The must have
What are a couple of must have ingredients/spices that I should have in my Cooking toolbox?
sweetened condensed milk
the list is endless...what kind of cooking toolbox? savory? sweet?
Smoked chiles in whole or powder form. Yeah. Yeah. Everyone is bored with chipotle this and chipotle that, but I find that we use a lot of chipotle (pods and powder) and smoked Spanish paprikas (both sweet and hot powdered) in our kitchen. If you're bored with chipotle per se and are looking for a smoked chile flavor with less heat, try pasillas de Oaxaca.
Depends on what you cook, but here are my additions:
sage, rosemary, thyme
instant espresso/coffee powder (for baked goods and marinating meats)
oils: extra virgin olive, sesame, grapeseed, and canola
garlic and onion
sun dried tomatoes
dried wild mushrooms
rice, both white and whole wheat: sushi, jasmine, basmati, and regular medium-grain
pine nuts, walnuts, and almonds
*Personally am hardly ever without goat brie
Living alone, so mainly keep bread, meats, and fish in the freezer in single portions.
A couple must haves are Kosher and/or sea salt and pepper corns for grinding fresh.
That's just the start. Depending on the food you cook regularly, or plan to cook, the list increases according to your needs. When I am about to use a recipe for the first time, I read through it, go into the pantry, check to make certain I have all the necessaires, buy what I need, proceed to cook. It just does not make sense to me to have herbs and spices, et al, sitting on a shelf unused. You'd be surprised just how fast your pantry cache builds when you begin cooking in earnest.
Blended seame/soybean oil
Pure roasted sesame oil
Fine, medium, and coarse ground red chili powder
Soy bean paste
White, black, and brown rice
Soy Sauce, Both light and dark
Clear noodle (sweet potato starch noodle)
Dried fern sprouts
Dried doragi (bellfower root)
Fresh Asian herbs/roots as needed NOT the powders.