Working in the kitchen could be a pleasure, if we possess the right equipment to accomplish tasks. Apt contrivances are a good bargain for the dreariness and cumbersomeness of tasks they reduce, the time and energy they save. Who would not give them a nod, when all they do is simplify work and in the process render food tastier, with better aesthetics! Presented below are some simple kitchen gadgets that are worth buying:
- Coffee Frother: Most people wake up to a hot cup of Joe. To make this first drink a better brew, use the coffee frother – a battery-operated device with a coiled spring that twirls around in the beverage, foaming it up and mixing the ingredients. It leaves a much frothier and desirable cuppa, than when the spoon is used to stir in the sugar. The froth also maintains the temperature of the beverage a little longer.
- Apple Corer: Eight slices in just one press. Take care to place the central part of the equipment over the fruit core, press with little pressure to separate the core and get uniform sized slices. It can also be used for pears.
- Orange Peeler: This is not an absolute necessity, but on using it just once, you would love to own one. The peeler introduces so much ease and convenience into the mundane task. The hook-like end of the peeler is used to dig into the rind and the curved end to peel it off – no squirting of juice involved. Free hands may be good enough to do the job, but the peeler is always better.
- Can Opener: Opening canned foods like beans, mushrooms, tuna and ghee is never an ordeal with a can opener in the kitchen. Clutch the rim of the can between the wheel-like parts of the opener and spin the handle to cut the lid around the circumference of the container. It comes handy and helps to achieve the job with minimal energy and without any mess.
- Knife Sharpener: Injuries occur in kitchen more often due to blunt knives than sharp ones. To avoid injuries and to manipulate fruits and vegetables efficiently as desired, use a sharpener to whet knives. Slide the cutting edge of the knife to and fro through the slit provided in the sharpener, atleast half a score times. Repeat the process periodically, probably once a week for better maintenance of knives. Caution: In general, any knife with serrated cutting edge (bread or tomato knife) should not be sharpened.
- Salad Spinner: Any salad enthusiast would love this tool, especially if he incorporates a lot of greens in his salad. The inner chamber can be used to rinse and clean fruits, vegetables and greens whereas the outer chamber doubles as a serving bowl. Swirl around the lid to drain away excess water from washed salad veggies in the inner chamber into the outer one. Repeat swirling as required to prepare a crispy salad without sogginess.
- Wooden Spoons: Be it spoons, ladles or spatulas in wood, they not only help in cooking, plating and serving but also in safeguarding specially coated kitchenware. If you have non-stick utensils, then go in for wooden spoons. These do not produce scratches or wear off the special treatment coating from the vessels, like the metal ones do. Silicone-coated spoons are costlier alternatives to these. For some real good tips on how to clean and disinfect wooden cooking utensils, click here.
- Grater: This comes with separate coarse, medium and fine blades, a slicer and a combination blade – a standby in case any of the other blade goes missing (Don’t lose the combination blade). Grating zest, veggies, fruits, chocolates, cheese, slicing plantain or potatoes can all be done with this one aid. Grated vegetables reduce cooking time. With the same recipe, a pugath can be cooked in half the time using grated vegetables (carrot or beetroot) rather than diced ones.
- Coconut Scraper: People who often use coconut in their recipes, like the Indians do in poriyal, kootu, chutney, avial and khurma, would consider this scraper an asset. Wet the base of the equipment with water and fix it on a leveled surface; position the scraper into the cut half of the coconut and go about spinning the handle to get the scrapings. Chutneys made from coconut scrapings blended in a mixer, always have a better texture than those made from pieces cut and ground.
- Nut Cracker: I know you are all visualizing the nut crackers meant for smaller nuts like walnuts or almonds. But, when I say nut here, I refer to the bigger nut-coconut, cracking of which poses sort of a difficulty in the kitchen. Back home in India, it is a routine in many households to break open a coconut by hitting it against a hard surface like the clothes washing stone (so common in the backyard of houses) or grinding stone (almost obsolete now). The absence of such options here, left me helpless for quite a while. But lucky me, I found the sickle – Thanks to my friend who got it all the way from India. The tool may look scary, but it accomplishes the mission perfectly well. Soak the coconut in water for about 10-15 min so that it is easy to remove the fiber. Then hit hard on the center of the nut with the sickle…no more than a couple of hits is required usually…it is split into two perfect halves. Any smaller, friendlier looking gizmo on mind that would serve the purpose? Pen it down in the comments.
Happy Cooking 🙂