Living with your parents often makes it so easy to overlook the kitchen and cooking appliances until you make your very first move, where you’re essentially left to your own devices, or with an equally clueless housemate or SO.
Welcome to the world of adulting 101.
Avenue One has gathered a list of nine essentials around the kitchen which you can narrow down, with the help of home owners we interviewed, for your own personal needs, whether you’re someone who wants to do the bare minimum of cooking, or if you’re an ambitious cook looking to cook up a storm in the kitchen.
Here are nine essentials that you should probably get when you move into your new home.
Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory. You need a knife to chop up your ingredients, duh.
If you’re not keen on getting the entire set, a regular big kitchen knife will do. Knives of varying sizes are usually more useful for frequent cooks.
2. Cutting board
Another one that is pretty self-explanatory. You need a surface to chop up your ingredients – be it meats and veggies, or something non-cooking related like cutting fruit.
Tip: Remember to have separate boards for vegetables and meats.
3. Kitchen utensils
Well, kitchen utensils such as spatulas, ladles etc. are a must, if you’re going to be cooking. One in particular that we especially recommend would be the heat-resistant nonstick spatula, an essential if you’re thinking of getting a wok.
Or if you’re lazy and want to go simple – a must-have to cooking a basic sunny-side up, scrambled eggs, or an omelette.
4. Storage containers
Hate the hassle of cooking and sweating like crazy? Storage containers are so incredibly useful if you always find yourself cooking too much, and need a place to store leftovers.
P.S. If you mass cook things in one go, that means simply heating up your food for the next few days, instead of having to take to wok or pot every day.
Talk about efficiency.
Tupperware go pretty cheap too, especially at discount places like Daiso or Lazada, where you can find a hugeeee array of them!
5. Microwave Oven
Hate waiting? Just want your food fast and quick with little preparation? You’ll want a microwave oven then.
Have some leftovers in the fridge? Stick it in the microwave for about a minute and voila, you’re done.
Lazy to go through the motions of filling up the kettle, switching it on, then waiting for it to boil when really, all you need is a little water? Put that water in the microwave.
Food you tabao-ed got cold? Stick it in the microwave…well, you get the point.
Also, there’re microwave-only “mug” recipes out there for the lazy (or people who’re just in need of something quick without much hassle) that you can whip up in less than a minute – from microwave-made “mug” pizzas, to lava cakes…and so on and so forth.
Check it out in the video below!
Tl;dr: Microwaves are convenient as heck and we think you should do yourselves a favour and get yourself one.
If you have to only have one kitchenware – this is the one thing you need – for cooking instant noodles, or for the healthier alternative – probably the easiest way to cook any ingredient like meats, or veggies.
Check out our article on a compiled list of 43 easy one-pot recipes using, well, just the pot.
Say good-bye to tedious cleaning for years. (OK, we exaggerate, but it’ll probably at least cut the cleaning time from 30 minutes to less than a minute! How great is that?)
Air-fryers are all the rage these days, they help fulfil one of mankind’s most cardinal sins – our need for the oh-so-yummy deep-fried food, but without using unhealthy, potentially artery-choking oil.
If this alone doesn’t convince you, you might be interested to know that it was also one of the most raved about kitchen ware by our interviewees as the go-to kitchen appliance on lazy days.
Juliet Soh, 33, who moved into her house four years ago, said: “Get the air-fryer. You can throw a lot of different types of food in and make them taste decent; such as frozen food like gyoza and fried chicken, or you can put in fresh salmon that is seasoned lightly, or marinated fresh chicken… you can even bake with it if you want.”
So lazy people – this is a heads up to you.
8. Wok Pan
This is a product Angela Yee, 29, who moved into her 4-room HDB flat three and a half years ago, absolutely raves about it: “I love how versatile it is. It can fry, steam, and boil.”
Meanwhile, Soh, who enjoys cooking, said: “I like that it gives me the flexibility to cook both Western and Chinese food.”
Well, we think their explanations pretty much sums up how useful a wok pan can be.
Well, the oven is pretty much like a better version of the microwave oven, in that it can heat food up better, make it more crisp and fresh-tasting, but if you love to bake – then get the oven – it is pretty much the thing to use when making any of the beloved sugary snacks like cupcakes, macarons etc.
But, if baking isn’t quite your thing, we suggest you just opt for the cheaper, more user-friendly microwave oven.
Need more tips? We ask home owners what are their kitchen essentials 101.
What kitchen appliances do you see yourself using the most?
“I find myself using the air fryer, oven, and my Happy Call wok pan the most,” Yee said.
Soh, similarly, finds herself using a few similar appliances all the time: “I usually use the steamer and wok pan.”
On the other hand, Ng Ai Lien, 56 and a mother-of-two, said: “I find myself going to the kettle, rice cooker, and blender the most often.”
Where do you recommend getting your kitchenware at?
Both Yee and Ng recommend chained stores like Harvey Norman or Courts, which tend to have attractive sales because of competitive pricing, often going cheaper than warehouse sales sometimes.
Yee added: “Wait for Philips’ warehouse sales though, which is a total steal! Also, I do not recommend buying online for long-term usage products.”
However, for cheaper purchases such as utensils and containers, Soh feels that e-commerce sites such as Lazada are a viable option, with a good variety and very affordable pricing.
“You can also find electronic cooking equipment [at Lazada], but you might want to do extra research to make sure that the vendor is legitimate.”
“Otherwise, I get a lot of my electronics from good ol’ Best Denki, and the other items from places like Takashimaya and Robinsons – they have many options that look good, although they can run slightly pricey,” she added.
What was a kitchen appliance you bought that you didn’t think would get much use, but surprised you by how useful it ended up being?
“The oven,” said Yee, “I didn’t know baked vegetables could be so yummy.”
On the other hand, Soh cited the multi-storey steamer as a kitchenware that surprised her in its versatility.
“It was a gift and I didn’t think much of it at first. But it got very fun when I started steaming dim-sum for weekend breakfasts. I could also heat up other food items while I steam a fish for dinner. It saves a lot of my time and is so easy to use,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ng enthused about the blender: “It’s so versatile in making pasta sauces, soups, and smoothies, while also saving much needed time and energy.”
What kitchen appliances did you buy thinking it would be very useful but ended up getting very little use?
“Probably the electric oven,” said Soh. “I don’t bake, so I end up using only once a year for the turkey, and occasionally to heat up food or toast bread. But then, I have a toaster and food can be heat up in multiple ways without an oven.”
Yee, however, said that she found the steamer to be the one kitchenware that she thought would be useful, but ended up never even using it once.
Pretty interesting how Yee and Soh have differing opinions on which kitchenware are useful and which are not, huh?
Goes to really show that what one might find useful, might not really suit another person, and that ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself on what sort of kitchenware you’d want to use, based on your own needs.
What is your go-to recipe on a lazy day?
Soh personally swears by one-pot recipes.
“I like one-pot anything. So I make a lot of stews, noodles with an assortment of vegetables and meat, and pasta, when I want a quick and fuss-free meal,” she said.
Less cleaning? Sounds good to us.
Yee, on the other hand, swears by her air fryer.
“On lazy days, I like to just air fry salmon and vegetables,” she said.
And finally, what advice do you have for new home-owners buying kitchenware?
“Don’t get [kitchenware] on impulse thinking you will use it one day. Buy only when you have decided to use it for at least three times a week! Or else, a wok pan, a pot and an oven are good enough!” Yee said.
Meanwhile, Ng said: “Try to ask friends or relatives for advice, or borrow theirs to see if you need it after all. Only buy if you feel like you really will be using it.”
Since Ng is a more experienced home-owner, for more than 20 over odd years, we asked her what she’s learnt over the years, from being in the kitchen.
She said: “I feel like we should’ve tried giving away items which were hardly used, such as our food warmer, yoghurt maker, coffee maker, juicer, and toaster oven… which now just collects dust and takes up a lot of unnecessary space.”
“Another thing I’ve learnt is that you should always provide for enough storage space for your kitchenware, as it is so easy to overlook and run out of space.”
“It is also important to make sure to put your plug points in strategic positions so you can use electrical kitchen equipments like the mixer or blender easily,” she added.