My favorite type of recipe for these gifts is one that seems intimidating, perhaps because the ingredients are hard to find or because it's not a dish most people make from scratch, but one which is actually quite simple to make. Here are a few ideas:
• Kimchi: The toughest part of making kimchi is tracking down Korean red pepper flakes. A kit that includes a bag of the red pepper, sea salt, a pair of food handling gloves and a big jar will give Korean pickle addicts the tools to turn their favorite vegetables into kimchi.
• Dashi: This simple stock is the basis for many Japanese recipes and it is so easy to make from scratch. Put together a kit with packages of kombu (dried kelp) and katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes).
• Ma Po Tofu: Know any spicy Sichuan food addicts? A kit including numbing Sichuan peppercorns, Sichuan chili bean paste and fermented black beans will have them well on their way to making their own version of this comforting dish.
• A favorite Indian dish: Jump-start a friend's Indian pantry with the spices they'll need for their favorite Indian dish, along with a bag of basmati rice.
• Ricotta: Some cheesecloth, a pretty jar for storing the finished cheese and a hands-on lesson are all it takes to show your recipient how easy and satisfying it is to make ricotta.
• Granola: Making homemade granola is no more difficult than baking a batch of cookies, but for some reason it sounds more complicated. A kit with rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, a sweetener like agave and a nice jar — a good jar makes every gift better! — proves its simplicity.
Have you ever given a kit like this as a gift? Any ideas for other recipes that would make good kits?
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)