When I googled ‘Indian Kitchens’ while writing this article, the page that popped up had articles on modern Indian kitchens and urban Indian kitchen design. Nowhere the old fashioned kitchens that we had in our parent’s times. However, kitchen tools haven’t changed much, except for a Teflon coating here and a plastic handle there, and the Indian housewife plays savvy magician with all these at her disposal.
There are so many cooking tools that I can’t explain all of them here but I’ll write about some of them.
Rolling pin- Also known as the belan in Hindi, it is made of wood or plastic and used to roll chapatis, parathas and puris (Indian flatbreads eaten with meals). It’s better half is known as the chakla and is the base (made of marble, steel or aluminium) on which the flatbread is laid out and rolled.
Tongs- Tongs or Chimta or Chimti, as they are called in Hindi, are used to lift hot vessels that don’t have heat resistant handles on them. Another lighter variation of tongs are also used to delicately flip chapatis on the gas stove and cook them. This flipping of chapatis is quite an art in itself.
Slotted spoon- This kitchen tool is usually used to drain out fried puris or pakoras from hot oil, and it an important Indian kitchen essential.
Tadka pan- This is a beautiful invention, a small pan with a long heat resistant handle attached to it which allows one to make tadka, or sauté spices to add to curries , dals and vegetables.
Frying pan, wok, or kadhai– This is a deep bottomed pan, used to cook different dishes such as vegetables or biryani or even fry stuff.
Thalis– Now a days most Indians eat out of plates made of glass, ceramic or melamine but on festivals they bring out their beautiful steel, silver or mixed metal thalis(plates) to eat meals from. These also have katoris which are about the size of 1/2 a cup each, to fill with dal and curries and sweet dishes.
Spice box- The masala box is every housewife’s favourite companion in the kitchen. It has small katoris within it to store different everyday spices in it. It has a tightly fitted cover to keep the spices fresh.
There are many more kitchen essentials that play a part in the Indian housewife’s kitchen. Her kitchen is versatile, imaginative and a paradise to make magic while cooking for family and friends.