Kitchens in city apartments are painstakingly tiny, which is frustrating for someone who loves to cook. I’ve given a lot of thought to stocking up my kitchen in a minimalist way, without breaking the bank. Shopping smartly for your pots and pans saves you a lot of storage space. With merely five items you won’t need much else, unless it’s time to upgrade to a bigger space or if you’re regularly making bigger batches of food.
The trusted saucepan
A stainless steel saucepan is best for slow simmers, rolling boils, reducing liquids, melting butter or even making a single serving of pasta. You can also use it to make rice and reheat soups, puff up grains and stir sauces—think of the saucepan as the utility cookware for smaller, everyday tasks. Make sure to get one that has a glass lid preferably with a built-in strainer.
The non-stick fry pan for quick meals
For everyday use, an 8-inch non-stick pan does what it’s supposed to do cook without leave grease stuck to the bottom, making cleaning it up later super easy. Eggs and cheesy dishes like grilled cheese are ideal meals to make on a non-stick pan. While working with a non-stick pan, avoid using other metal utensils, as it could scratch the coating. Avoid using acidic foods like tomatoes and lemons as they can damage the surface.
The Dutch oven pot for all one-pot meals
The Dutch oven is a multipurpose piece of cookware that will last you forever. Its heavy, tight-fitting lid and thick bottom are perfect for the stovetop and in the oven. Use this for one-pot pulavs and biryanis or soup, stews, chilli or even crusty, no-knead bread. Make sure you invest in one that has an enamel coating on the bottom to prevent food from sticking to it. If the bottom eventually browns, use a bleach solution.
The do-it-all cast iron pan
Naturally, you’re going to need a cast iron fry pan best for foods that require high heat, as the heat is maintained evenly compared to, say, an aluminium pan. Make sure to invest in the ideal size for a personal-size pizza, mac and cheese, deep-dish cookie, or cobbler for two. Keeping it well-maintained will take a little elbow grease, but it’s key to making a cast-iron pan last decades—it gets better the more you use it.
Flat bottom woks for the nights you are craving Asian
Woks are a popular piece when cooking Asian cuisine. They’re typically wide in diameter and have tall, sloping sides. These sloping sides make it perfect for tossing the contents and coating them in sauces. Because of their shape, they have a hot cooking surface on the bottom and get cooler along the sloped sides. A wok is most commonly used for making stir fry and tossed fried rice or noodles.