Cooking can be a really relaxing activity and we all got a chance to experiment with it this year - thanks to lockdown restrictions grounding us to our homes. Even the folks reluctant to enter the kitchen have learned a dish or two. If you do know a friend who has taken a liking towards cooking this quarantine, why not send some motivation down their way? Maybe brighten up their day by gifting them a beautiful fondue maker as a holiday present or a bunch of assorted essential kitchen utensils -you know what your friend would like better than anyone else. The challenge arises when you need to select the right tools so, here is our tried and tested list of 24 essential cooking items to gift to your friends this holiday season.
1. Garlic Press
Garlic is an essential ingredient in most Indian dishes and adds a strong flavour to our food. But it's very cumbersome to mince it. Therefore, getting a garlic press will make your job much easier with perfectly cut garlic and much quicker. You don't even need to peel the garlic cloves to get the garlic out, you can simply pop the clove into the press and then squeeze - the pressed garlic comes through the sieve. According to our review, the stainless steel Ikea product crushes garlic into fine pieces, it is a sturdy product and it's easy to clean as the cylindrical container is detachable.
2. Fruit and Vegetable peeler
Peeling off the skin of potatoes, carrots, apples, etc by hand can be quite frustrating and unnecessarily time-consuming. A fruit and vegetable peeler will make your life much easier, it will also help you save chunks of good food that are thrown when using a knife to peel the skin. The kitchen tool gives you razor thin slivers of fruits and vegetables to add to salads and soups. After personal usage, we recommend this tool as it is easy to use, has a sturdy and strong handle, has sharp blades and easy to clean.
3. Potato masher
Who doesn't enjoy mashed potatoes from time to time? This potato masher will give you the softest mashed potatoes that will melt in your mouth. Its multipurpose function allows you to mash root vegetables, apples, bananas, peas and nuts as well. We believe this is a long-lasting product as the head is crafted from stainless steel which means it's durable and rust-resistant. In addition, it has a loop at the end of the handle for hanging storage.
4. Instant Pot
If your kitchen is already cramped or loaded with utensils, an instant pot might be the 7 in 1 item you need. A single pot can make soups, sautees, means, steamed veggies or just heat food. It's a truly versatile kitchen tool. It's primarily a pressure cooker but people can use it for other cooking processes as well, making a number of dishes such as chicken stew, dal, spaghetti, idli, etc. We highly recommend this as it makes no mess, cuts down usage of too many utensils and the buttons are customized for Indian dishes. For example, the bean mode says dal and steam mode says idli. Overall, you can expect perfectly cooked food from this affordable, multipurpose instant pot.
5. Toaster oven
A toaster oven can be your instant snack maker for parties and personal consumption. You can make small pan pizzas, toast, baked potatoes, brownies and even roasted chicken. The AGARO OTG has 5-stage heating suited to different needs - baking, toasting, grilling, roasting, heating. So, go on and buy this compact oven to make delicious cakes, cookies, bread and cute tiny pizzas.
6. Ceramic kettle
Add some personality to your kitchen by buying this daintily painted aluminium kettle. It's perfect for people who love tea, coffee, ramen or even hot water. It is beautifully painted with intricate designs and has a ceramic lid and handle. This eye-catching kettle will definitely make for a great Instagram feature as well.
7. Stainless steel bowl set
A set of five stainless-steel mixing bowls are a great addition to every home cook's kitchen. You can use them to serve salad at dinner or marinate meats in them overnight. It can also be used as a mixing bowl for cake batter and dosa batter. We recommend this because of the variety in sizes, add-on lids, its stainless steel makes it a long-lasting product and incredibly easy to clean.
8. Set of measuring cups and spoons
Most recipes have instructions with cup and spoon measurements, however, measuring spoons are not a common kitchen utensil. So, consider investing in an 8-piece set of measuring cups and spoons that are labelled and follow your recipe accurately for the best results! It contains a 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup, and 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon.
9. Rachael Ray cookware
This blue-rustic Rachael Ray cookware is all you need to up your game as a chef. It has 13 aluminium nonstick items that heat evenly and clean very easily. It includes 1.5 qt. saucepan with lid, 3 qt. everything pan with lid, 3 qt. saute pan with lid, 6 qt. stockpot with lid, 8.5" deep skillet, 10.25" deep skillet with a lid, 9.6" nylon turner, 9" x 13" cookie pan.
The set will give your kitchen a new look probably motivating you to cook more often. Since the kitchen utensils in the set are non-stick, make sure to wash them right away after meals and not use metal while cooking in them.
10. Meat thermometer
A meat thermometer will ensure that you don't undercook your meat as it gives relatively accurate results in seconds. You should get a food thermometer as it's the only reliable way to ensure your meat, poultry or egg products are safe to eat. Meat should be cooked well to a safe internal temperature to destroy any harmful microorganisms that may be in the food.
11. Waffle maker
If you love breakfast foods, you need to get a waffle maker! Imagine whipping fresh waffles with whipped cream and berries on top - who wouldn't enjoy that? No, you don't need to visit a restaurant to experience that. The Lifelong Waffle Maker will do it for you at home. We recommend this model as it is compact means easily storable and the waffles turn out to be crisp and fresh.
12. 10-piece Kitchen utensil set
A 10-piece kitchen utensil set to make sure you have the right tool for every recipe. A chef can't be using a spatula to mix or a ladle to whisk, right? It includes 10 different silicone cooking utensils: Ladle, Pasta Fork, Spoonula, Slotted Spoon, Tongs, Turner, Large Spatula, Whisk, Small Spatula, Basting Brush.
The silicone utensils are safe for high heat use, they won't scratch non-stick cookware or your expensive pans and won’t chip, warp or melt like plastic ones. We personally loved the spoon-spatula as it manages to scrape off the last bit of gravy or batter out of the pan!
13. A set of stainless-steel colanders
These will come in handy no matter what. You need them to shake off water from washed fruits, veggies or pasta. It can be a great gift for a new chef or a household that lacks a strainer. For easy usage, they have handles on both sides. We recommend cleaning them in warm soapy water and avoiding scrub or abrasive cleaners.
14. Air fryer
Switch to an air fryer for healthier living and food consumption as it cooks yummy food with up to 90% less fat. It's a handy device that for low oil cooking, so instead of a wok full of oil you fry potatoes in one dime of oil. In this multipurpose, device you can cook chicken, samosa, fries, potato wedges and paneer tikka, it will taste as good as if you cooked it normally.
15. Box grater
You can use this box grater to churn out fresh cheese, spices or zests to add flavour to your meals. The grater has sharp, stainless steel blades for easy grating, it has three surfaces - coarse, medium and fine and slicing surfaces as well. It has a convenient handle and the best part is it has a handy measuring box has a lid so anything grated can be stored in the fridge. The cup can also fit upside down inside the grater when not in use so that it doesn't make extra space.
16. Electric hand blender
This 3 in 1 tool comes with a powerful chopper, blending wand and a whisker with a complimentary 600 ml jar. So, you can chop, blend, puree, whisk and mix whatever ingredients you have. If you're bad at cutting vegetables, use the chopper to cut fine pieces of veggies, whisk curd to make raita and make purees for quick cooking. It's so handy and it doesn't even cause produce much noise. We highly recommend this product considering its affordable price and multipurpose characteristics.
17. Panini press grill
This panini grill will ensure you have hot, grilled and vertically marked sandwiches. The Philips Panini Maker a cool-touch handle which ensures you don't burn your hand and it can be stored vertically for convenient storage. The appliance cooks the sandwich at high temperatures so that you get a perfectly toasted sandwich. Trust us when we say the sandwiches made from this will be outstanding and evenly grilled.
Think eating fruits is tedious? Why don't you drink them instead? A juicer will help you do just that. The Philips juicer is a good pick as it has a huge mouth meaning you don't need to cut apples or oranges, you can directly drop them inside. It hardly leaves any juice residue and works effortlessly with most fruits. So, if you're looking to add juices into your routine life, consider this as an essential tool to juice out carrots, oranges, pineapples, and whatever piques your interest.
19. Pasta maker
Since we're spending more time at home, we're realising how most dishes can be easily made at the comfort of our kitchen. With this pasta maker, you'll realize how easy it is to make custom pasta. Guess what? You can even use it to make noodles, wraps for momos, samosas and spring rolls. It's a great tool for making tasty snacks!
20. Cake decorating kit
Make an Instagram-worthy cake with this cake decorating kit! If you like baking, you know the basics of cakes so why not take it up a notch and decorate your cake. This kit includes 1 Rotating Round Turntable (28cm), 55 Stainless Steel Piping Nozzle Tips, 1 Whisker (22cm), 1 Measuring Spoon Set, 1 Cake Pen, 1 Reusable Pastry Bag, 1 Cake Brush, 1 Cake Cutter, 1 Icing Spatula, 1 Angled Icing Spatula, 1 Cake Flower Lifter, 3 Cake Scrapers, 1 Cake Smoother, 2 Flower Nails, 50 Disposable Bag and 9 Reusable Silicone Cake Cups Molds. It's a great kit for a beginner or to experiment with baking and see if it's your thing.
21. Cut-resistant gloves
Blood in the kitchen or cuts on your hands can make cooking a scary experience and not to mention an unhygienic one. But cut resistant gloves can protect you from slicing your fingers while speedily chopping vegetables. These gloves are highly cut-resistant, they will fit your hand comfortably and won't hinder your chopping style or speed.
22. Cutting board
This mint-green coloured cutting board will stay with you for a long time. It's made of polypropylene plastic which is very light and designed to withstand wear and tear. It has a coarse surface and skid-free bottom providing an excellent grip for cutting fruits and vegetables. The simple and sleek design of the cutting board ensures it doesn't take up too much space in your kitchen.
23. Cast-iron skillet
A cast-iron skillet is a kitchen gadget that will last a lifetime. This durable pan can be used for sautéing, pan-frying, searing, baking, braising, broiling, roasting, and even more cooking techniques. When you are considering buying a cast iron product, keep in mind that the more seasoned your cast-iron skillet is, the better flavour it's going to give to what you are cooking, whether it's chicken or cornbread. It's a great addition in the kitchen if you're passionate about cooking.
24. Fondue maker
Imagine a pot filled with gooey hot cheese or melted chocolate, and some delicious bread or strawberries to dip in the fondue pot. Doesn't that sound divine? A perfect starter for a dinner party as well! The Nostalgia Electrics fondue maker is a stainless steel home fondue pot for any kind of fondue. It has a 2-litre capacity, adjustable temperature control, six forks and cool-touch handles making to safe and easy to use.