Food and cooking are a very integral part of our life, at some point or another, even if you don’t like cooking, you will of had to step into the kitchen to feed your stomach as takeaways cannot always be an option. The first thing everyone does when cooking is check in their fridge and cupboards for what’s there to eat or what to add to make a decent meal. For me studying culinary arts management and considering my passion for food, I always have some essentials in my cupboard stocked up, which helps me every day when I cook. Here are a few cupboard essentials I always have in my cupboard and can help you in the future while cooking…
Herbs and Spices
Coming from India, I have been bought up on food high in flavour topped with many herbs and spices. I love using my spices while cooking and will make way for them in some way no matter what I cook; the dish has got to have my own flare as I cook. My one whole big shelf is just dedicated to herbs and spices, which I use daily, either be it marinations, stir-fries, curries, you name it. If you don’t have spices at home, I would suggest investing in some to spice up your everyday meals. The most common ones I use are chilli powder (obvious reasons), smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried mixed herbs, Chinese 5-spice, coriander powder and garam masala. The list doesn’t end here, but I have got too many.
Different type of Flours
Flour is a versatile item and can be used in many ways; most of us already know that it was one of the first things to vanish off the shelves in supermarkets in the first lockdown with everyone making their own bread, cakes, cookies, etc. It is an essential thing to have in your cupboard as you never know when you will need it, and it doesn’t cost a lot either, with the shelf life being long too. I am a bit extra as I have got different flours in my cupboard like plain flour, wheat flour, and gram flour as I use them a lot in various dishes, but you know best what kind of flour you like using.
Yet another very versatile cupboard essential which is used in a lot of cuisines and goes well as a side with many different dishes. You can pair it with anything, and it is quite healthy to eat and can be prepared in many different ways, plain boiled rice, egg-fried rice, pilau, etc. It is another very affordable item which isn’t bad to have as it’s quick to prepare and doesn’t take much effort.
Where the other items I mentioned are already found in many household cupboards, lentils aren’t a very staple food here in the UK if I compare it to India as we have it almost every day. They are high in protein and can be added to anything giving it a nice flavour and texture profile, be it stews, soup or curries. If you are looking to try something new, I suggest you make some ‘Tadka Daal’ promise you won’t regret it. Here is a recipe if you click on this link
I make pasta almost every other day; therefore, I always have it in my cupboard. It’s good if you make it fresh, but dried pasta works as well and gets the job done. All I gotta do is make a quick sauce, boil some pasta, and that’s my dinner ready for the night, and if you feel fancy, try all different kinds of recipes as you will find all different varieties of pasta in the supermarket to store for every occasion; gnocchi, spaghetti, penne, macaroni. Whichever one you fancy, just keep it stored in your cupboard for pasta night.
Not the healthiest of options, but the quickest and easiest to prepare. Yeah, I know I am studying to be a chef, but everyone has their lazy days, and ramen has always been my comfort food and, as a student, very affordable when you are tight on budget. I always have ramen in my cupboard as it is a must-have for me and always will be, and if you have time, you can spice it up by adding veggies, meat or anything you fancy; it makes it a complete meal, but only have it in moderation.
These things help me when I cook, or I always have them to make my life easier when I am busy; hopefully, some of them can help you.