Must Have Cookware for Indian Restaurants: A Comprehensive Guide

Cookware utensils for Indian restaurants

Indian cuisine, renowned for its rich flavors and diverse dishes, requires specialized cookware and utensils to achieve its authentic taste. For Indian restaurants, equipping the kitchen with the right tools is crucial for efficient operations and quality food preparation. This article delves into the top essential cookware and utensils needed by Indian restaurants, with a special focus on the tandoori oven, a cornerstone of Indian culinary traditions.

Tandoori Oven: The Heart of Indian Cooking

A commercial tandoori oven, or tandoor, is essential for any Indian restaurant aiming to offer traditional dishes. This cylindrical clay oven is used to cook a variety of items, including naan bread, tandoori chicken, and kebabs. The tandoor can reach extremely high temperatures, allowing for the unique smoky flavor and charred texture characteristic of tandoori dishes.

How It’s Used:

  • Naan and Bread: Dough is slapped onto the inner walls of the tandoor, where it bakes quickly.
  • Meat and Kebabs: Marinated meats are skewered and placed vertically inside the oven, ensuring even cooking.

Investing in a high-quality tandoor is non-negotiable for an Indian restaurant, as it is central to many signature dishes. Make sure the tandoor you purchase is NSF certified which may be required in your state for health inspection reasons.

Kadhai: The Versatile Wok

A kadhai, similar to a wok but with steeper sides, is indispensable in an Indian kitchen. It is used for deep-frying, sautéing, and preparing curries. Large iron kadai with heavy-bottomed design ensures even heat distribution, crucial for cooking Indian dishes that often require precise temperature control.

How It’s Used:

  • Curries and Gravies: The kadhai is perfect for simmering curries, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Frying: Whether it’s pakoras or samosas, the kadhai is ideal for frying due to its deep sides.

Pressure Cooker: Speed and Efficiency

Large commercial size Pressure cooker is a staple in Indian restaurants kitchen, known for drastically reducing cooking times. They are especially useful for cooking lentils, beans, and tough meats, which are common in Indian cuisine. Popular brands like Hawkins and Prestige both make commercial pressure cookers.

How It’s Used:

  • Dal and Legumes: Pressure cookers are used to prepare dals, ensuring they are soft and well-cooked in a fraction of the time.
  • Meat: Tough cuts of meat become tender quickly, making it easier to prepare dishes like mutton curry.

Tawa: The Flat Griddle

A tawa is a flat or slightly concave griddle used for making Indian breads like roti, chapati, and dosa. It is usually made of cast iron or steel, providing even heat distribution. Make sure you shop for a large iron tawa to use at buffet table and also for cooking.

How It’s Used:

  • Roti and Chapati: The dough is rolled out and cooked on the tawa, often with a bit of ghee for added flavor.
  • Dosa: This South Indian staple is spread thinly on the tawa to achieve a crispy texture.

Spice Grinder: Fresh Flavors

Spices are the soul of Indian cooking, and a spice grinder is essential for any Indian restaurant. Freshly ground spices enhance the aroma and flavor of dishes significantly.

How It’s Used:

  • Garam Masala: A blend of spices ground fresh to elevate curries and other dishes.
  • Chutneys: Grinding ingredients for fresh chutneys to accompany meals.

Balti Dish: Serving and Cooking

Balti dishes, made from thin, pressed steel, are both cooking pots and serving dishes. They are particularly popular in North Indian cuisine for making and serving balti curries.

How It’s Used:

  • Balti Curries: These are prepared directly in the balti dish and served hot to retain flavor and warmth.
  • Presentation: The balti dish’s aesthetic appeal enhances the dining experience.

Mortar and Pestle: Traditional Grinding

While electric grinders are convenient, a mortar and pestle provides a traditional touch, allowing for the manual grinding of spices and herbs. This method can bring out the oils and flavors more effectively.

How It’s Used:

  • Spices: Grinding small quantities of spices for immediate use.
  • Herbs: Crushing herbs for garnishes and fresh pastes.

Biryani Pot: For the Perfect Biryani

Biryani is a celebrated dish in Indian cuisine, and a biryani pot or handi, typically made from heavy-bottomed metal, is necessary for its preparation. These pots are designed to handle the layering and slow-cooking process essential for biryani.

How It’s Used:

  • Layering: Rice, meat, and spices are layered and cooked slowly to infuse flavors.
  • Dum Cooking: The pot is sealed with dough to trap steam, ensuring the rice cooks evenly.

Idli Steamer: For South Indian Delicacies

An idli steamer is essential for making idlis, a popular South Indian breakfast item. These steamers come with multiple tiers to cook several idlis at once. Make sure to look into commercial idli steamer that can be used to make large quantity of idlis in one batch.

How It’s Used:

  • Idli Preparation: Batter is poured into the molds, and the steamer cooks the idlis to a soft, fluffy consistency.

Essential Kitchenware & Utensils

The following Indian kitchenware items are a must have in every Indian home or restaurant –

  1. Skewers: For tandoori cooking, skewers are used to hold meats and vegetables.
  2. Spatulas: Flat and slotted spatulas are essential for flipping and stirring.
  3. Ladles: For serving curries and dals.
  4. Rolling Pin (Belan): Used to roll out dough for breads and pastries.
  5. Strainer: For draining fried foods and rinsing grains.
  6. Serving Dishes: Depending on the menu, you may also need stainless steel utensils like thali, bowls, copper karahi and other copper serving dishes, cutlery and other serving essentials.


Equipping an Indian restaurant requires a careful selection of Indian restaurant cookware and utensils tailored to the diverse needs of Indian cuisine. It is important that you purchase the best Indian cookware for long lasting and durability. From the essential tandoor oven to versatile kadhais and specialized tools like the biryani pot and idli steamer, each piece plays a critical role in crafting authentic Indian dishes. By investing in these kitchenware and cookware, Indian restaurants can ensure efficient kitchen operations and deliver high-quality, flavorful food that keeps customers coming back for more.

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