Cookware here and there

9:03 PM

We never really realise how what we cook in is as much part of our culture as what goes into the pot, or how old we are.
Back in the days in Switzerland, I was living in a tiny studio apartment, my cookware was pretty basic: one medium flat bottomed frying pan, two sauce pans in size small and medium, and I added later on a huge pasta pot from Ikea because I liked the idea of the integrated strainer which meant just lifting the noodles out of the water and straight to the plate without a risky manoeuvre over my sink which was of course always full of dishes. While I used the damn pasta pan a lot, it took a whole lot of space in the tiny few kitchen cabinets I had yet I was insane enough to purchase a rice cooker to save space on my 2 hot plate stove which were laid out with one in front of the other, meaning that cooking two dish at once meant you would burn yourself having the arms over the steam emanating from the dish cooking in the front…clearly the genius who designed that “kitchen” never cooked in his life…ah the good old student days!
Of course when I shifted to India I donated my cookware to family member. Once settled and about ready to cook Indian food all the way, DH and I bought the bare necessities one need to cook desi food: a wok (called kadai in India), a concave bottomed tawa (flat pan to cook chapatti), one small pan to make tea, one bigger pan to boil the milk, and a pressure cooker.
Ha I hear some of my western friends or laugh or scratch their head because back home pressure cookers are the stuff from our grand ma’s kitchen, but it took me a few weeks in India to know that it wasn’t just an antique used to steam vegetables. Nope the pressure cooker is used to cook rice, and lentils, and while we are on the topic of lentils, I can’t help rolling my eyes when I find an Indian cooking recipe meant for people abroad telling them to soak the lentils and then cook for 45 minutes…no wonder Indian cooking has the reputation to be lengthy to cook. The pressure cooker mean you don’t need to soak most type of daily used lentils, and it cooks in just 15 minutes. needless to say that if you are serious about cooking Indian cuisine regularly, you need that piece of cookware in your kitchen.

Years have passed, DH likes my continental cuisine, and with it came the need for a little bit more pots and pans in the kitchen, we purchased a big sauce pan, a heavy bottomed frying pan, and a flat dosa tawa, which in all respect looks like the flat pan used to make French pancake, and in fact we use that one practically just for pancakes, we also got ourselves a small non-stick frying pan to make our morning eggs. I’ve been quite good at adapting certain continental dishes to cook in the wok, but with DH’s recent confession that he much prefers my continental skills to my Indian cuisine I decided to widen my repertoire a little and looked around for new recipe to try, but now am coming to the realisation that if I’m going to be serious about cooking more of the stuff from back home I will need at least a heavy cast iron flame proof casserole, the type my mom had, as quite a few dishes call for first a quit cooking on the stove and then a longer baking phase, and the flame proof casserole is one of these who can go straight from the stove to the oven without making the mess I did this weekend cooking a garlic chicken in creamy sauce.
I guess the cast iron casserole pot is as much a must in continental cooking as the pressure cooker is to Indian cuisine.
I have 2 pyrex baking dishes too , but they can’t go on the stove.

Kitchen related but not exactly cookware, a fully equipped continental kitchen isn’t complete without a few pie and cake dishes. Back when I was in Zurich in 2008 I found a small kitchen items shop that had the cutest stock of cookie cutter, and I also ended up buying mini pie dishes as well, so that I can make individual fruit pies or savoury “kiche” but I think I’ll have to find a bigger one, because we always end up feeling unsatisfied eating just 4 mini pies.

This weekend DH added two more dishes to his list of favourite continental fare: Oven roasted garlic chicken in creamy gravy. and mushroom risotto.

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  1. Gowtham12:02 PM

    Some of the cooking utensils in India such as Fry pan, Tawa are uniquely made to suit indian cooking type. In south India, people can find unique types of utensils such as Appam pan and Paniyaram pan, etc..

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