For yearssss I have been trying to cultivate a sustainable habit of cooking my own meals. There would be a spur of motivation for a couple of days and the efforts would eventually die off.
In 2020, I finally took a hard look at WHY the habit just couldn’t stick and I realised that on top of not having much interest in cooking, there was just too much effort.
I would see a recipe, buy whatever needed for that and then struggled to recreate another meal with it.
Simply said, I lacked a complete kitchen.
But so many ingredients, so little time…what should I buy?
I knew I wanted to only spend 15 mins max to prepare a dish – preferably by simply boiling /stir frying or (best of all) can be eaten raw.
If you are as lazy as I am/ new to cooking and is looking for best staples to buy in order to whip up a simple and quick dish – here are the Must Have Ingredients in a Beginner’s Kitchen! –Vegetarian Edition
- Rice Vermicelli – just soak it in boiling water for 5 mins and its ready
- Flatbreads (eg. Tortilla Wraps, Pita Bread) – get a frozen wrap and let it thaw or microwave on low power
- Couscous – soak it in boiling water for 5-10mins till soft (best to add some olive oil and salt after!)
- Chickpeas/ Hummus – Preparing hummus requires a one time effort and a can of chickpea’s worth of hummus
- Kimchi – if there is only one ingredient you take away from this list – let it be this! A game changer in spicing up the taste of any dish, it can be eaten with lettuce as a snack or mixed together as sauce with noodles/couscous
- Edamame – simply boil it for 2-3mins, drain, add some salt and walla!
- Bell peppers
- Avocado – can be used as a spread on your wrap + a pinch of salt, in salad etc
- Baby tomatoes
*All vegetables can be eaten raw except for Mushrooms
Herbs, Spices & Condiments
- Pesto sauce
- Soy sauce
- Black Pepper
- Spring Onion
- Nutritional yeast (optional) – great source of Vit B if you are on a vegetarian diet
- Coriander (optional)
- Lemon – must have to make a good hummus and great for sprinkle of zest
Simple Pairing Ideas
- Vermicelli Bibimbap
- Hummus wrap + vegetables of your choice
- Stir-fried kimchi vermicelli and vegetables
Tools I found useful
- Multicooker – if you are just starting out, this versatile piece is great. You can fry, boil, steam all in a click of a button
- Colander – gotta drain those noodles/vegetables
- Blender/Food processor (optional) – You would need this if you decide to make your own hummus. I think it’s a great addition either ways to make a simple smoothie so would highly recommend 🙂
- Felton Egg Cooker (optional) – I LOVE THIS. If you want to cook the perfect half boiled eggs with no worry then this is a must-have. Pop the egg in, pour boiling water till it covers the egg and once all the water has been drained on its own – it means the egg is ready!
The staple list is what I found useful in my own cooking journey. Because they are so easy to work with, I have been trying to find new ways to cook it/mix and match for variety.
Throughout the process it has really developed my interest in cooking and that’s why, I would recommend every beginner to start somewhere 🙂
PS: All dishes are vegetarian because I’m trying to be a vegetarian, so feel free to add a meat of your choice if it’s not for you.
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