5 Pantry Staples Padma Lakshmi Can’t Live Without

food for thought

The “Top Chef” host (and consummate home chef) reveals the ingredients she keeps in her kitchen at all times.

Jan 28, 2014 | 06:43 PM

Last week, Padma Lakshmi was gracious enough to invite us to her home for a quick look inside her well-stocked kitchen. Although we knew that the “Top Chef” host was an accomplished home cook, we were still surprised at how often the busy mom and world traveler manages to whip up delicious dishes on the fly.
Part of the secret, of course, is keeping essentials close at hand for whenever inspiration strikes. We asked Padma to share the pantry favorites that she can't live without. In no particular order, here they are:

1. Unsweetened Coconut Milk

A staple of Southeast Asian cooking, coconut milk is often used as a base for spicy curries and soups.

2. 70% Dark Chocolate

A healthy way to indulge your sweet tooth (and great for baking, too).

3. Preserved Lemons

These tart and salty pickled lemons are key ingredient for many Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes. Make your own at home with this recipe.

4. Jalapeño Jam

Add a little heat to your favorite dishes with this spicy condiment.

5. Ice Cold Vintage Champagne

Great to keep on hand for last-minute guests and celebrations.

What pantry staples do you swear by? Let us know in the comments below.

Want more from Padma's kitchen? Shop her collection at One King's Lane.

You might also like

Now on People