A completely stocked and equipped kitchen would be fantastic. But it isn't neccessary to start cooking excellent Western at home. Chef Eddie talks about some of his basic, but essential tools that makes cooking a less daunting task for all.
Always prepared... to cook!
You don’t need to empty the entire ‘kitchen utensils’ and ‘crockery’ section of the supermarket to be able to make Western dishes at home. Often, the tools I use in the kitchen are the same things that you would use for everyday cooking.
That said, there are some things that I absolutely cannot do without in my kitchen. So here are my kitchen essentials, or as I like to call it, The Western Masak Sempoi Startet Kit.
I use at least two: a big, general purpose French or Chef Knife, and a smaller Paring Knife. The chef knife I use for almost anything and everything, while the smaller paring knife is for more delicate work such as cutting vegetables and fruits, or seafood like shrimps and prawns.
You can get other, more dedicated knives along the way. For starters though, invest in a good Chef Knife with a good grip.
Speed Peelers and Graters
Sure, you can use that small utility knife, but come on, speed peelers just makes things so much easier! Get one that fits comfortably in your hand so you don’t get cramped.
Aside from peeling, you can use them to shave strips of vegetables, make chocolate and even cheese shavings. As for graters, get a box grater with different ‘grains’ or teeth for more grating options and to play around with textures.
An Assortment of Pots and Pans
Get some pots and pans ready for different purposes. You don't need all of them, a good medium sized pot and a good frying pan is a good starting point. Of course as you go along you can add a grill pan and crock pot to the mix.
I like to use: a flat, non-stick, straightforward slope-sided sauté pan for quick cooking and sautéing, and to sear foods. A heavy, cast iron pan (or grill pan) for burgers and steaks. A crock-pot, or a simple, small pot, for those hearty stews and soups. And a relatively deep wok or kuali for those deep fried stuff. Also, one big pot for stocks!
Utensils That Make Life Easier
Always have on hand tensils that'll make things easy for you.
I always love to have a pair of tongs nearby to pick-up piping hot food from the pot or fryer. A silicone spatula is excellent to scrape those stubborn bits of sauce and soup from a pot. A whisk, in various sizes, makes stirring lumpy stuff into smooth mixtures a cinch. Metal, plastic and wooden spoons, forks and scoops of various sizes come in handy too. And you can pick them up cheaply from a local mart or IKEA.
These appliances are so convenient to have. Again, you don't have to get the grade-A industrial stuff... just get the best stuff you can afford.
But to start with, a food processor with a pulse function should be top of your list. It will help you make great sauces, dressings and so forth without adding water. Not only that, it slices, dices and even mixes cake batter for you. Of course if you love baking a good, sturdy mixer is a good investment but for starters a hand beater can whisk up cakes for you quickly without too much washing up. Most people will have blenders and this is already good enough for marinades. Again, these will shortcut your time and allow you to experiment more.
So there you go. You don’t have to have everything in the list. And also, you don't need the latest brand name kitchen gadget or that expensive top of the line knife. Just try to get the best you can according to your budget. The most important thing is to keep them clean and well kept, always ready to start cooking!