quality saucepans
  • Wooden spoons/spatula
  • A whisk

Is there any other kitchen equipment  you recommend?