I was one of you two years back so here’s a quick guide that hopefully helps you.
1. Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers are most commonly used in India which means you get a large variety and the cheapest options here. There are lots to choose from but unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to check them out because I got 3 pressure cookers as a gift for the wedding, of which 2 I carried with me to Singapore.
If you are single or just married, you will only need a small one, probably 3-5 litres. However, I would recommend getting one of those with tiered racks inside where you can keep multiple things at the same time – like rice, dal, and some vegetable. That would save a lot of time. Otherwise, its a good idea to carry 2 small pressure cookers, one for rice and one for dal or any vegetable you may want to cook up.
Hawkins and Prestige are brands you can trust.
Indian cooking involves a fair bit of grinding and nothing does a job as good as an Indian mixer grinder can. It takes up some space for sure but I highly recommend lugging a mixie across the shores, you will definitely not regret it.
Sumeet is the most popular and best brand of mixie available. Mine is almost 16 years old, my aunt used it before me, and it still works better than a new model from any other brand would. Having said that, my family is heavily biased towards Sumeet and we haven’t tried anything else. Also, apparently the company has gone through a major rehaul in recent years and they don’t make them like they used to. Preethi is also supposedly good so check it out.
A big jar and a spice grinding jar should be enough but if your mixie comes with 3 jars, pack them all in.
A good substitute for the small spice mixer is the coffee grinders you get abroad. This is hearsay and I haven’t tried it out myself. You can also get a food processor as a substitute for a mixie but consider yourself warned, it may not work as well.
3. Tawa, Dosa / Chapathi Griddle
This is probably something you can get abroad and you definitely do in Singapore. But, its considerably more expensive and you get only one kind. Since a tawa is relatively less heavy, you could easily pick up one from India. Take your pick from non-stick, hard anodised, iron, or aluminium. I would personally recommend the non-stick, if you are not entirely against the concept. It’s the easiest to use and maintain. This is for rotis, by the way. You do need separate tawa for roti and dosa since dosas will stick mercilessly to a tawa that’s used for rotis no matter how much onion you rub on it or how much oil you pour on. I use a cast iron tawa for dosa and a non-stick (hard anodised as well) one for rotis and I am very happy with these.
4. Kadai / Karai / Cheena Chatti
A kadai is something I didn’t expect to have to bring from home, but interestingly, it was tough to find one in Singapore (unless you get one from a really expensive brand). The only kind I found here were the wide pans that came with no lids so I was super grateful for the non-stick Prestige kadai that I packed as an after-thought. I use it to make pretty much all sabzis and dry curries since any other material you use would require a lot more oil. Nowadays you get ceramic coated ones which apparently require just 2 drops of oil. I am yet to try this but will update this post if and when I do.
Carry a kadai with you, just in case. You may end up using this the most in your kitchen.
5. Steel Plates and Tumblers
These are optional, of course, but having grown up in a household where we primarily used stainless steel utensils and plates, I packed 2 plates, 6 tumblers and a few small plates (for snacks, to use as spoon rests, to cover bowls, etc) and have never regretted the decision. They are light, easy to clean, non-destructible and cheapest in India.
Anything else you feel is absolutely essential in your kitchen and you would recommend carrying abroad from India, in case of relocation?