To make it easy to keep up my list of favorite kitchen tools for the plant-based cook, I’ve put my list on Kit.
My kitchen is a combination of super simplicity and some sophisticated gear. I don’t like a lot of kitchen gadgets, like garlic presses and such. A good knife will do just fine. So, I do like good knives and to maintain them well.
On the technology side, I appreciate automation and energy efficiency, and, of course, ease of cleaning.
Of Knives and Stones
In the knife department, my favorites are probably:
- MAC 2.5″ bird’s beak paring knife
- ENSO HD 5.5″ Prep Knife
- Shun 6.5″ Nakiri
- Shun 6.5″ Usuba
- Misen 8″ Chef knife
In general I just work with all the knives I have and let my hands do the choosing as to what are the best knives.
For honig, a good strop is indispensable but a ceramic honig rod is also a good alternative, and with the right rods you can even use a Wedgek angle guide, which will help guide your daily maintenance.
A strop would not work at all for a bird’s beak knife, but a ceramic honing rod does. For the Rada Cutlery there is a small sharpener made with steel wheels, which would not work for the knives with higher hardness (58 HRC and higher). For a bird’s beak knife, the honing rod with the Wedgek guide is essentially the only option.
In the cooking department, Induction Heat is quite the thing. It is as easily controllable as gas, but it has timer controls, which make it even better. My rice cooker works with induction heat, and I have an induction heat cooktop, and most of my newer pans are all certified for induction heat. It is my preferred way of cooking, because of the ease of control.
Automation is everyting, if you want to make life easy and that is why I like Induction Heat so much. I also use a Instant Pot, which does not run on induction heat, but because it is a pressure cooker, it is still very time efficient, and it has rudimentary programmability, i.e. you can delay the cooking time, and it will keep things warm after cooking. I put my steel-cut oats on at night and they are ready at 6:30 AM, then I may cook quinoa for lunch, relying on keep warm, and for dinner I may cook Brown Bamati Rice on the GABA Brown Rice setting, which is a 3-hour cooking cycle (2 hours for germination at 105F and 1 hour cooking), and I program it to be ready at 6:30 PM. My rice cooker has a 3-cup capacity, and does not have a pressure cooking feature, but the larger sizes do (5.5 cups and 10 cups).
As far as the gadgets are concerned, I really stick to simplicity, and I look at how much time it saves me versus how hard it is to maintain. In general, as your knife skills improve, there is little reason for a lot of gadgetry. One very basic thing that I like is a good mortar and pestle. You can usually find the best ones in Asian stores. The most indispensable gadgets for my money are my Boerner V-Slicer mandolin, and my salad spinner. I am pretty handy at cutting fine stuff with a knife but for a lot of vegetable cutting the mandolin really can save you time and if you wash it immediately, the upkeep is easy.
It will be pretty obvious from the list what appliances I like. But here is some guidance:
- Magic Bullet for grinding up herbs and spices and seeds, e.g. flax seed does not keep well ground up – it loses nutrients, so I grind up small amounts in batches and keep it in a jar in the fridge.
- The Nutribullet is for larger tasks, like blending things and when the Nutribullet becomes too small, using
- The immersion blender right in the pan is the way to go.