Walk into any kitchen and you will be bombarded and floored with many electronic appliances and gadgets of the latest technology. Although, these electronic gadgets and appliances have now become a âmust-havesâ, there are however other things without which a home maker cannot do. These are the Kitchen tools. Being used since decades, the kitchen tools are the unsung heroes of your cooking space that lie in a corner or a drawer ever so humbly. Though, there are several of the essential kitchen tools used by world class chefs and homemakers, Alwaysfoodie brings you some of the most essential kitchen tools that come in handy and are quite a life saver.
1. Cutting board
One of the oldest, basic, frequently used and the most important tools in the kitchen is the cutting board. Used for cutting and chopping fruits, vegetables and meat, its primary purpose is to protect the kitchen countertops from the cut marks that occur while cutting various food items. Another purpose of using cutting board is that while cutting some of the food items, many of them release juices that can stain the kitchen countertop and release their colors or smells which can be difficult to wash off. Cutting boards today come in many materials like plastic, wooden, marble, steel, toughened or tempered glass etc. Though these cutting boards are available in different materials, it is however advisable to buy boards of different shapes and sizes to avoid cross-contamination of food with unwanted odors. For e.g. a separate cutting board can be maintained for raw meat and fish, fruits and for vegetables.
2. Y-shaped vegetable peeler
One of the cheapest tools in the kitchen is the Y shaped vegetable peeler. Also known as âHarp Peelerâ; because of the way it is designed, it is ultra-comfortable to use as it enables you to handle and peel vegetables with thicker skin and reduce the risk of accidental cuts on your hands. The Y shaped is much more preferred than the straight ones as it is quite versatile when it comes to functionality. This peeler not only peels the skin of the vegetables, it also comes in handy to make cheese and chocolate shavings and curls, shaving and creating lemon or orange zests, carving out thin curly ribbons of veggies like carrots and cucumbers and shaving thin slices of margarine and butter.
3. Chefâs knife
Also known as a French knife or a cook’s knife, it is the most indispensable tool used in kitchens. Originally and primarily designed to chop, slice and disjoint large portions of meat, it is now used to perform different kitchen tasks like mincing, slicing, and chopping vegetables, smashing garlic, etc. A typically long knife, it has an edge that curves upward with a fine point at its tip. While the center of the chef’s knife, called the cutting edge, is used for cutting and slicing different foods, its tip however is used to cut small soft foods like mushrooms and green onions.
4. Mortar and pestle
A reminder of Grandmaâs era, the mortar and pestle is a ânever-take-it-for-grantedâ and ânever-let-goâ asset of the kitchen. In this modern age of mixers, grinder and food processors, the mortar and pestle is one such tool of a kitchen that will never let you down. Unlike the electronic gadgets which work on power and which may go out of order anytime leaving you frustrated, the mortar and pestle requires no power but just a little bit of effort. In addition to this, while one uses food processors for large batches of spices, the same cannot be used if one needs to grind a few tablespoons. It is during those times a mortar and pestle comes in handy. Another advantage of this tool is that it helps retain the flavor of the spices and herbs as well as gently release the natural oils in herbs and spices, while on the other hand the food processors overheat them.
Tongs are gripping, grasping and lifting tools that are used in every kitchen. While their handles look like a pair of scissors, they have a flat bottom so that they can firmly grab hold of food items. The functionalities of tongs are uncountable as tongs are used for serving salads, fruit pieces, cheese cubes, bakery items like muffins, cakes and pies as well as sausages, hot dogs, grilled meats and barbecues. They are also used to pick up steamed vegetables, stir-fry and fried food items, baked or roasted potatoes, cooked corn, boiled eggs, etc. Simply put, tongs do it all, like pull hot trays from the oven, scoop, turn, stir, lift, flip, pinch and what not!!
Frying and sautÃ©ing is almost an everyday kitchen task for homemakers and chefs. It is for these purposes that skillets come into picture. Itâs what our moms, their moms and their previous generations have been using. A versatile and handy tool, skillet is a pan with a flat bottom pan. Also known as a frying pan or simply a fry pan, it lasts for a long time and is used for frying eggs, making omelets, searing steaks, braising, cooking fish, and sautÃ©ing vegetables, creating sauces, baking foods etc. Though traditionally, skillet was made from copper and cast iron which is actually a must for every kitchen and also a very healthy way to cook, one can now find a skillet in many makes and metals like aluminum, stainless steel, Teflon etc.
Shaped like a bowl, colander is another useful tool used in the kitchen. Although, traditionally it was made of aluminum, these days there come a wide variety of colanders in different metals or plastic and in different shapes and sizes. This is highy beneficial in straining and for draining certain food items such as pasta or rice as it has several perforations all over it. Also known as pasta strainer or kitchen sieve, it is also used to drain canned vegetables, cleaning legumes, preparing salads, washing vegetables, etc.
One of the unsung heroes of a kitchen, the grater is a kitchen tool that shreds and grates, strips, powders, slices vegetables, cheese, and meats into short ribbon like curls of varying thicknesses. Also used in grating herbs, spices, and harder cheeses, strips of citrus zest or ginger, these normally have a shape similar to a cow bell with a handle on the top for better grasp and are four sided with holes of different sizes.
9. Silicone spatula
Workhorse tools of the kitchen, silicone spatulas have replaced the traditional rubber and wooden spatulas. Also known by names of tosser, turner and flipper, the spatula is used for folding meringues and stirring cake batter, scr
ambling eggs and stir-frying. Silicone spatulas are heat resistant and do not stain or retain odors easily. Also used for mixing both dry and wet food items as well as scraping bowls, they do not damage the surfaces of non-stick pots and pans like metal spatulas do.
10. Instant-read thermometer
An instant-read thermometer is also an essential digital device used in the kitchen to determine whether the meat or breads have been perfectly cooked. A small handheld device, it allows the user to take readings quickly during cooking. Though this device was traditionally in a meter gauge form, it has now taken a new avatar; that of a digital one. A digital instant-read thermometer is a device with a long temperature probe and a digital meter reading. All one has to do is to insert the probe deep into the food item and within seconds, one can view the temperature reading.