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Useful utensils


Useful utensils

Mediterranean and Asian cooking doesn't require any fancy or expensive cooking equipment. Here's a basic range of kitchen equipment you'll find yourself using regularly to perform all kinds of kitchen tasks:

  • Chef's knife. A good quality chef's knife is indispensable in a MediterrAsian kitchen. To prepare Mediterranean and Asian recipes, ingredients are usually cut into small pieces for cooking in a variety of ways, like stir-frying and sautéing, so it helps to use the best knife for the job. A chef's knife is an all-purpose tool used for chopping, cutting, slicing and dicing.
  • Chopping board. A large chopping board is essential in a MediterrAsian kitchen because most recipes involve at least some chopping.
  • Baking dish. Used for roasting, and to cook gratins, pies and bakes. The all-purpose versions that can go straight from the oven to table to fridge or freezer save the extra work of transferring and storing the contents.
  • Colander. Perfect for draining pasta and noodles, and handy for rinsing vegetables.
  • Food processor. A useful appliance for puréeing soups and sauces, making fresh breadcrumbs, and grinding nuts. A food processor is also a quick and easy alternative to a traditional mortar and pestle for making pesto, hummus and curry pastes.
  • Skillet/frying pan. A large, heavy-based skillet/frying pan has almost unlimited uses including searing foods like salmon or chicken, sautéing and poaching, and it's ideal for making frittatas and omelets.
  • Wok. An invaluable addition to your MediterrAsian kitchen for stir-frying, braising and steaming. Use a traditional wok on your stovetop (flat-bottomed for electric stovetops, round-bottomed with stand for gas).
  • Pots and Pans. Heavy-based saucepans (complete with tight-fitting lids) are a good choice because the contents can simmer gently on the stovetop without the bottom burning. A large pot is perfect for making batches of soups, stews and curries, and doubles as a pasta cooking pot. A medium-sized pot is useful for preparing rice and sauces, and boiling eggs among an endless list of other uses.
  • Grater. Get one which has a few grating options for fine, medium and coarse grating to suit different ingredients like cheese, carrots and apples.
  • Measuring cup. It's useful to have a see-through measuring cup marked with ¼, ½ and ¾ graduations, or use a set of measuring cups.
  • Mortar and pestle. Used for grinding and crushing herbs, nuts, and spices. Can also be used to make pastes and sauces.
  • Mixing bowls. Made of glass, stainless-steel or plastic (the more presentable types can also be used as serving dishes). It's useful to have one large bowl, a medium-sized bowl and a small sized bowl.
  • Pastry brush. Ideal for brushing olive oil onto bread to make bruschetta, croutons, and pan-fried sandwiches. It's also useful for brushing food like chicken or fish with oil before cooking and to baste foods with marinades during grilling.
  • Pepper grinder. To transform whole peppercorns into freshly ground pepper.
  • Turner. The perfect utensil for lifting and tossing foods. Ideal for flipping fish and chicken fillets, tossing eggs, and stir-frying.
  • Measuring Spoons. You'll need a teaspoon and a tablespoon for measuring ingredients.
  • Sushi mat (makisu). This inexpensive bamboo mat is essential for making Japanese sushi rolls.
  • Vegetable peeler. A handy utensil for all kinds of peeling tasks.
  • Citrus zester. The zest of citrus fruits, particularly lemons and limes, really adds a delicate zing to dishes such as pastas, curries, marinades and salad dressings.
  • Garlic press. A handy item which makes mincing garlic a breeze.