5 Tools You Need in Your Desi Kitchen


The first time I moved out on my own (sans mom or MIL, but with the Mr.) I was 21 years old and had almost no cooking skills. We survived on  A LOT of mac & cheese, canned soup, and drive-thru runs in the early years of ‘adulting’.

As my kids have grown up and I’ve spent more time developing my cooking skills, I’ve also developed a love for Indian cooking. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve figured out what tools are vital for a desi kitchen and which ones you can do without.

These are my 5 must-haves for your desi kitchen:

1. Atta Parat/Bowl
For years I tried making atta (dough for rotis) in little round bowls. I finally gave in and bought a parat – which basically a shallow bowl, from the Indian store 2 years ago. It was a game changer. Now my atta is easy to mix and comes together perfectly. I don’t question the magic, I just know it exists.

2. Belan/Indian Rolling Pin
There are basically two types of Indian rolling pins – short and fat, or long and skinny. I work with the long and skinny one. Whichever one you choose, you have to get a desi style one that is stationary and doesn’t spin around like a rolling pin that’s designed for baking. If you aren’t sure whether to get a fat one or a skinny one just buy both and experiment. They’ll run you about $2.50 each at your local grocery store!

3. A Proper Desi Patila
I’m sorry to break it to you, but Swedish soup pots can’t handle a desi tadka/tempering. March yourself down to your local Patel or Singh supermarket and get a good old-fashioned patila. For everyday cooking for a family of 4 I recommend a 16″ or 20″ one, if you are having friends over or cooking meat a lot and need space for browning grab the 24″ one. 

4. A Mini Chopper, Mixy,or Blender
Whatever you call it, you need a device that chops onions like a boss, is easy to clean, and doesn’t take up too much space on your counter. (You need space to roll all the paranthe with your new belan – see #2).

5. Hand Held Immersion Blender
Shocked? Trust me, this is a tool that our mothers needed. It’s like a modern day madhani and makes saag the perfect texture, creams dal makhani, and is a must for a smooth butter chicken gravy. I can’t believe I managed without one for so long!

I do have to give an honourable mention to my masala dabba. I use it every single day in my kitchen, but I do know people that do just fine with spice jars.

What are your must have tools in the desi kitchen?


Raj is an editor at The South Asian Buzz, and the Director of Brand Relations at The South Asian Bloggers Network. She loves to test new recipes, take on over-ambitious home decor projects, and read everything she can get her hands on.