If you are a budding chef keen on making it big, you need to make sure you have the right appliances. A well-equipped kitchen can go a long way in making cooking more enjoyable. It can help you turn out great dishes and try new techniques. It can make you more confident as a cook, and encourage you to push your limits.
In this article we have made a list of the top 5 kitchen appliances budding chef needs.
Multi-burner gas stove
The market today is inundated with gas stoves of all kinds. There are 2-burner, 3-burner and 4-burner stoves. There are manual stoves and auto-ignition stoves. There are portable counter-mounted stoves and hobtops that come pre-installed in the cooking counter. With so many options around us, it can sometimes be little confusing to know what is right for us and what isn’t. If you just learning to cook, here’s what you need to know about gas-stoves.
When it comes to the number of burners, the general rule is that it depends on the size of the family or the number of people to be fed. If you are a family of 3 or 4 people, a 2-burner stove should suffice. If your family has more members, say around 8 to10 people, a 3-burner stove is more suitable. If your family is still bigger, you had better go with a 4-burner stove.
But the size of the family is not the only criterion for deciding how many burners your stove should have. You must also consider the space available to install the stove. For this, measure the kitchen counter where you are going to place the stove and accordingly set about choosing a model. It must fit the space comfortably, leaving a few extra inches on all 4 sides. You also don’t want it eating into your prep area. Typically, a 4-burner stove needs more depth as it is more like a square. A 3-burner stove is wider/longer as the burners are lined up one after the other like a broad V. A 2-burner stove is more compact and fits most standard Indian kitchen slabs.
The other factor that you need to consider is your ability to multi-task. If you are someone who can have multiple dishes going at the same time, you should get yourself a 4 or 3-burner gas stove. If you can only focus on one or two dishes at a time, you should probably stick to a 2-burner stove.
If you need to turn out dishes more quickly (say, if you are a chef at a restaurant), a 4-burner cooktop would be more helpful. Also, if you need different flame intensities from different burners, a 4-burner stove will be more capable of offering you what you need.
Once you have decided on the number of burners, you can choose whether you want a manual ignition stove or an auto-ignition one. Manual stoves need a gas lighter or match stick to start the flame. Auto-ignition stoves have a built-in mechanism that ignites the flame when you turn the dial.
Finally, you need to ask yourself whether you require a portable gas stove or a built-in hob. The first is easy to transport while moving houses. The second is integrated into the interior framework of the kitchen and might or might not be removable.
In conclusion, we can say that to be able to cook amazing dishes, you need a good gas stove that is best suited for your unique cooking needs. Typically, a multi-burner gas stove gives you more options than a traditional dual-burner variant. If you are just starting out as a cook, and hope to be a great chef someday, it might be a wide idea to invest in a multi-burner stove.
The microwave oven is another appliance that can set you on the path to becoming a great chef. There are many things you can do with a microwave oven. You can cook food, bake stuff, reheat leftovers, boil water and even disinfect kitchen towels. Cooking with a microwave oven is often faster than cooking with traditional means like gas stoves and electric induction burners. It is cleaner and less messier. It is more organized and needs less number of utensils which saves water and effort. The food retains its nutritional value and is healthier than food cooked by conventional methods like sautéing, frying and grilling. There are no grimy tiles, counters and cabinets as oil droplets are not splattered everywhere. If anything is spilled during cooking, it remains inside the oven and can easily be wiped with a wet towel.
Also, because there are no naked flames, it is safer than a stove with burners. The cooking utensil does not heat up as it is microwave transparent. The oven directly heats up the food and the food in turn heats up the utensil it is in. This makes it easier to take the utensil out of the oven.
Cooking during hot summer months is easier with a microwave oven. You don’t have to sweat it out in front of a burning stove in 40 ᵒC temperature. As no naked flames are involved, your kitchen stays cooler and your work environment is more comfortable.
Apart from the regular cooking, baking and roasting, you can use your microwave oven to disinfect kitchen items such as towels, sponges and plastic chopping boards. Just soak the items in lemon juice and pop them in the oven for about a minute. It destroys harmful microbes that colonize these items and keeps you free from infections.
Another benefit of microwave ovens is that they all come with timers. Just set the timer and carry on with your other tasks. The device turns itself off when the set cooking time elapses.
All in all, as an amateur chef, you will find the microwave oven a whole lot more convenient. It is easy to use and maintain. It shrinks your cooking time, and allows you to devote more time to your recipes and techniques.
The third appliance you need to focus on is the kitchen chimney. A good chimney is essential for keeping your kitchen and the appliances in it neat and clean. It removes all fumes, steam and spices emitted during cooking. It sucks up the irritants and expels them from the house, leaving your indoors clean and fresh. In the absence of a chimney, soot and oil droplets released during cooking remain trapped inside the kitchen and settle on walls, floors, tiles, ceilings, cabinets and gadgets. It imparts a grimy look to the kitchen and you have to clean it more often.
As an aspiring chef, it is important that you settle for nothing but the best kitchen chimney in the Indian market. Apart from the obvious benefits mentioned above, you will be able to see what you are cooking more clearly as chimneys come with LED lights that add extra brightness to the stove area. You will be spared the incessant coughing and sneezing due to too much smoke. Plus, your appliances will last longer and your cooking area will stay squeaky clean.
If your cooking is oil-based and there is a lot of frying and sautéing involved, we would suggest you go for a baffle filter chimney as it is better suited for handling grease. If your cooking methods involve less oil, you can opt for a chimney with cassette filters. If you expect to use plenty of pungent ingredients, you might want to choose a chimney that has an activated charcoal filter to take down odors and aromas.
If you expect to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you should certainly consider installing a kitchen chimney. It is a long-term investment and one that will bear you good returns. Depending on the layout of your kitchen you can opt for a wall-mounted, island, corner or built-in chimney. It can be ducted or non-ducted.
Your chimney should match the size of your cooktop and the area of your kitchen. The size of a chimney is indicated by the width of its hood. There are two main sizes of chimneys: 60 cm and 90 cm. A 60-cm chimney is perfect for small to medium-sized kitchens with 2- or 3-burner stoves. A 90-cm chimney is ideal for medium to large-sized kitchens with 3 or 4 burners. Also, remember that the hood should cover the cooktop completely otherwise it will not be able to suck up all the smoke.
A rice cooker is a must have for any cook. It is a powered appliance for steaming and boiling rice, although it has other uses too. For instance, you can use it to make pulao, biryani and risotto. You can make porridge and pasta. You can steam vegetables and boil potatoes. You can even make soup, stew and dal. There is really no end to the list of things you can prepare with a rice cooker. It is a versatile appliance and one that every cook swears by.
The best thing about a rice cooker is that it can cook rice and also keep it warm till dinner time. You can reheat food cooked before. There are different pre-fixed cooking times for different varieties of rice like white rice, brown rice, etc. Some high-end models have different cooking times for different dishes like rice, biryani, soup and sambhar. All you have to do is put the ingredients in the cooking vessel, close the lid, set the dial to the right time depending on the dish and that’s it. When the time is over, the cooker shuts down its operation and the food is ready.
A rice cooker is a portable gadget which makes it an excellent choice for people who travel a lot. Some rice cookers come with a Delayed Cooking Timer which lets you set the cooking time for a later hour. At the designated time, the device starts cooking, and hot fresh meals are ready for you just on time.
If you are a new cook, a rice cooker can make your job a whole lot easier. It can take care of the rice and rice-based dishes and leave you free to focus on the curries and desserts. Cooking soft fluffy rice that doesn’t stick together is no easy task. But with a good rice cooker, you can nail it like a pro.
A hand mixer is a gadget used for mixing, beating, blending and whisking wet and dry ingredients. It is a handheld device and runs on electricity. It consists of a set of beaters, blender and hooks propelled by a motor housed inside the frame of the mixer. The beaters are dipped into the ingredients held in a bowl. They rotate and process the food, turning it into the desired form.
A hand mixer has many uses. It can be used to beat eggs, whip cream, blend cake batter and make dough for chapattis. From omelets to pancakes to pastries to cupcakes, a hand mixer can be used to make countless savory dishes.
As a budding chef, you could really benefit from a hand mixer. It makes cooking less messy and more convenient. It greatly reduces your prep time and allows you to have multiple dishes cooking at the same time. Getting the right consistency requires less effort and time. You spend less time beating and whisking stuff, and more time perfecting your art.
A hand mixer features different controls to customize its functions. You can adjust the speed of rotation, the type of rotation and set timers to fix the processing time. It affords you greater control over the preparation process and allows you to experiment with the food and whip up new dishes.
Hand mixers can be hand-cranked as well. These do not rely on electricity and are operated by hand. A manual hand mixer generally consists of a handle and a crank geared to the beaters. You need to hold the handle with one hand and rotate the crank with the other, and that gets the blades moving.