Any beginner to macrobiotic cuisine can feel a little intimidated when learning new ingredients and terms: gomasio, adzuki beans, amasake, kudzu, to name a few. And while you still may need a dictionary to help pronounce those ingredients, mastering the recipes can be much easier if you’re equipped with the right cookware. Here are 5 essential kitchen tools you’ll want to have when taking on the macrobiotic diet.
It’s possible to cook macrobiotic cuisine without a pressure cooker, but few chefs would advise you attempt it! The pressure cooker helps you prepare so many staples of the macrobiotic diet—beans, grains, squash, and stews—with ease and convenience. Invest in a high-quality stainless steel pressure cooker with a safety valve that will help you avoid accidentally blowing the lid off of your cooker.
The suribachi is like a very large stone mortar and pestle used to grind ingredients. It’s most commonly used to make the condiment gomasio by grinding together toasted sesame seeds and salt into a chunky powder. You can always cheat and use a coffee or spice grinder to make your gomasio at home, but once you try the from-scratch, hand-ground method, you will instantly taste the difference in quality.
Pressed salads are an essential part of the macrobiotic diet. Made from literally pressing raw vegetables until softened (and sometimes pickled), a pressed salad is thought to be an easier way to digest raw vegetables. You can press vegetables in a plain bowl with a weight (as when making pickles from scratch), but owning a salad press makes the process simpler and more efficient. See a photo of what this tool looks like on the website Macrobiotic Shop.
Regular or Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven
You may already own a Le Crueset enamel cast-iron Dutch oven, which are wonderful for any home cook’s kitchen. These and other heavy, large cast-iron pots are incredibly handy in a macrobiotic kitchen. Whether you’re braising, roasting, or slow-cooking, these hardy pots can do it all for your macrobiotic recipes. They can be expensive to purchase but are worth the cost for the lifetime of quality results they’ll provide in the kitchen.
Large Cast Iron Skillet
Similar to the cast-iron Dutch ovens, these sturdy skillets are used daily in macrobiotic kitchens. The great thing about cast-iron skillets over others is that you can do virtually anything in the pan—braise, sear, deep-fry, roast, and even poach. When cared for properly, a cast-iron skillet can last a lifetime and become a truly treasured heirloom in your kitchen.
Image adapted from khawkins04, Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0