If you have visited friends and family who live around the world, you will have probably come across unusual objects which are staples in the country they live in but that you haven’t seen before. Then you use them while making a meal and your mind is blown. “Why don’t we have one of those at home?” you will ask yourself. Never fear, we have gathered some of our favourite kitchen utensils!
Mediterranean cuisine takes pride in using the best olive oil in food. As such, it obviously needs its own receptacle! These oil decanters are perfect for adding oil to the pan, or for drizzling on bread and salads as they let out just the right amount. Another gadget to look out for is a garlic grater; you’ll not only half your chopping time, but you’ll also get all the taste of the garlic without having the bits children and fussy teenagers are likely to pick out.
Despite being referred to as French string bags and being used by different countries around the world, the popular belief is that they originated in former Czechoslovakia back in the 1920s. They are lightweight and compact, and can be used for groceries and other purchases. Just what you need when you hop off the bus or underground after your commute home.
Once you try it, you will not want to go back. Moka pots, or stove coffee makers. Patented in 1933 by inventor Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti, it works by passing boiling water pressurised by steam through ground coffee. This also means that you will need to have ground coffee in the house, or find a coffee grinder. Your Saturday mornings will never be the same again.
Denmark has a pan to make what are essentially round Yorkshire puddings. The spherical pancakes are cooked on the stove top and the Aebleskiver pan is usually made of cast iron, which allows good heat retention. The pancakes are common at events such as Yule (Christmas), sports gatherings, birthday parties as they are so easy to make.
A little further south, in the Netherlands, you will find another genius invention: the flessenschraper. Literally, a bottle scraper. Like a spatula (but way, way cooler), it is designed to scrape the contents of long bottles, thus being the embodiment of Dutch thrift. The spatula head is perpendicular to the shaft, and is flexible – so it can go through the neck of the bottle until it reaches the last drop of ketchup.
If you are a fan of Asian food, you most likely have a wok in your kitchen. And if you have a wok in the kitchen, you most likely suffer from food sticking to it. Cue the wok brush. It is made of a bunch split bamboo tied together on one end; use with hot water to clean the pan – try it without a degreaser first. Let us know if it works!
If you take your hot chocolate-making seriously, you need a molinillo in your life. The top of the wood whisk is to be held between the palms, while the base is in the pot with the hot chocolate. By rotating the whisk you will get the nice froth in the drink that makes hot choc even more appetising.
Indian cuisine has become a staple in British homes in the past few decades. As such, more of us are trying our hand at making curries and other traditional dishes. The breads are also a firm favourite, with diners consuming naans, chapatis and paratha with their meal. Thus, more and more utensils from the Indian Subcontinent are finding a new home this small island miles and miles away. Why not start with a belan: a chapatti rolling pin that is thin and is typically made of hard wood. Add to that a chakla and you’ll have your personal flatbread-making station.
North Africa & Middle East
Tajine is an earthenware pot in which the dish of the same name is cooked. These consist of slow-cooked stews resulting in the most deliciously tender meat and an explosion of flavour and aromas. The dome-shaped lid can be lifted without the need of an oven mit, and its design promotes the return of condensation back to the pot. Once cooked, the base can be taken to the table, without the need of transferring the food into another container.
Have we missed anything you use? Let us now in the comments below!