So the quarantine has made me venture into my least favourite part of my house, the kitchen. After years, and I mean years, of barely even managing to make toast, my boredom prevailed and I tenderly, hesitantly made my way to this daunting room. My house manager and cook Kishore, has been ruling our kitchen with an iron fist for as long as I can remember. He not only makes sure my family and dog are *over* fed, he is also in charge of breakfast for our Airbnb guests. He keeps his kitchen spotless and I've been scolded time and time again for creating havoc, another reason I don’t visit often.
The closest I’ve come to surviving by myself was in college in London when Kishore would send me off with pre-measured spice mixes and skype me (yes, the days of skype!) to make sure my sambar or daal was turning out okay. He would be shudder at my raagi mude- esque daal while all my English roommates would pretend to be impressed and tbh, they could make a better daal than me! Apart from the spices that Kishore sent me, I was still ill-equipped. My suitcase was full of art materials instead of the typical Indian rice cooker that everyones parents forces them to take. I didn’t have the pots and pans or basic condiment requirements like salt so I ended up eating mostly cereal and making friends with people who could cook!
Since college, I have designed many a kitchen for clients but I’ve never truly faced an empty one and the task of filling it seems overwhelming. The other two members of our team, Sulu and Karman have a little more experience, they’ve both moved away from their hometowns and so stocking up the kitchen from scratch is a little less daunting. Download the check-list at the bottom of the page and to help you with your first move into your new home or get the essentials for your college dorm. With the corona crisis, we’ve been trying to stock up the kitchen for two weeks at a time, so the essentials section becomes a handy check-list for your next grocery run.
Once your kitchen has been fitted, it’s time to get the basics done. Buying your appliances and connecting your gas. These are things that you definitely need to even start the process of feeding yourself or your family. Sulu suggests going private when it comes to gas, it’s a little more expensive but much faster and easier to get if you’re from out of town.
-Indian spices (listed in full below)
-Flour (Atta & Maida)
Pots & Pans:
You can always start with a few if you’re living on your own and keep on adding more, depending on how big your family/roommate situation is.
-Cast iron skillet/tawa/kadai
Once you level up, then invest in a deep frying pan and mixie grinder (this just widens the range). Pro level - baking accessories, oven and grill.
Cutlery & crockery:
Get your basic and everyday essentials but make sure you get something fun and quirky to make meal times more fun! Lots of storage containers always come in handy, we try to use stainless steel and glass for a zero waste kitchen.
-Spoons, forks, knifes
-Wooden spoons and ladels
- Rolling pin & cutting board
-Plates (large dinner plates, and salad plates)
-Glasses & mugs
-Bowls (all sizes for eating and storing food)
Some like it hot, and when it comes to spices we have way too many so here are a few to get you started!
-Crushed red pepper
-Fennel or dill seed
Rice and Grains:
Don't even look at this section if you're watching your carbs!
-Long-grain white rice
Snacks and Cereals:
You know that rule about not shopping while you are hungry? This is all the stuff we get when we break that rule. Karman says chocolate is the most important for those low days and extra snacks for emergencies (and believe me, she's had many an emergency).
-Cookies or biscuits
-Peanut butter or almond butter
- Custard Powder for instant dessert!
What is life without pickle? These bottles last forever so it ends up being a one time purchase and just adds a little zing to your meal, especially if you're bored of your home cooking. We've all been there!
-Hot sauce: Tabasco, Sriracha
In the fridge:
The fridge is the blackhole of my kitchen, once something goes in there, I forget about it's existence entirely so I try to use it for very limited number of things.
Always go seasonal and try to use left overs in green juices so nothing is wasted. Compost the rest! You can even start a home garden and grow some of the easier veg - mint, corriander, curry leaf, basil.
-Leafy greens: spinach, moringa, gongura
-Potatoes: sweet, white or new
-Tomatoes: grape, cherry
In the Freezer:
This is where I put most of my bulk buys, I don't like to waste so if I can't eat it, this is were a lot of my food ends up.
-Ground meat or sausage sausage
-Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-Vegetables: peas, chopped spinach or corn
-Fruit: berries, peaches or mangos
-Nuts: almonds, walnuts or pecans
-Vanilla ice cream
Optional (Things to have for special occasions):
-Balsamic, sherry vinegar, rice wine, white wine for fancy salad dressings.
-Dough: pizza, pie or puff pastry (order in advance and keep in the freezer)
-Flour: all purpose, whole wheat or pastry
-Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
-Chocolate: chips or bar
-Pure vanilla extract
The worst part. You can always make it a little more fun with these colourful scrubs from amazon.
-Sponge wipe (counter)
-Scrub pad (dishes)
-Steel scrub (dishes)
-Kitchen cloth (to handle the hot utensils, wipe them clean after washing)
Segregate the wet waste and dry waste separately and dispose them off in their respective garbage bins. You can always get a home composting kit which is the best use of your wet waste.