Stocking Your Kitchen

Here’s a list of things which I keep in my kitchen at all times. They have varying degrees of usefulness, but I use most of them much of the time. This is the minimalist list – I could add much more, but this will do for basics. This list does not include produce (fruits and vegetables).

Tools and Pots:

  1. Very sharp knife. I use a mini-Chef’s knife.
  2. Knife sharpener
  3. Bread knife (a long thin knife with a serrated edge)
  4. Vegetable peeler
  5. Pair of scissors exclusively for kitchen use
  6. Two chopping boards, one for onions and garlic, and one for everything else. You will need three, if you use meat.
  7. Graters of varying sizes. I do not use a microplane, but they are kind of cool.
  8. Measuring spoons and cups
  9. Saucepans of various sizes with lids
  10. Large stockpot with lid
  11. Wok or large kadhai
  12. Slow cooker or pressure cooker, or both
  13. Food processor
  14. Mortar and pestle
  15. Spice grinder or coffee grinder that has not been used for coffee
  16. Griddle pan or tava
  17. Frying pan (non-stick or anodized)
  18. Stirring spoons and ladles.
  19. Colander
  20. Sieve
  21. Cheesecloth
  22. Something to flip things such as pancakes or cutlets over with, like a grilling spatula
  23. Tongs
  24. Oven mitts and potholders
  25. Baking dish and cookie sheet
  26. Rolling pin

Spices and Herbs

  1. Turmeric (haldi or manjapodi)
  2. Red chili powder or cayenne (lal mirch or molagai podi)
  3. Mustard seeds
  4. Cumin seeds (which may be ground also)
  5. Black peppercorn
  6. Coriander seeds (which also may be ground)
  7. Bay leaves
  8. Garam masala
  9. Ginger paste
  10. Garlic paste
  11. Curry leaves (kadipatta or karuvapilai)
  12. Red chili flakes
  13. Basil
  14. Thyme
  15. Oregano
  16. Rosemary
  17. Dill
  18. Cilantro
  19. Salt
  20. White sugar
  21. Brown sugar

For numbers 13-16, dried herbs are fine, although fresh is always better.

Grains, pulses, and beans

  1. White rice. I use parboiled, but basmati is good for fancy occasions
  2. Brown rice, which has more fiber and nutrients than white rice. It does take longer to cook, though.
  3. Whole wheat flour
  4. All-purpose flour
  5. Cornstarch
  6. Atta (Indian wheat flour, used to make chapatis and parathas, which has a different consistency than whole wheat flour)
  7. Semolina (sooji or rava)
  8. Gram flour (besan or kadalaimaavu)
  9. Dals or lentils – toor, moong, and masoor (available at most Indian stores. Red lentils are masoor).
  10. Dried beans – chickpeas (chana), red beans (rajma), and black beans.

One thought on “Stocking Your Kitchen

  1. The “Chili Powder” that most of use are familiar with is a premixed seasoning made from ground red chile pods, salt (too much), cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, anti-caking agents, etc. Obviously this is for making “chili con carne”. This is NOT what you want for making Indian food.

    What you want is a pure powder made from ground dried red chile pods (Anaheim/Çalifornia or New Mexico). Mexican/Hispanic grocers and the hispanic spice sections of supermarkets sell this product as “red chile molido” or “chile molido rojo”. The spice is usually packaged in small cello containers. It’s warm, not fiery, and has real flavor.

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