Pantries are like fingerprints: each one is unique to its owner. Some foods are universal: flour, sugar, salt, pepper. But other products can provide real insight into the person living (and eating) in that space. And I don’t know about you, but I personally love snooping in other people’s pantries, discovering which sugary cereals they favor or aromatic spice blends they use and whether they splurge on single-origin coffee beans. If you’re also pantry curious, In My Pantry is for you.
In this, our first installment, we asked Maneet Chauhan what’s in her pantry. Currently a judge on Food Network’s Chopped, Chauhan also cofounded (along with her husband, Vivek Deora) Morph Hospitality Group, which operates four restaurants in Nashville, Tenn. Right now, you can catch her defending her title as champ on Food Network’s Tournament of Champions.
Let’s see what Chauhan has to say about what she loves most in her pantry.
Masala Dabba (an Indian Spice Box)
“A masala dabba is a quintessential item in an Indian kitchen,” Chauhan says. “These boxes can vary based on the spices a person loves to use. For example, my mom, grandmother and aunt all have different masala dabbas because their preferred spices vary. In mine, you will find chaat masala, turmeric, dried fenugreek leaves, Kashmiri red chili powder, Himalayan pink salt, green cardamon and garam masala, which are my favorites because based on these, I can make any flavors come to life.”
“The versatility of coconut oil makes it a must have pantry item. It adds creaminess to any dish that I’m cooking.”
Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Chili Sauce (Indian Ketchup)
“Ketchup is a pantry staple, and this brand specifically is nostalgic for me!”
“Similar to coconut oil, chickpea flour is extremely versatile, so great to always have on hand. Not only can I make Indian breads, crepes and fritters, but I can also use it in a yogurt soup called kadhi.”
“Rice should always be a pantry staple because, if you get creative, you can really make any dish out of it. My favorite is basmati rice because I grew up on it, and the fragrance is amazing.”