So You Want To Move To Mussoorie, Part III: Equipping Your Kitchen
It’s not uncommon to pick up a piece of kitchen equipment and see “made in India” on it. Unfortunately for anyone living in India, it’s highly likely these things are for export only – and that means that either you have to pay import taxes to buy it from somewhere else and bring it back to the land of its manufacture, you have to bring it with you from your home country, or you find a (generally) lesser quality local equivalent. Adam and I love to cook, as many Woodstock people do: here’s our list of what to bring with you from home and what you’ll want to buy here, to have a well-equipped kitchen.
Bring From Home:
- Knives. We can’t stress this enough. Some of our friends (thanks, Chey and Fox!) got us a great set of knives as a wedding present, and they have been the most important thing in our kitchen. Indian steel can’t hold up compared to Japanese, German, or even American/Canadian products – so bring your knives.
- Baking paraphernalia. Silpats, fancy cookie cutters, icing bags, pastry blenders – any fancy baking objects should come with you. It’s increasingly possible to get bread loaf tins, cookie sheets, silicone moulds, and so on here in India, but certain things aren’t available yet. The more specialized items should come from home.
- Particular ingredients you absolutely must have. This includes things like maple syrup, Ranch salad dressing (which may be its own hillside currency unit shortly), sushi rice vinegar, kimchi, flavoured teas, and so on. It’s surprising what you can get in Mussoorie and Dehradun – but best to check with someone before you come out, or pack it anyway and see if you can find it locally. Thai and Chinese ingredients aren’t very hard to find, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Kitchen electronics. Blenders, bread machines, microwave/convection oven + grill units, toaster ovens, toaster, electric kettle, coffee grinders… unless yours is top-of-the-line AND will work with Indian voltage/frequency (220/50), buy it here. We have purchased an immersion blender, standing blender, bread machine, coffee grinder, crock pot/slow cooker, and microwave/convection oven here. The slow cooker & bread machine are of British make (Kenwood) and one of the electronics shops in Dehradun will change the plugs, or provide a converter, for anything you purchase from them that needs it. You can even buy nice induction grills here… just be ready for the power outages. 😉
- Basic implements. If you don’t need to cook with high-end cookware, you can get by very well with items from the bazaar as well as buying from others who are leaving the school. The more exotic items may require some online shopping (check out HomeShop18.com as an example), but you will be able to find pressure cookers, woks, pasta spoons and tea strainers here.
- A stovetop tandoor. Adam saw this at our friend Sareena’s place a number of years ago; we picked one up in Dehradun for about Rs2,000 and it’s become one of our favourite pieces of kitchen equipment. Most come with a small cake-pan kind of thing (so you can bake in it), but we use it as a grill and to make pizzas, flan, and brownies, as well as Indian food!
- Food storage containers. There’s a Tupperware store(!) that recently opened in Dehradun. Legitimate Tupperware, Lock-N-Lock, and similar products are available here, if you’re a brand-name lover.
It’s taken us a number of years to fully outfit our kitchen, and we continue to add small pieces to it as we go (upcoming addition: wok!), but we’re very happy with what we have now. The only further things are “dream lists”, and we just don’t have enough electrical outlets for them (I dream a dream of my KitchenAid mixer, and a full-sized oven, but they’re both not feasible in this apartment!).