Inspired by Bon Appétit‘s video ‘Pro Chefs Share Their Favorite Kitchen Tools,” I did a poll on my IG-stories asking if you’d like a blog post about my favorite and most-used kitchen tools and gadgets. Many of you have voted yes for a blog post to go up first, so here is part one.
1. Chef Knife | Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife
I have only 3 types of knives on rotation, this knife for general usage, this larger knife for chopping bones, and this Shun chef’s knife for fish and special occasions. For example, I use my Shun knife to uniformly and finely chop onion and tomato for salsa. I love how effortless it is when it comes to slicing things very thinly. It’s the most precious knife I have, and I do try to make sure to wipe clean and store away to avoid moisture or bent blade. Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of working with a sharp knife, and having a blade sharpener for sure comes in handy.
2. Grater | Microplane
Microplane is famous for many good reasons. Like Brad Leon said in the BA Test Kitchen’s Best Tools video (link above), I also go through phases with food as well as my favorite kitchen tool. If you have not seen how a Microplane grates a block of parmesan cheese, then you do really need to pick one up and try it for yourself. My partner loves to add orange zest to spice up the frozen orange chicken dish from Trader Joe’s. I specifically love it to grate garlic cloves to add to salsa and add cheese or lemon zest on cooked dishes like pasta or salads. Just make sure you rinse to clean and utilize all parts of the Microplane.
3. Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer
This specific stand mixer, white on white, was on my Christmas wishlist, and my aunt so kind and gifted me the exact one. Even though I failed miserably at making cookies using the stand mixer for the first time, I slowly find more recipes that the stand mixer is the hero tool. And it’s been life-changing.
I’ve successfully made a batch of pizza dough that lasted me 4 meals and banana bread (recipe HERE) using my stand mixer. It combines wet and dry ingredients in literally seconds, so convenient and efficient. It is the most perfect excuse for me to start baking more, and baking is so much fun. If you have any good recipes that require the use of a stand mixer, please share it in the comment section below.
4. Coffee System | CHEMEX, Coffee filters, and Coffee Grinder
If you love pour-over as much as I do, invest in a CHEMEX. I have the 8-Cup size and have never looked back since. Currently, I use the paper coffee filters specifically for the CHEMEX, an electric water heater, a grinder that I only use to grind coffee beans with.
I know that people can get super precise when it comes to making the perfect cup of pour-over coffee. They would weigh out the beans and hot water at a specific temperature. A kettle with a long spout is much preferred since you’d want to slowly and even coat the coffee ground during the brewing period. I, however, like to eyeball everything, so I just batch make my CHEMEX coffee enough to last me 3 to 4 days. As long as I have fresh coffee beans (medium roast, always! I also refuse to buy pre-grind coffee/coffee ground, since fresh ground coffee tastes much better!), my coffee will always turn out great!
A wok is a crucial tool to have in any Asian household. This specific Dream Chef frying wok heats up my food quickly and evenly, and I’ve discovered it at a local 99 Ranch. Amazon has it for a few dollars more, so if you can, do look at your local Asian grocery stores first! I use it to stir fry everything at high heat. I use it to make fried rice incorporating any leftover produce in the fridge. I even use it to deep fry fish, tofu, and chicken wings. In addition, it is lightweight, and its non-stick coating makes it so easy to clean.
6. Pizza Pan | AirBake 15.75″ Pizza Pan
Of course, pizza is best if baked on top of a pizza stone. For a home oven that will never get hot enough or as evenly, a perforated pizza pan is a perfect solution to get that crunchy pizza bottom. This one is made from carbon steel. Since I don’t like frozen pizzas, I’d much rather making my own pizza dough. One thing I have to point out is when it’s in a super hot oven, it will curl up but will quickly fall back to its original shape as it cools at room temperature. Other than that, it is non-stick, lightweight and will not rust, what else do you want in a pizza pan?
7. Steamer Basket | Stainless Steel Steamer Basket
I got this steamer basket (unsure of the brand) to avoid having to buy a big bulky steamer pot like this one or this one since it takes up too much storage space. I love that it doesn’t matter what I want to steam, I can easily use a saucepan or a larger pot, add some water, and this steamer basket will perfectly fit inside. It is made of stainless steel. It is durable, compact, and foldable, so it’s perfect to store away in my kitchen cabinet.
8. Dutch Oven Pot | Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven
A Dutch Oven is a cooking pot with thick wall, tighter lid, and is usually made of cast iron, cast aluminum, or ceramic. Le Creuset Dutch Oven is a cult favorite! All of my aunts and people who love cooking have it in a few sizes. Mine is the Signature 3.5 quarts in classic Red color, and I am thinking of adding one more in rose or matte black. It’s the perfect size that cooks up to 4 servings, so it’s enough for dinner for two and lunch leftovers. It’s perfect for any one-pot dish like pasta sauce, chili, braised dishes, and soups.
9. Mortar & Pestle | Ikea ÄDELSTEN Mortar and Pestle
When I saw this mortar and pestle at Ikea with the perfect size, shape, and weight, I was pretty thrilled because I had been looking for a marble black one like this for a while. If you could, pick one up at your local Ikea store. I use it to lightly crush roasted peanuts to garnish noodle salad dishes, smash garlic to add in my favorite dipping sauce and make my chili salt to dip fruits with. It’s also the best way to combine basils and pinenuts to make the best version of pesto sauce, in my opinion.
10. Vegetable Peelers | Kiwi Slice Peeler, Kuhn Rikon Peeler, & Dao Bào
I have 3 types in my favorite kitchen gadget list that I use for specific reasons.
- Kiwi Pro Slice Peeler: I use this specific peeler to make strips. Think papaya salad! It’s so easy to use, quick and efficient. I also use this to make carrot and taro strips for my eggrolls.
- Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler: Forget the mandoline that is bulky and takes so much space. This peeler is much smaller and comes in a set of three. The ergonomic design and efficiency definitely earn its top-selling spot on Amazon for a reason. I love it for peeling off the skin of larger fruits and make super-thin slices of any root vegetables. So fast and effortless!
- Dao Bào: That is what we call a vegetable peeler in Vietnamese, and the one I link here is not the exact same one I have, but very similar. Mine is just a little bit smaller, and a friend got it for me from Vietnam. I would prefer using a dao bào to thinly slice cabbage, banana blossom, and celery (thinking of my favorite salmon tomato vermicelli noodle soup dish). And in case you don’t know, Vietnamese people like to eat these thinly sliced vegetables for texture. Veggies and herbs add freshness and compliment savory noodle dishes very well. Look up Bún Riêu, Bún Bò Huế, and Gỏ (Vietnamese salad dishes) to see what I’m talking about. In addition, it also does an amazing job at thinly peeling fruit skins, even better than any peelers carried at any American grocery store since it stays sharp for a long time.
SHOP MY KITCHEN TOOL WISHLIST:
Writing this blog post makes me so happy since cooking, eating, and sharing what I learn are my favorite things.
Over the past years, cooking has become something that is therapeutic to me. I like the feeling of starting something and turning it into something enjoyable that brings people together. Whenever things don’t go as planned, knowing that I am able to cook up yummy meals from fresh ingredients (and somewhat know how things will turn out!) is at least something I know I have control over. Trust me, I hated cooking back then because I used to think of it as a chore. It was boring because I did not put my mind and heart into it, but until I did, everything was more meaningful and enjoyable. and that goes with everything in life, really!
I hope that this blog post gives you some ideas in terms of where I am at with my cooking journey and hope that it will inspire yours. Feel free to share your favorite kitchen tools in the comment section below.