Showcasing the Mediterranean diet and Asian diet  


Kitchen Essentials

Mediterranean and Asian cooking doesn't require any fancy or expensive cooking equipment. Here's a basic range of kitchen equipment you'll find yourself using regularly to perform all kinds of kitchen tasks.




Baking dish. Used for roasting, and to cook gratins, pies and pasta bakes like lasagna. The all-purpose versions that can go straight from the oven to table to fridge or freezer save the extra work of transferring and storing the contents.




Chef's knife. A good quality chef's knife is indispensable in a MediterrAsian kitchen. To prepare Mediterranean and Asian recipes, ingredients are usually cut into small pieces for cooking in a variety of ways, like stir-frying and sautéing, so it helps to use the best knife for the job. A chef's knife is an all-purpose tool used for chopping, cutting, slicing and dicing.


  Chopping board. A large chopping board is essential in a MediterrAsian kitchen because most recipes involve at least some chopping. In our experience, a bamboo chopping board is the most durable.


  Colander. Perfect for draining pasta and noodles, and handy for rinsing vegetables.




Food processor. A useful appliance for puréeing soups and sauces, making fresh breadcrumbs, and grinding nuts. A food processor is also a quick and easy alternative to a traditional mortar and pestle for making pesto, hummus and curry pastes.


  Skillet/frying pan. A large, heavy-based skillet/frying pan has almost unlimited uses including searing foods like salmon or chicken, sautéing and poaching, and it's ideal for making frittatas and omelets. A pre-seasoned cast-iron pan is best because it heats quickly and evenly.



  Wok. An invaluable addition to your MediterrAsian kitchen for stir-frying, braising and steaming. Use a traditional wok on your stovetop (flat-bottomed for electric stovetops, round-bottomed with stand for gas).

  Grater. Get one which has a few grating options for fine, medium and coarse grating to suit different ingredients like cheese, carrots and apples.



Measuring cup. It's useful to have a measuring cup marked with ¼, ½ and ¾ graduations.



  Mortar and pestle. Used for grinding and crushing herbs, nuts, and spices. Can also be used to make pastes and sauces.


  Paella pan. Essential for a perfectly cooked paella. The large, shallow pan allows the rice to cook evenly and maximizes the flavor.


  Mixing bowls. Any type of bowl will do—glass, ceramic, stainless-steel or plastic (the more presentable types can also be used as serving dishes). It's useful to have one large bowl, a medium-sized bowl and a small sized bowl.

  Pastry brush. Ideal for brushing olive oil onto bread to make bruschetta, croutons, and pan-fried sandwiches. It's also useful for brushing food like chicken or fish with oil before cooking and to baste foods with marinades during grilling.
  Pepper grinder. To transform whole peppercorns into freshly ground pepper.


  Pots and Pans. Heavy-based saucepans (complete with tight-fitting lids) are a good choice because the contents can simmer gently on the stovetop without the bottom burning. A large pot is perfect for making batches of soups, stews and curries, and doubles as a pasta cooking pot. A medium-sized pot is useful for preparing rice and sauces, and boiling eggs among an endless list of other uses.


  Turner. The perfect utensil for lifting and tossing foods. Ideal for flipping fish and chicken fillets, tossing eggs, and stir-frying.
  Measuring Spoons. You'll need a teaspoon and a tablespoon for measuring ingredients.


Storage containers. Air-tight containers of various sizes serve many purposes. They're great for storing leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Containers are also ideal to transport food to picnics and barbecues, and for taking packed lunches to work or school. Use see-through glass or plastic containers to store dried foods like cereals, nuts and spices so you can see the contents without opening the lid.



Sushi mat (makisu). This inexpensive bamboo mat is essential for making Japanese sushi rolls.


  Vegetable peeler. A handy utensil for all kinds of peeling tasks. Y-shaped peelers are best.
  Citrus zester and citrus juicer. The zest and juice of citrus fruits, particularly lemons and limes, really adds a delicate zing to dishes such as pastas, curries, marinades and salad dressings. Both utensils save you time and effort, and produce the best results.



  Garlic press. A handy item which makes mincing garlic a breeze.