By Renu Jain Chandarana
When it comes to South Asian cooking, especially if you’re meal-planning or cooking for the whole week for the family, time can be an issue so having a toolbox of staple gadgets in your arsenal can make all the difference.
Here are some of my top picks for staples in the kitchen (NOT IN ANY PARICULAR ORDER)
1) A mini grater
A mini grater is perfect for adding just the right amount of ginger to your chai or grating in a touch more garlic into your curry. (Just remember to wash it well before your next cup of chai!) I have even used it for fresh whole turmeric root and this mini grater is perfect for sloughing off a teensy amount of turmeric into a golden milk steamer or a bubbling masala mix for curries.
2) A lemon/lime squeezer
Have you ever made daal or a curry and asked someone to taste it? What are you missing? What do you need to add to make it better? For me, it never fails; lemon and salt. I love this lemon and lime squeezer because it will fit both fruit sizes since limes are generally smaller. There is something therapeutic about throwing in a half of a lemon or lime and squeezing those two handles together feeling the squidgy tension of the fruit and then hearing the voluminous splash that follows. No seeds in your food and no juice in your papercuts. Note: Use the mini grater for zesting these lemons and limes too!
3) Small powerful Food Processor
eg. A Magic Bullet
Need a quick ginger, onion garlic puree? Need a tomato, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and onion puree? How about coriander or coconut chutney for 1 or 2 servings only? Relinquish those days of crying over chopped onions and save your manicure from acid-induced stingy-wrinkly tomato fingers. Drop in the nubbins of each into the mini processor and pulse to chop or whiz to liquefy. Life changing and life-saving
4) Rice Cooker
Any one will do.
I can’t live without my rice cooker. I use it to make quinoa, jasmine rice, wild rice, and beautiful long glorious strands of Basmati rice. I can put the grain of choice into the cooker and not worry about it. It goes into a keep warm setting once complete. You don’t need to watch a pot on a stove and best of all, you can fluff up the individual grains and you will have perfect rice (or quinoa!) every time. Ordering take-out? Save your money on the steamed rice and make it at home in the time it takes for your food to get delivered!
5) Pressure Cooker
Whether it’s a Vinod cooker from India or the famous Instant Pot: Stovetop pressure cookers are wonderful and my mother has been using them for 50 years. I love the variety of sizes and simplicity of it – no electronics. I do love the Instant Pot too because on busy days, I can multi-task by cooking dinner in the Instant Pot and working on homework with the kids. Make Rajma, Chole, Daal, Meat Curries and Veggie Curries in half the time it would normally take.
Hint – drop rice into the rice cooker in tandem and you’ve got rice and curry….in a hurry!
What are your go-to gadgets ? We’d love to hear your thoughts below! Or tweet us your thoughts at @masalamommas on twitter to join our conversation.
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