What A Dozen Cousins’ Ibraheem Basir Can’t Live Without in His Kitchen

Like his brand, Basir’s kitchen is all about smart solutions.

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August 24, 2022

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Photo by: Photo courtesy of A Dozen Cousins

Photo courtesy of A Dozen Cousins

With A Dozen Cousins’ naturally seasoned sauces, rice and beans, founder and CEO Ibraheem Basir has made traditional Creole, Caribbean and Latin American dishes more convenient for the everyday kitchen. Cooked with wholesome ingredients like avocado oil and bone broth, Basir’s products — including Trini Chickpea Curry, Spanish Yellow Rice and Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa Seasoning Sauce — prove that you don’t have to choose between healthy and flavorful. The accomplished chef believes in the importance of time-saving solutions and ease when cooking at home, so we asked him to share the must-have kitchen tools, ingredients and other essentials that make his life better.

$16.99

Ever have a recipe that requires just half of an ingredient? Basir discovered a hack to this seemingly inevitable (and annoying) type of food waste. “These silicone cups make it easy to hold on to extra ingredients like onion and tomato for a few days,” he says. “You’re also avoiding material waste since you’re not wrapping them up in aluminum foil or Ziploc bags. You just rinse off the silicone and use them again.”

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$199.99

With two young daughters in his family, convenience is key in Basir’s home — so it’s no surprise that his air fryer is a star. “This might be the most heavily used item in my kitchen,” he says. “The cool thing about the air fryer is it gets hot really quickly and you’re able to cook something in 5-10 minutes.” It’s also flexible. “We even use it for baking.” This 9-quart one is large enough for family meals if needed.

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Because Basir eats a lot of gravies and curries, a good plate bowl (for lack of a better term) is a must. “I’ve fallen in love with this dish — when you’re eating something with rice, a perfectly flat plate can be annoying,” he says. “It’s kind of hard to get your proportions just right and get some of everything in every bite.” Basir favors East Fork in particular due to its company’s core values and commitment to paying employees a fair wage.

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Though some home cooks shy away from cast iron because it tends to be a bit tricky to clean and care for, Basir swears by its ability to get hotter than any other pan. “I love using it to cook steaks and boneless chicken thighs,” he says. “You’re able to get that really great sear and crunch on the outside of your protein.”

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Basir’s brand, A Dozen Cousins, aims to make it easier to cook healthy, traditional meals at home. The company’s Entree Seasoning Sauces nail this goal by taking marinating (maybe one of the most painful tasks in all of meal prep) out of the equation. “I hate to marinate meat in advance, so these were perfectly designed to meet my needs as a chef,” says Basir. “I use our Entree Seasoning Sauces a few times a week. You can just coat the protein and start cooking — it doesn’t require any advance prep. My personal favorite is the jerk seasoning.”

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A Dozen Cousins’ Bean Variety Pack is the brand’s first product and also its best-selling item. Made of seasoned beans that are cooked in avocado oil, these deceptively simple sides have the power to transform a meal. “Say you get home and have leftover chicken or a random cup of rice from the night before,” says Basir. “Add in a hot scoop of our black beans and it turns it into an easy-to-prepare meal.”

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$21.49

Basir is a self-confessed “big condiment person” and ranks one of his favorites as the ever-popular Mike’s Hot Honey, a honey infused with chilies. “It’s a super unique and delicious product,” he says. “I use it primarily with fried chicken. It’s my go-to dipping sauce — I love the balance of sweet and heat.”

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$16.14

Another condiment Basir can’t get enough of is Mambo Sauce, a sweet, hot and tangy topping originally created for chicken wings. He puts it on just about everything though, including fries and burgers. “You can think of it as an elevated ketchup,” Basir says.

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$91.20

Basir’s soon-to-be five-year-old daughter loves to act as his sous-chef, and this wood step stool helps her work at the counter right beside her dad. “I’ll give her little jobs to do whether it’s chopping cucumbers with a safety knife or sorting an ingredient or picking something off the vine so she can feel like she’s in the mix,” he says. “It’s fun because she’s usually pretty mesmerized by me cooking and it’s nice to get that boost of positive energy.”

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$90

The ultimate kitchen wardrobe means something that is stylish, comfortable and of course, easy to wash. These stretchy Nike yoga pants, equipped with deep pockets, check all three boxes. “Comfort is first and foremost, so having the right clothes on while cooking actually makes a big difference for me and puts me in the right mood,” says Basir.

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$149.95

For Basir, kitchen time equals podcast time. “I can completely unplug and I’m with my thoughts a little bit, so I can listen to a podcast and really dig in,” he says. “Most of the dishes I cook are pretty instinctual, so I’m not really thinking about cooking, I’m just doing it and enjoying it.” His top picks? “This American Life is high on my list. I’m a former history major and love storytelling in a longform format. I also love Pardon the Interruption — that’s my daily dose of sports.”

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