Even the simplest recipes can be intimidating if you don’t have the proper tools, so for many of us, attempting a dish from across the globe can seem like too big a stretch. Here are a few of our favourites kitchen gadgets to help you prepare a great meal, especially when cooking international dishes. For just a small price, (or a small investment) they can make all the difference, and give you the confidence to try new recipes in your own kitchen.
1. Dumpling Cube
Puffy little vehicles of intense flavour commonly referred to as, dumplings, gyoza, and samosas (to name a few) are easily produced using the Dumpling Cube. Simply trim and apply your wrapper to the cube, add your filling of choice, fold the cube, and all the tedious work of folding and molding is done for you! Uncommon Goods: $30.49
2. Mortar & Pestle
Cooking up some magic in the kitchen? Casting a recipe spell will take your culinary wizardry from beginner to novice with the use of your mortar (like a cauldron) and pestle (like a wand). Grind your spices forming a more robust paste and extracted blend using these helpful tools made from either ceramic, wood, or stone. Hudson’s Bay: $39.99
The mandolin first showed up in Italian history around the mid-15th century but was likely around long before then. Use this incredible slicing device to thrash through everything from artichoke to zucchini and get a nice even slice every single time. Bed Bath and Beyond: $79.99
4. Stick Blender
Stick blenders can take your soups, stews, sauces, and aioli’s from zero to creamy in just a few short pulses. There’s really nothing to it, you just drag it through the food and blend it to your liking. No transfer, no fuss, and as long as that baby is kept immersed, less mess! Canadian Tire: $89.99
5. Bamboo Steamer
The nutritional benefits provided by the natural chamber of a bamboo steamer outweigh those of traditional poaching or boiling, bar none. The basket is placed over a pot of simmering water cooking the food at gentler pace as the steam rises up through its grates. Food retains more vitamins, minerals, shape, colour and our favourite, taste! Well.ca: $35.99
Cheesecloth is a lightweight woven fabric used by cheesemakers to wrap around cheese as it ages. The fabric is available in seven different grades and can be helpful beyond the dairy counter by providing an inexpensive way to strain soup stock and homemade yogurt, make tofu, or bundle herbs into a bouquet. Well.ca: $5.98
7. Meat Cleaver
The meat cleaver looks scary and as a result, is widely misunderstood. This kitchen workhorse won’t rest for you. It slices with its sharp edge, crushes food such as garlic with it’s flat sides, tenderizes meats with its dull back edge, and will even act as a scoop as you transfer food from the cutting board to the heat. Kitchen Smart: $189.99
8. Cooking Twine
Cooking twine might just be the oldest most versatile cooking tool used across the globe. For century upon century it has been used for everything from tying up cured meats to binding turkey legs. In some cultures, we’ve seen it soaked to use in grilling vegetables and we’ve even seen it used in baking! Amazon: $7.99
Which tools do you find most helpful in the kitchen? Share your favourites in the comments below, or Tweet us @LoveLocalFood!
Britt Stager wears many hats including Food Editor for Love Local Food, Director of Social Media Marketing and REES + STAGER, Director of Real Food Creative, and blogger at My Daily Randomness, a personal lifestyle blog. Her true loves in life include her dog Maddy, coffee and dessert.