Hi, Ray here again.
Every now and again I get asked if I have a tawa or karahi or tandoor to help me make all of the curries and side dishes that I review on the Curry Focus website.
Are you kidding me? Of course not. I don’t live in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. I have a more or less average kitchen with the usual appliances and utensils.
So just what appliances and utensils do I use for my adventures in curry land?
Well I’ve got the usual assortment of saucepans, knives (the knives must be sharp – I’ve got a small paring knife that I mainly use for removing the skin from ginger root and a large chef’s knife that I use for cutting up vegetables and meat), mixing bowls, sieve, spatulas, pastry brush, wooden spoons and tongs. I’ve got a big slotted spoon and serving spoon.
My favourite kitchen utensil is my big cast-iron frying pan (with its cast-iron lid). I’ve had this frying pan for years and cook most of my curries in it.
I suppose my most often-used utensils are a garlic press, grater (for grating fresh ginger) and teaspoons, with the teaspoons being used the most of all. Most curry recipes have the spices measures in teaspoon units (I suppose this all started way back as most people would have at least one teaspoon).
Spice and ingredient measurements also commonly use the tablespoon. I don’t have any tablespoons but this is not a problem because there are 3 teaspoon measures in a tablespoon measure – I just use 3 teaspoon measures if I need to put in a tablespoon of something. Having said that, I do have a set of measuring spoons but never really use them – the teaspoon is really all I use.
I do have a set of measuring cups (1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup measures) but only really use the 1/2 and 1 cup measures.
You can see that there’s nothing in that lot which wouldn’t be in most kitchens. Well, apart from the pastry brush which I did buy specifically to use when making samosas and naan bread.
The one set of utensils that I did buy was a roti board and rolling pin. These are a must for making roti – I find is easier using the roti board than trying to use the workbench – and the board is just the right size for making roti, funnily enough.
I bought a mortar and pestle early on in my curry-making days. But I hardly use it because I soon learned that a spice grinder makes grinding spices so easy. My spice grinder is only for spices – I don’t use it for grinding coffee.
Which now brings me to the kitchen appliances.
The one that I use the most, apart from the spice grinder, is the kitchen scales. I’ve got digital scales that can measure liquid (water) volume as well as weight. It’s pretty nifty, if I say so myself. I measure every ingredient accurately when I’m trying out a recipe for the first time.
I’ve recently had to buy a new food processor since the old one started to shake itself apart. And the food processor gets well used.
Of course, the standard kitchen oven is used now and again but most of the cooking takes place on the ceramic (electric) hobs.
And finishing off my list of kitchen appliances is a deep fat fryer. It has a temperature gauge that stops me from setting fire to the kitchen and is great at making chips (yes, I do know that chips are not part of a standard curry, but they taste great).
Another extra thing that I use a lot is a stopwatch. I use it all of the time when cooking. I don’t have a separate stopwatch – I just use the one in my mobile phone. It lets me time cooking steps down to the second.
One thing that I have never gotten round to buying is a full size rolling pin. I don’t need one because I’ve got an empty wine bottle that works just as well (if my roti rolling pin is too small for the job in hand).
So there you go. Mostly of my curry-making utensils and appliances are pretty standard. Only the roti board and spice grinder have been specially bought to help satisfy my curry cravings.
Not a tawa or karahi or tandoor in sight.