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For a South Asian Pantry: What to Stock Up During the Coronavirus Outbreak

2 min read

With the world in a current state of crisis, every family is handling it differently, and for us as desi parents, preparation just makes us feel better. So as a forewarning, this post is meant to be informative, not fear or chaos mongering.

For the Pawar family, we’ve prepped to have two to three weeks of worth of non-perishable food at home and it’s important not to hoard for months worth of food and to keep those elderly or in a vulnerable state in mind. We shopped with the intent that if we had to avoid going out for that timeframe, we could. Before we did any shopping, we first took an inventory of what we had at home to make sure we were preparing, not stockpiling.

[Read Related: Add Some Color to Your Menu With This Easy-to-Make Chinese Bhel Recipe]

preparing for Covid-19 Coronavirus

Being South Asian, things like rice, dry beans/lentils and flour are always in stock at home so we ticked that off the list.

Other than that, here are some other things we are making sure we have at home:


  • grains such as semolina, oats, cracked wheat 
  • a few bags of frozen fruits and vegetables 
  • onions and potatoes 
  • eggs
  • canned beans and tomatoes 
  • dried pasta
  • jarred sauces
  • cooking oil
  • shelf-stable milk
  • fresh fruits that last 2+ weeks when refrigerated: apples, oranges, pears
  • fresh vegetables that last 2+ weeks when refrigerated: carrots, cabbage, garlic, squash, celery, beets, bell peppers, chillies 
  • frozen fish/meat 
  • frozen naan, roti or bread; which you can freeze for freshness
  • stock/vegetable bullion cubes
  • water 

[Read Related: Date Night Pasta: Creamy Tomato & Spinach Penne Recipe for the Perfect Night at Home]

Household Items

If you already buy these in bulk, just ensure you have enough for 2-3 weeks, no need to stockpile.

  • soap
  • toilet paper
  • paper towels 
  • extra flu medications for all of us, an extra bottle each.
  • hand sanitizer
  • refill and prescriptions you’re running low on
  • female hygiene products
  • multivitamins/immunity boosters; if you take any

Baby Items

If you are a new mom or a mom to tiny ones, here are some things that would be helpful to have a little more of.

  • diapers
  • shelf-stable baby food
  • baby wipes
  • baby fever medicine

As the number of reported cases across the world continues to rise, it’s vital we all practice social distancing and one of the only ways to feel in control during a pandemic is knowing you and your loved ones have the essentials for at least the next week or two.