essential pantry ingredients and kitchen tools

Photo: kazakphoto

If you must stock one…

Spice: Black peppercorn

It complements a wide variety of food, such as fish, meat, vegetables, fruits and even chocolate. Those from Madagascar taste sweeter but still have a strong kick.
– Stephane Cocu, chef de cuisine at The Waterfall, Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore 

Herb: Bay leaf

The fresh sprig can be used in almost all types of dishes, from stews and soups to meat, seafood and vegetable dishes. It adds a distinctive flavour and aroma, and even aids digestion.
– Antonio Facchinetti, executive chef at Prego, Fairmont Singapore

Also read: 6 delicious butters made from pecans, almonds and cashews to eat for breakfast

Condiment: Sea salt

It doesn’t dissolve in food as easily as table salt and adds flavour without covering up the natural taste of other ingredients.
– Stephane Cocu, chef de cuisine, The Waterfall, Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore(Also read: 8 smart kitchen tips for home cooks) 

Glass-bottled cooking oil

Go for glass bottles when buying cooking oil. Plastic may contain a common chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) which can leach into food. It is said to disrupt normal hormone levels and development in children among other things.
– Pooja Vig, nutritionist at The Nutrition Clinic (Also read: Common household items that could be causing weight gain)

Also read: 8 reasons why you should eat more fibre-rich food


The most useful cooking utensils are…

Good quality non-stick cookware

The ideal amount of cooking oil to use per person at each meal is one teaspoon. But, if you invest in good quality non-stick cookware, you won’t need to use much cooking oil!
– Vanessa Mcnamara, dietitian at The Travelling Dietitian 

Cast-iron skillets and pans

For cooking food over an open flame though, bring out cast-iron skillets and pans. Unlike non-stick pans, their surfaces are not chemically coated. They cook food more evenly and, if properly maintained, such durable cookware can last for generations.
– Kevin Thomson, executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton Beijing & JW Marriott Beijing 

Also read: What’s the difference between aluminium, stainless steel, copper and cast iron cooking utensils?

The kitchen timer

Timing is crucial when creating the perfect dish. It affects the taste and texture of the final outcome.
– Moon Kyung Soo, executive chef at Mikuni, Fairmont Singapore 

A good stainless steel chef’s knife

A thick blade that’s 15cm to 20cm long gives you better control and makes chopping and slicing much easier.
– Marisa Bertocchi, chef and owner of Original Sin (Also read: Kitchenware that is bad for your health)

Also read: How to pick the best kitchen knife for your needs

One big pot

This kitchen ally helps you with numerous cooking possibilities, such cooking an entire chicken in stock with other ingredients.
– Ee Ming Hwa, chef de cuisine of DOMVS, The Italian Restaurant, Sheraton Towers Singapore Hotel 

This article was first published in Shape.