In every kitchen there are a number of basic cooking utensils that are necessary for everyday cooking. Traditional cooking utensils were made from clay, stone or wood. Today, we have a variety of cooking utensils that influence our cooking and the flavor of the dish prepared.
Pots and Pans
We qualify a good cooking utensil as one that distributes heat evenly and uniformly. A poor cooking utensil will develop hot spots that are likely to burn or scorch the food being cooked. Two factors that determine a good pot are: its thickness on the bottom and the kind of metal. The kinds of metal affect the transfer or disperse of heat.
There are 5 commonly used metal pans.
- Aluminum. This cooking utensil is light weight and easy to handle while cooking. It is a good conductor of heat, but could be dented easily. It should not be used to cook strong acids, because it reacts chemically with many foods and tends to discolour light-coloured foods and sauces. Note: the Calphalon brand is made of anodized aluminum. It’s hard surface is more corrosion-resistant than regular aluminum pans. Most have nonstick finish and are less porous.
- Copper. This cooking utensil is the best heat conductor of all all pots, but is is expensive and requires a lot of care. Note: This utensil should be line with another metal such as tin or stainless steel to protect the food from getting poisoned.
- Stainless steel. This cooking utensil is a poor heat conductor. Therefore, food tends to scorch easily in this pan. It is ideal for low-temperature cooking and steaming. Stainless steel pot and pans are better heat conductors when they are layered with a copper or aluminum bonded to the bottom or lined with a heavy aluminum on the inside, or inside and outside.
- Cast iron- This is a favorite kitchen utensil for cooking. It has the ability to distribute heat evenly and maintain high temperatures for long periods. However, care is also required for this cooking utensil. It can crack if dropped, and it can rust if not cleaned properly.
- Nonstick plastic-type coating. The brands such as Teflon and Silverston have a slippery finish but requires a lot of care because they scratch easily.
Some cooking utensils used in Trini cooking
In Trinidad and Tobago, it is the same, but there are those utensils that are more important than others. This list provides the basic, traditional utensils, commonly used to prepare the Trini recipes in this blog. They are handy and make cooking easy. No Trini kitchen could do without this set of utensils. Here are 10 cooking utensils necessary for Trini cooking.
Mortar and Pestle
10 Basic Trini Cooking Utensils
- Iron pot – A heavy cast iron pot is also called a caldero or caldron. This main pot is similar to the Dutch Oven. The iron pot is used to cook meat, stews, soups and rice dishes such as pelau and mixed rice.
- Pastelle press - Pastelle presses are available in many sizes and are made of wood, plastic. They are mainly used to make the dishes from our Spanish influence like pastelles, empañadas, arepas, etc.
- Mortar and pestle (pilón) – A Mortar and pestle (pilón) is used to crush, grind, and mash ingredients.
- Bailna or rolling pin- A Bailna or rolling pin is used to roll out doughs to make roti or bake. Yes, even pizza doughs.
- Tawah (similar to a griddle) - A Tawa (tawah) or Platin is similar to a griddle. It is another cast iron cooking utensil that a Trini cannot do without. It is used for making bake and roti (and for me a good substitute for baking pizza).
- Kalchul (a metal ladle) – Kalchul (a ladle) is usually made of stainless steel or other metal and used mainly when chongkaying dhal and choka.
- Goble- A Goblet is an earthen ware jar used for storing water long time. It would be in an accessible but safe place in the kitchen only to be bent over to pour out the cool rain water.
- Swizzle Stick - A Swizzle stick (no, not the one that is used to mix cocktail drinks, etc.) is used for mixing powdered milk or any other powder and water mixture.
- Dhal Gutney- The Dhal gutney or dhal gutni (dal goot – nee) is a wooden cooking utensil, common in local East Indian cooking, used especially when making dhal.
- Dabla is used for making buss-up-shut or paratha roti.
Tell us, what are your favorite cooking utensils?