As any true gourmet will agree, Indian cuisine is in a class of its own—rich, aromatic and delicious! Each recipe may involve a whole gamut of ingredients and cooking methods. They may also require the use of different sizes and shapes of pots and pans. The utensils must be just right, the flame must be at the right temperature and the unique blend of spices must be perfectly spot-on! As such, when you are setting up a modular kitchen for Indian cooking, you should take many factors into consideration. Here are some tips!
You will need to store large cooking utensils like pressure cookers, various kinds of stainless steel pots, frying pans, shallow and deep sauté pans, skillets and saucepans. Spoons and ladles also come in all shapes and sizes. And that’s just the start!
When you plan your storage, make it a point to measure the dimensions of your largest vessels and ensure that they will fit inside the space you have planned for them.
A hanging rack that is tucked away to one side, yet easily accessible, can store your slotted and plain serving spoons and ladles, like what is shown here.
Spices like chilli powder, turmeric, dhania powder, garam masala and so are used very frequently in Indian cooking and need to be placed right where you can reach out and grab them. A thoughtfully designed open ledge close to the cooking hob can house spice canisters that are needed for everyday cooking.
Indian chefs love to dish up anything that’s fried! Think pakoras, samosas, namkeens, vadas etc. You get the picture. An oil pull-out rack just next to the cooktop comes in very handy to store different jars of oil, sauce bottles and so on.
If you’re a stickler for Indian cooking done the old-fashioned way, you will need to find space for large brass vessels like the uruli, and get your payasam done just right! The loft is the best place to store these huge vessels. They can be very heavy, so store them with care!
When choosing your cooktop, keep your style of cooking in mind. Biryanis retain the most flavour when slow cooked over a flame with a large diameter. Any fried dishes need intense heat with a medium sized flame. Tadkas and garnishes, on the other hand, require a tiny flame. Choose your hob with care, as it should accommodate all these diverse cooking styles!
When choosing the perfect hob, make sure that your two largest vessels can comfortably fit in next to each other at the same time. While four burners are most popular, the three burner stoves are often more practical as they can accommodate vessels with larger dimensions. If you cook many dishes at the same time, hobs with five burners are also available.
Hobs are most commonly available in stainless steel and glass finishes. Both are easy to clean with hot water and soap, so just go ahead and pick the one that looks best in your kitchen!
Chimneys and hoods
The hood you choose should have high suction capabilities, and also should have filters that do not get blocked easily. Auto-clean chimneys collect oil fumes in a separate duct and you can easily remove and clean this container on a regular basis. A suction capacity of 1200 m3/hour works well for a kitchen that is less than 200 sqft where the cooking involves a lot of frying and grilling. When fitting the chimney, remember that the lower surface of the hood should ideally be between 2 feet and two-and-a-half feet above the cooking surface, for maximum functionality.
Microwave and oven
Microwave cooking is quick and easy, and there are adaptations of almost every Indian dish that can be readily cooked in a microwave oven. Pick one that comes with a rotisserie and grill, and it will surely prove to be an invaluable aid in your Indian cooking adventures!
Onions, potatoes, garlic
Onions, potatoes and garlic are staples in any Indian kitchen and find their way into many dishes. Plan to store them in wicker baskets that are set in the cabinetry, or drawers with a wickerwork front, as they need to ‘breathe’ for optimum storage and durability. If this isn’t possible, some pretty wicker baskets kept on the countertop will look good and work well!
So, there you have it…our recommendations for creating your modular kitchen design in true Indian style! If you have any thoughts and ideas to add, do leave a comment below!