Setting Up an Indian Kitchen

Indian Kitchen

Before any of the smart alecks can say it, when I say “setting up an Indian kitchen”, I do not mean a kitchen that uses cow dung fuel and has walls made of grass and mud – the pictures are a joke. Sheesh! And my apologies to all you modular kitchen type companies, I don’t mean set up an Indian kitchen as in install your beautiful, convenient and long-lasting kitchens either. What I mean is all the pots, pans, spices and pastes needed to start up an Indian kitchen – a kitchen that is ready to turn out Indian food. This information will work even if you’re not starting up an Indian kitchen from scratch but want to make your kitchen Indian food-preparation friendly.

This is a basic list. If you’ve got everything on this list, I’d say you’re good to go with more than 70% of Indian food…

Powdered Spices

The cornerstone of any Indian kitchen. Absolutely essential.

  • Turmeric
  • Meat masala
  • Garam masala
  • Sambhar masala
  • Turmeric/Haldi
  • Red chilli powder

In terms of brands, Everest and MDH would probably be your best bet. Both of them export as well so unless you’re in war-torn Africa, you’ll be good. Also might be worth your while to read Cooking Spices: Cheats and Tricks to see how you can mix and match stuff.

Pastes and Purees

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Tomato puree (optional if you prefer to puree fresh tomatoes)
  • Coconut milk

We use the Hommade range. They also have Tamarind Paste, that might not get used that often but you might want to keep it just to extend your range…


  • Olive oil – for everything other than deep-frying. We like Figaro. I personally know a class A nut-job who uses extra-virgin olive oil for cooking. Regular is fine…
  • Mustard oil – For cooking things like Fish Sorcery. Brand to go for: RRO.
    No ghee! Shock and awe what? Shut up…

Odds and Ends:

  • Pas phoron: You can’t buy it but well worth the investment to make it once a week.

None of our recipes require any special pots and containers. If your kitchen has all the Cooking Utensils or the ones pictured here (!), then… you’re ready to go. Happy Cooking.

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