Story Gautam Viswanathan
As we become familiar with more and more cultures across the world, it is only natural that we will come across – at some point or another – the cuisines that are some of their most important elements. What we choose to eat for food, therefore, may quickly change from one day to the next. Your child might want lasagna on the first day, your spouse, tacos on the next. There may also be days when you are craving some rather exotic food as well.
To make prepping for and creating these dishes easier for you and the family, we have put together for you a list of five unusual cooking appliances that are as versatile as they are effective in the kitchen.
Home shawarma grill
We don’t need to tell you about the popularity of the shawarma, arguably one of the Middle East’s most popular street foods. What we are here to tell you, however, is that your much-craved-for shawarma can now be made in the comforts of your home, using ingredients and cooking styles you like.
While the shawarma maker will not wrap the shawarma for you – that’s still on you – it will cook the meat in the manner in which it is normally served. Traditional shawarma stations feature seasoned meats slowly roasting over a spit of red-hot coals, which have since been replaced by electric grills. However, so famous is the shawarma that other forms in which one can eat it have also emerged.
The most popular of them all has to be the shawarma plate, which to those among us who prefer fine dining, is a ‘deconstructed’ version of the dish. Simply put, it features all of the individual elements that make up a traditional shawarma arrayed on a plate, and once again, served with piping hot bread. Irrespective of how it’s served though, eating a shawarma is enough to make your taste buds sing, and your heart soar with joy.
Pineapple corer and slicer
The first time I ate some really great pineapple was when I was seven, and on holiday with my parents in Thailand. On returning to Muscat, I asked my mum to buy some for me the next time we went shopping. Eating that pineapple, though, was a task that was far easier said than done. I wish, however, that we’d known back then of the pineapple corer and slicer, a device that — true to its name — does exactly what it’s supposed to. The device, which is a little more than a cylindrical steel rod that is inserted into the pineapple, and almost effortlessly pulled out just seconds later, brings with it the juicy, fleshy core of the fruit, before being quickly sliced into rings and packaged into clear plastic boxes. Now, the pineapple corer is widely available, having initially been created for chefs in industrial and commercial kitchens, and we recommend it become a permanent fixture in your kitchen drawer.
One of the more recent gadgets to become all the rage is a rather nifty pistol-shaped dispenser that does little more than squirt your favourite condiment onto your plate.
The condiment gun comes with two reloadable cartridges that contain the condiment of your choice. Be it ranch, chipotle, thousand island or caesar salad dressing, the choices of what goes into (and comes out) of your condiment gun are endless. There are a number of companies that now make these adorable guns, and one of the more popular versions is sold by Mustard & Co., a company that specialises in food and condiment storage.
Simply fill one of the two squeeze cartridges provided in the pack with your favourite sauce then load it in to the bright red barrel.
To prevent the gun from leaking, or, more importantly, children from covering each other in sauce while playing with the gun, it also comes with a cap at the end. Pull, the trigger, and fire your sauce onto your food! Please note that the condiment gun, however appealing to children it may be, is NOT a toy, and must be kept out of their reach, or used under adult supervision.
All-in-one cutting board
The benefit of the all-in-one cutting board is the ease with which you’re able to store freshly chopped produce once you’ve finished cutting it.
All-in-one cutting boards, irrespective of which brand you choose to buy, feature little removable containers underneath the board, making it very convenient to hold your produce until you’ve finished the job. Once done, you can, of course, transfer it to a utensil of your choice before you cook it.
Today, all-in-one cutting boards are sold by several stores, and are also available online, in a variety of shapes and sizes, and crafted from a number of materials. While plastic and wood are among the most common crafting materials for a cutting board, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends keeping all cutting boards clean.
Rotimatic roti maker
Whether you’re a local or an expat in Oman, your house is home to some form of the roti, the unleavened bread that is an integral part of any meal in many cultures of the world.
Known as the roti or the chapatti in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, many versions of the roti, such as khubz or rakhal also form the staple of many Middle Eastern dishes. The best example, of course, of a dish that would not be complete without the roti would be the shawarma, a dish that perfectly fuses this primarily South Asian bread with long-standing form of Arab cooking.
Churning out a number of rotis by hand can be tedious – ask anyone who works that station in a restaurant, or better still, your doting mum – and while technology does have its faults, one of its benefits is the ability to crank out hundreds of rotis a minute.
Capable of making flat rotis, perfect pizzas, and even fluffy puris, the Rotimatic roti maker is also capable of incorporating a number of different flours into its processor. The Rotimatic can also incorporate flour milled from millets, and upcoming designs will include ways to process gluten free and chickpea flour, and create bread in the form of khubz, pita and tortilla, and even shape it around a wrap of your choice.
Rotimatic is all set to launch in the Middle East. People from UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia can now join the waitlist and get their very own Rotimatic. [email protected]