Utensils are unarguably the biggest part of any kitchen. Indian Cuisine being so wide and unique requires some of the most unique kinds of utensils. For someone who is just starting out on setting up a brand new kitchen, it’s easy to forget and miss some of these very common utensils until they actually need them one day. Thus an assorted checklist doesn’t hurt, right?
There are some very basic utensils that every kitchen needs like pots and pans, knives, plates, and so on. But for an Indian kitchen, there can be a number of very specific utensils, for example, a pressure cooker! So, let’s dive deep into this list of 12 MUST-HAVE kitchen utensils that every Indian Kitchen need.
1. Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers have to be one of the most versatile utensils anyone could ever ask for. This must-have utensil is almost unique to Indian kitchens. The pressure cooker works on the principles of pressure and heat proportions and fastens cooking saving a lot of cooking time.
Pressure cookers are versatile enough to handle veggie curries, hard meat like mutton or duck, Stews, lentils, kidney beans, rice dishes like Biryani and Pulao, or even desserts like carrot ‘halwa’ in very little time which is why it is a must-have utensil.
Pressure cookers mostly come in 3 capacities; the 2 liters, 3 liters, and 5-liter capacities. The 3-liter capacity one is good enough for a family of four. The shapes also vary but the main ones are the Regular shaped and the Pot shaped.
2. Indian Griddle/Tawa
Flatbreads are a very big part of Indian cuisine. The regular kinds of flatbreads that mostly consist of Chappathis, Rotis, and Parathas are made on the Indian griddle or popularly known as the Tawa. Not just these but dishes like Dosa, Chila, and even simple fried eggs are the most compatible with this flat utensil.
Tawa can be mostly categorized into two distinct categories; the Nonstick Tawa and the traditional cast iron Tawa. The nonstick Tawa comes with a protective layer of Teflon that helps in saving the food from sticking to the utensil thus becoming the best match for food like Dosa and chila that require spreading batter. The Cast iron Tawa retains heat well and is the most compatible with rotis and parathas.
3. Indian Wok/Karahi
Wok/Karahi is another must-have utensil in any kitchen. Just like the south-east Asian woks, the Indian woks are also used primarily for stir-fries. These Indian Woks or Karahi are the best for Okra stir-fries, frying potatoes, Indian-styled spicy scrambled eggs along with the occasional Chinese stir-fries and even Hakka noodles.
Karahi can be used for deep frying purposes too as Indians consume a large variety of deep-fried food including fritter(pakode), fried bread or poori, snacks like samosa, vada, and sweets like pazhampori, gulab jamun, and malpua that need a lot of frying. Again, just like the Tawa, Karahi is also available in Nonstick and cast iron varieties.
4. Non stick Pan
Like omelets? Want to make a cake on the gas top? Need something for a quick stir fry? A nonstick pan will never let you down. Neither as flat as a Tawa nor as deep as a karahi, this pan is a must to have utensil for everyone. Yes, even for beginners and those staying away from home trying to survive on their own cooking.
These pans are also very good for shallow frying stuff like, cutlets, chicken and fish fillets, and roasting asparagus. And when you feel adventurous, you can even make a deep pan pizza in it!
Even though there are pans available without the nonstick Teflon coating, it is way better to invest in a nonstick one as unlike the Tawa, the high sides of these pans can be a little tricky to navigate with if you’re a beginner-level cook causing food to stick to the bottom and make a mess.
5. Utility tools
Utility tools are a whole different arena when it comes to choosing utensils for your brand new kitchen. The thing about utility tools is that they look so insignificant that they can be forgotten easily.
But, when you are already in the process you suddenly realize the need for these tools and then realize that it’s too late. So, here is the list of the most basic and important tools that are going to be forever useful! (Thank us later!)
- Peeler (to peel potatoes, carrots and fruits.)
- Tongs (to help with the hot rotis.)
- Chopping Board
- Chimta/Holder (to handle the dangerously hot vessels with no handles.)
- Kitchen Scissors
- Flour Shifter
6. Vessels with Lids
The classic Indian vessels or the famous, Patila are very handy for any kitchen. From cooking sambhar to plain dal to kheer, these vessels are the best thing to cook in. Even if you don’t get yourself a whole set, but at least one of these is a must-have as it is the best utensil to boil milk and fix yourself a good old cup of masala milk tea. The lids are also pretty important with the vessels as they fit on them well and can be used to store food too!
Saucepans are a very good utensil to invest in. These utensils aren’t just good for making small amounts of sauces but they are also a very hassle-free way of boiling milk and tea regularly in smaller quantities. Saucepans are also good for making instant noodles and boiling eggs to make hard-boiled eggs. Saucepans are easier to clean and come with a handle, thus easier to handle.
You can get these deep narrow pans in a lot of sizes and materials like stainless steel, nonstick varieties, and even aluminum ones.
As diverse as India is, people all over the country more or less consume and enjoy at least some form of steamed food. No matter what culture you belong to and what your primary diet is, Steamers are a must-have! Steamers are necessary to make idlis, khaman, some types of rice appams, dumplings, bao, and many other things. (A multi-purpose steamer that comes with a glass lid and a strainer lid can be the best possible thing to invest in.)
9. Cutlery set
Cutlery sets are the ultimate must-haves when it comes to utensils! Probably the most used artifact in the kitchen; a basic cutlery set has all the essential tablespoons, teaspoons, forks, and butter knives. Metal cutlery, especially stainless steel is the most common, sustainable, and affordable when it comes to shopping for a new kitchen. The modern cutlery sets that are more advanced can also include reusable straws and even wooden cutlery.
10. Ladle sets
Be it cooking the food or serving the food, Ladles are a must-have. The cooking ladles can include the scoop ladle for stirring and handling liquids, the slotted spoon for deep frying needs, and the flat spoon to handle chappatis, chila, dosa, and parathas. Similarly, the serving ladles consist of scoops for serving curries and shallow ones for serving rice. Ladles can be made of stainless steel or even wood. However, the wooden sets generally need a lot of maintenance and protection against humidity as they are prone to catch molds.
11. Knife set
To have a knife set really doesn’t matter if you are a professional chef, a passionate home cook, or just a basic beginner. Knife sets come in all different shapes and sizes of knives for entirely different functions. A basic set will include a bread knife, a plain-edged knife, a rigged-edged knife for soft vegetables like tomatoes, a curved knife for fruits, a small knife, and sometimes even a kitchen scissor.
Other collectible knives like chef’s knives, carving knives and special knives that help in cutting through meat, are also a very good investment as they give you a lot of options and save a lot of time.
12. Basic diner set (serving bowls, curry bowls, plates and glasses)
The basic diner set can be the last on the list but it’s certainly not the least. Diner sets consist of utensils like plates, bowls, serving bowls, and glasses and these are the utensils that are used every day! The sets can be stainless steel, porcelain, La opala, or even glass but the most important thing is to have one anyway.
Some sets can have more items than others and include stuff like dessert bowls, ice cream glasses, and teacups however it is totally your choice to buy the set that suits your needs the best!
Utensils are what make a kitchen. Without the basic set of right utensils, a kitchen is nothing more than just a room in the house. Thus selecting what suits the best for your kitchen and making the most out of it is all about the deal!