Not all of us are armed to the teeth when it comes to the kitchen and it can be a difference between winging the recipe or giving up altogether and just order in. Some recipes call for very specialized tools like microplanes, garlic crushers, or a modular mandolin, and not all of us, especially those who are just discovering their cooking skills, have all the tools that these chefs do.
But a good cook makes do with what they have, and one of the most useful tools in your arsenal is your trusty cheese grater. Don’t let the name fool you because the same tool you’re using for that block of parmesan can help you make breadcrumbs, slaws, and even pie crusts. Read up and you’ll never look at your grater the same way again.
What do cakes, cupcakes, frappucinos, and hot chocolates have in common? They all transform into their next level when given a good sprinkling of this sinful treat. Get a chunk of a small block of chocolate that fits into your hand and use a handheld grater or a box grater to get evenly sized chocolate flakes.
Hash browns are pretty intimidating when you don’t have the right tools to do the job. With your box grater, you can now make that weekend breakfast, made fresh and fried to golden brown perfection. You can also use the grated potatoes or sweet potatoes on omelets, pancakes, or potato-crusted quiche.
A lot of recipes will ask for julienned or thinly sliced carrots. Whip out your trusty box grater and run your carrots depending on your needs. Bigger holes for slaws, salads, or veggie fritters. The smaller holes for a finer finish that’s perfect for carrot cake batters, carrot pancakes, or mix them up with your favorite mayonnaise-based dressing.
There are a lot of ways to prepare hard-boiled eggs. You can slice them for a snack, mash them up for a creamier version of egg salad sandwiches, cut them in half for ramen garnish, or serve them whole. You can also grate them for a healthier savory salad topper, garnish for grilled vegetables. No food processor? No problem.
Don’t throw out the heels of bread or the crusty ends of baguettes. There will come a time where a recipe will call for breadcrumbs and you will face the important decision of pulling out the food processor or not. Wrap the stale bread in a plastic bag, toss them in the freezer, then take them out when you need to run it on your box grater. You don’t need to buy crumbs, wash the food processor, or throw out old bread.
Frozen butter can be difficult to handle and a lot of recipes call for this very ingredient. Grating frozen butter can help you lessen the amount of time handling the dough and for pie crusts, it mimics the technique called frasiage. Grated butter creates hundreds of tiny butter pockets once it hits the flour, ending up super puffy in the oven.
You want to cut down on the calories but you don’t want to take out the food processor? Grate your cauliflower using a box grater and see the florets turn into crumbs perfect as a rice substitute. You can use a paper towel to squeeze out excess moisture, and it’s easier to do that when the cauliflower is prepared this way.
Garlic can be chopped or crushed but you’ll be missing out on so much flavor if you don’t grate it. Garlic crushers are made specifically for this task but not all people would buy that the first time they assemble their kitchens. The fine side of a box grater can give the same effect but without requiring a new purchase. Add them into salad dressings, oil-based pasta sauces, dips, or a bowl of ramen.
Chopping is tedious, but cleaning your food processor is tiring too. Good thing you can use your box grater to make even strips of fresh cabbage. Toss in some vinaigrette or a rich salad dressing to complete your slaw. Serve it as a side for grilled meat or top in on pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs. You can also use grated cabbage for homemade sauerkraut.
A lot of Indian and Asian dishes require ginger paste. But ginger root is difficult to chop into small pieces because they are fibrous and stringy. Instead, you can peel the ginger then run it against the grain using the fine side of your box grater. Masala marinades, kimchi, or ginger cookies need some ginger loving. Good thing you now know exactly how.
Radishes have an interesting flavor profile where their sweetness blooms into a stingy spicy kick. Complete your homemade tempura experience by serving grated radish on the side. You can also add them in salads, slaws, dips, and dressings. You can grate horseradish as well to get that kicker addition to your sandwiches, burgers, and even sushi.
A lot of recipes will require you to thinly slice cucumbers and honestly, nobody got time for that. Good thing you can grate cucumbers for easier preparations, making your dishes taste much more refreshing. Add them in Mediterranean-style salads or you can make your own tzatziki sauce. You can also use them in Asian rice rolls or a simple Caesar salad.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. Zucchini goes particularly well with chocolate cake. Grated zucchini slowly releases moisture into the cake, making it moister the longer it sits. But to do that, you have to make your zucchini practically invisible. This is where your trusty box grater comes in. Use the finest side of your grater for the best results.
Got a lot of tomatoes and you don’t know what to do with them because your food processor is broken? Grate your tomatoes into a puree and be creative from there. Nachos and tacos? Salsa. Hot summers? Gazpacho that up. Quick dinner? Throw in some grated garlic, basil, and olive oil into your puree for a quick pasta sauce.
You didn’t expect this in the list, did you? You can make grated pasta dishes from scratch. All you need is a box grater, fresh pasta dough, and a little patience. Make pasta grattugiata or other soup-based pasta dishes perfect for those rainy nights.
You don’t need some fancy specialized tool because your basic kitchen tools can turn into a multi-purpose implement that will deliver on efficiency, convenience, and cost. SHARE this with your family and friends and try out these various ways of using your trusty grater.