Kitchen Essentials with Megan Tomino

Kitchen Essentials with Megan Tomino

Take a peek inside the pantry of any chef or die-hard foodie worth their salt and you’ll often find it stocked with staple ingredients they rely on to whip up a delicious home-cooked meal in a hurry. So what are these magical kitchen essentials that can take an ordinary dinner to brave new heights? Recently, we tapped the shoulder of Megan Tomino (IG: @mtea) — our favorite foodie, stylist, photographer, and dynamic wonder in the kitchen—to get the inside scoop of what she’s been stocking in her pantry during this quarantine.

(Clockwise, from left)

1. Kewpie Deep-Roasted Sesame Dressing

This dressing is so versatile that it can make anything taste good. I like to throw it on any blanched, steamed, or stir-fried veggies to give it an instant flavor punch.

2. Basket of Aromatics

I always keep tons of garlic and onions on hand to add layers of flavor to any dish. We all know that if a recipe calls for three garlic cloves, we’re putting the entire bulb in.

3. Kewpie Mayo

Hands-down, this is the best mayo around. It’s made using more yolks than you’ll find in traditional American mayo and uses higher-quality ingredients. Kewpie mayo is my go-to choice for any recipe that calls for mayonnaise.

4. Datu Puti Cane Vinegar

This is one of my favorite ingredients. This variety adds a little more sweetness than you’ll find in most rice vinegar and also has a distinct tartness. I love it for quick pickles, dressings, and of course adobo.

5. Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce

Katsu is a dish I make a lot when I’m missing home. I’ve come to realize I mostly just miss the flavor of this bulldog sauce.

6. Hawaiian Salt

Great for brining, pickling, slow cooking, making poke, and so much more—this chunky salt tastes like home.

7. All-purpose Flour

I’ve been buying AP flour non-stop for all my baking trials and errors. Every pantry should have a bag.

8. Basket of Citrus

I try to keep my pantry stocked with lemons and limes from our backyard and the farmers’ market. They just brighten any food they touch and you can’t beat the aroma they bring to the kitchen when you slice through one.

9. Reusable Face Mask

These days a reusable mask is essential, especially for going out to the farmers’ market and grocery store. My favorite is this palaka mask by local fashion designer Matt Bruening.

10. Three Crabs Fish Sauce

Fish sauce adds depth and just the right amount of salt to so many dishes. Recently we’ve seen it as a substitute for parmesan, which I think is actually pretty genius.

11. Biggest Shoyu you can find

Truth be told, I’m not a loyalist to any shoyu brand, but I also don’t buy anything other than Yamasa, Kikkoman, or Aloha. I get the biggest size and whatever is on sale then refill a smaller container I keep on my counter.

12. Sugar

Sugar is the answer to a lot of things. Marinara doesn’t taste quite right? Add sugar. Dressing a little off? Add sugar. Made something too salty or spicy? Add sugar. It’s in everything whether we want to admit it or not. I’ve chosen to embrace it during quarantine.