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I am by no means a good cook, let alone a great cook. My mother is but I never took interest in learning what she knows and how she churns out really nice dishes. The only reason why I started cooking is because of my son. I learnt how to cook only after he was born maybe when he was old enough to eat solids. My cooking vocabulary is very minimal but I try very hard for him at least. He was a REALLY picky eater - it was exhausting - every meal time was a time we both dreaded and it went on for years! Nevertheless, I took note of what he liked every time we went out to eat and tried to re-create those dishes for him. My son is too kind, he'll never say he doesn't like my cooking but the expression on his face after the first mouth basically told the truth. It was obvious that he liked eating out more than eating what I cooked up for him but I never gave up. After many years of trying, I think I'm getting to get the hang of it, at least his expressions are not too bad and when the dishes are good he's very complimentary.

Over the years, I have learned that condiments and other flavour boosters play a big role in the dishes that I create on a daily basis.

Stocking your pantry with basic kitchen staples makes it easy to explore a variety of recipes.

This list includes the pantry items that I use frequently. Your pantry list should be customized to what your family eats and you may not need everything from the list I have here.  This is a guide to items that you could consider having on hand at all times so that when you finally need to focus on meal time you would have a running head start. Whether it’s a family dinner on a week night, or quick meal for one, or just the need to not have to go out to the grocery store, these pantry staples will enable you to get something edible on the table any night of the week!

Dry Foods




Dried Chillies




Chilli Powder

Curry Powder




Coriander Powder

Cumin Powder


Soy Sauce

Oyster Sauce

Chicken Stock

Hoisin Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Sesame Oil

Fish Sauce

Coconut Milk

Here are some examples of ingredient compilations that I create as a base for my dishes:-

Curry Base

Curry Powder + Chilli Powder + Turmeric + Onion + Garlic + Ginger

Teriyaki Chicken/Salmon

Teriyaki Sauce + Hoisin Sauce + Garlic

Chilli Paste

Dried Chillies + Onion + Garlic + Ginger

Dried Chilli Chicken

Dried Chillies + Chilli Powder + Onion + Garlic

Turmeric Based Gravy

Turmeric + Onion + Garlic + Ginger + Coconut Milk

With any protein or even vegetables, you could most possibly whip up a good meal with a compilation of some of the above. At least, the meals that I have created with these really basic staples have been teen approved (so far!) and that's a big feat for me. Hope it will give you some inspiration and serve you as well as they do me - enjoy!


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