Category Archives: KITCHEN EQUIPMENT – My Favorite Things

French Fries “Bag” with Stand

That is the name – as on the box – of this cute little holder for fries that I bought at Casa today. I fell in love with this dish as soon as a I spotted it.

It will do equally well for potato wedges, or other small-ish sized finger foods, I think.

It reminded me, when I saw it in the store today, of the humble paper donas, so common in India, that are used to hold street foods like peanuts, spiced or roasted chana and jhaal muri which is still the one thing I look forward to on train rides that go across Bihar or West Bengal.

I have sometimes seen similar paper bags being used here too, to sell roasted chestnuts and caramelized peanuts during fairs, though they are not

as common a sight.

I thought the girls might get a kick out of this, to see their beloved wedges served in this dish. But more because it is such a reminder of times past, I decided I just had to buy this !

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Thingummyjig for turning tikkis/serving fish

I am not sure what this little turner – a miniature version of a serving spoon for rice (the latter is often called a “haath” i.e hand) – is called in Hindi.

It is so handy for turning over tikkis as you fry them. Larger-sized turners can be awkward to wield in the limited space there is between the five or six tikkis that one typically cooks at one go.

I saw it first in Ayesha’s kitchen a couple of years ago. When I described it to Ma on the phone, she appeared to know exactly what I meant and brought me a couple of these on her trip here last April.

It takes all the pain out of making tikkis.

What’s more, I use it now to lift portions of steamed/baked fish off the skin before serving it on to plates, another quite tricky – for me – task made easy by this spoon.

Thank you Ayesha, thank you Ma !

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A Fantastic Herb Chopper

This is just the coolest kitchen tool, one that’s always such a pleasure to use.

As Bou di says, there is something almost elegant about it.

I got this one from IKEA and it works like a beauty.

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Butter Churner

This kitchen tool is not exactly a favorite.

But it deserves its own post here to record the memory of this evening, when the story of “The Three Little Pigs” led us to attempt making butter by hand…

One of my not-favorite memories of my Ma’s kitchen is of all the times I was roped in to help make the butter. It required working, with one of these hand-operated churners, the large quantities of cream she collected ( this was done over several days by removing the layer of cream formed on top of each day’s supply of milk- delivered fresh every day by the neighrborhood doodhvala –  after it had been boiled, and adding it to the previous days’ collection which was stored in a large pot or box in the fridge) . The process always seemed never-ending and very tiring.  So, much as I enjoyed helping her in the kitchen, I simply dreaded being around when Ma took the cream out with the intention of making butter with it !

But these churners do have other uses, such as to make daal more smooth, if the grains do not appear as well-blended as they should be, so I do have one in my kitchen too, though until today I had never thought I’d ever use it to make butter.

Then, some days ago, Noor wanted to know what a butter-churn is. The version of  “The Three Little Pigs”  we were reading that night says that the third pig hid himself inside a butter churn to escape the wolf and I found myself suggesting that we could try and make butter ourselves, with the kind of churner I have, to understand how this works.

The girls of course jumped at the idea since they love any such experiments.

Which is how Shri and I found ourselves bent this evening over a bowl of creme entiere, churning away, as we all watched the news after dinner.

Here’s the result of over half an hour of our hard work  –

I do look forward to eating this with a parantha tomorrow 🙂

Sometimes, when in Ma’s kitchen we happened to make the butter in time for breakfast – she planned it this way when possible –  a pat of the freshly made butter on a hot aloo ka parantha made the effort suddenly worthwhile

The girls could not stop exclaiming about the effort this task involved as Shri and I worked at it. Well, I certainly hope they’ll remember this particular experiment !

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Fait-Tout

“Fait-tout” is French for “do everything” and this large saucepan/pot in my kitchen, called a “Fait-Tout”, really does do everything.

Whether I need a thick bottomed pan for making paneer, kheer, coconut laddoos or carrot halwa; a large sized pot for cooking sphaghetti or making a large batch of soup which involves sauteing and then simmering a lot of vegetables for a long time; a pan that is large enough to accommodate as many gulabjamuns as one packet of the Gits mixture produces (at least 30-40) without squashing/smashing any of them – this pot is the perfect answer.

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Coconut Grater

Could anything be simpler or quicker for the purpose?

I am eternally grateful to my sister in law Vasanti for introducing me to this cool little implement. Shri has now mastered the art of using it too, and makes quick work of grating both halves of a fresh coconut as he watches television or talks to the girls.

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An Ancient Chopper

I have yet to find an equivalent machine here for making the peanut koot that goes in to a great carrot salad, in khamang kakdi and in peanut raita.

Other grinders I have tried to use for this make too fine a powder out of the peanuts, not the almost even-sized little pieces I like my koot to be made up of, that retain a bite.

So though the lid of the bowl has a crack now and a piece of the jar has broken off the base somewhere along the way in the 12 years since I bought it, I hang on to it…

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