While setting up a new home, one of the most important areas of the house is the kitchen. It is undoubtedly a challenge to set up a perfect kitchen, complete with all necessities, ingredients and elements. Indian kitchens are more than just a place to cook and consume food. From being sources of nourishment and nutrition to being home remedies for various ailments, ingredients in India kitchens perform multiple tasks.
Whether you are moving into a new house or setting up a bachelor pad for the first time, you cannot ignore the need for a functional kitchen. Taking some time to plan your kitchen can ensure that you never have to do a grocery run or venture out to the market every time you try a new recipe or a culinary technique. Just like any other room in your house, kitchen is also a highly personal space. While depending on your tastes and culinary preferences, you should personalise your kitchen, there are certain kitchen hacks that can help you get started.
Setting up an Indian kitchen
There are certain must-haves in every Indian kitchen. While you shop for your new house, this list will serve help you ensure you don’t forget anything.
Here is a list of a few world-renowned spices that have found a home for themselves in the Indian household:
Pots & Pans
Whether it is the quintessential kadai or a new-age nonstick dosa tawa, having the right pots and pans is extremely important. Using the right kind of cookware, made out of the right materials, can help you use proper cooking methods and help you achieve the authentic tastes. The shape and material of cookware affects heat distribution and taste. While a kadai, tawa, saucepans, pots and smaller utensils are essentials, you should also invest in a good pressure cooker, tadka pan, steamer and Chakla Belan (rolling pin) set. Depending on the cuisines you prefer to cook, this list will change. Don’t forget to pick up matching lids and cooking spoons.
Tools & Appliances
Can you imagine a kitchen without a knife? It is impossible to have a functional kitchen without tools such as knives, peelers, graters, bottle and tin openers, mortar and pestle, colanders etc. Along with these there are many new inventions such as garlic press, and vegetable choppers that can make cooking an easier task. Along with these, in an Indian kitchen, a mixer-grinder and a blender are a must for chutneys, purees, batters, milkshakes etc. If you have a flair for baking or want to simplify the cooking process you can also opt for microwaves and ovens.
Groceries, Staples & Condiments
Once you have the right tools and equipment, the next step is to stock your kitchen with staples and condiments. Having essential ingredients in the pantry ensures that you can whip up something quickly without having to do a market run each day. Depending on your needs, you should stock up your kitchen and fridge regularly. Our meals should comprise of carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, essential minerals & vitamins. To ensure this, choose whole foods and different colored fruits and vegetables as they are rich in various important nutrients and antioxidants. If you are wondering what the essentials are, start with food grains, dals, pulses, and different kind of attas (flours). You should also consider perishables such as vegetables, dairy products such as butter and cheese, eggs, fruits etc. while you stock up. Don’t forget to get wide variety of spices as they add flavour, colour, excitement and many health benefits to our food.
The focus while purchasing groceries should be on ensuring that there are enough ingredients at home to make a balanced meal. Avoid packaged and processed foods as they are mostly high on preservatives, sodium and sugar. Chose fresh fruits over packaged fruit juices. Don’t blindly go for sugar free or low-fat labels as there can be hidden ingredients which are unhealthy. Look for the nutrition labels, check the ingredients and make smarter choices.
Take a look a detailed article on stocking up your kitchen here.
Storage & Serve ware While you shop your kitchen, make sure you pick up the right storage for your staples and perishables. Using the right containers, canisters and jars can not only increase the shelf life of your ingredients but it can also ensure that your food stays fresh and away from pests that can ruin the ingredients. There are plenty of storage options available in plastic, steel, glass and other metals. Depending on your usage, pick out the ones that suit your budget and needs. Lastly, pick a set of serve ware such as bowls, plates, spoons, forks etc. Serving your culinary creations in a presentable manner is the final step of cooking.
As you take a trip to the supermarket or the mall to pick up these items, you will also come across many more kitchen hacks that will make cooking a breeze. It may be something as basic oven mitts, drawer organizers, bag seal clips or a set of baking tools, these can be great additions to your kitchen. Keep in mind your budget and pick the relevant options that you know you would need and use extensively. A new kitchen is like a blank slate for an artist, gather your tools and start creating culinary magic.
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