Start with easy recipes, learn how to handle the knife, take prep time, learn when to use salt, and smell to tell if the food is flavorful. Cooking is an art, and learning how to cook is a basic necessity. You can’t always rely on ordering food, nor is it healthy to eat out every day. Some people think cooking is hard. While advanced recipes might be, in general, cooking is fairly easy once you know about the small tips and tricks. In this article, we will be going through 10 tips to help make you a better cook.
Start with Basic Recipes
Practicing a dish you’ll never eat again will completely be a waste of your time and confidence. Instead, if you try some easy and basic recipes, such as baking a chicken, stir-frying vegetables, or making pasta or sauce will help you establish a strong base. Another thing is if you’re a beginner and just getting started, try following recipes all the way through. You can try out different recipes by Foods Guy to learn from basics to advanced recipes.
Hone Your Knife Skills
A lot of people aim to cut fast and learn fancy cuts from the very start. The ambition is good, but the real mark of a good cook is his/her ability to cut everything to the same size. For instance, if you have to cut the chicken for a chicken stew, make sure you cut uniform pieces. If you want to roast or grill vegetables, you will have to do the same thing. Otherwise, some pieces will get overcooked, and some pieces might remain undercooked or raw. For better control, grab the handle of the blade in a way so you can position the side of your index finger and thumb directly above the handle.
Know Your Knives & Keep Them Sharp
The paring knife, chef’s knife, and carving knife are three main knives that can be used to cook almost everything in the kitchen. A chef’s knife is a versatile knife and a kitchen staple that is used for cutting, dicing, mincing, and slicing. The paring knife is ideal for small, detailed tasks like peeling or cutting comparatively small ingredients. The carving knife is useful for slicing meats that are cooked. It can be used for cutting different types of bread as well. It is important to always keep your knives sharp. Many home cooks believe that if their knives are too sharp, they can cut themselves, but this is a misconception. Dull knives create more kitchen accidents because they tend to slip off and can hurt you badly. The easiest way to sharpen your knife is by using honing steel.
Take Proper Preparations
A lot of people just start cooking without allowing enough prep time or organizing the ingredients. Things can get messy in the kitchen very fast, and if you are not organized enough, there is a high chance you will mess it up. In TV shows, you will see that the chefs have everything neatly organized, and that is not just for show. You should do that in real life as well. This saves you a lot of time. Instead of running back and forth, if you measure all the ingredients beforehand and time your cooking well, you will make sure all the flavors are intact.
Don’t Be Stingy with Salt & Use It Properly
You can use ordinary table salt to bring out the flavor of the dish. But if you want to make things even better, try kosher salt or sea salt. But be careful not to make the food too salty, then it will not be edible. On the other hand, you need to use the right amount of salt, otherwise, your food will be flavorless. The amount of salt needed varies from person to person and dish to dish. Some people like a low amount of salt, some people prefer having more. Be sure to apply salt before you cook rather than adding salt after cooking.
Learn About Smoke Temperatures
Smoking a dish can sometimes overcook or burn it. This happens when you are not aware of the smoking point of the food you are cooking. To prevent this, you need to be aware of the smoking point of the ingredients, especially oil. For example, olive oil smokes at around 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter, on the other hand, smokes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Avocado oil and ghee can be heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit before they start to smoke. Keep this information in mind if you want your dish to remain edible.
Always Dry Your Meat
The right way to handle meat is to dry it before cooking. There are small water particles on the surface of the meat, and when you cook it without drying, this will create steam, making the meat cook unevenly and give it an unpleasant appearance.
Don’t Leave Your Flavors Behind
You may notice that some parts of your food will stick to the pan unless it is non-stick. Do not let these little bits go to waste. Add a bit of wine, scrape them up, and add it to your dish.
Smelling Is Important
You need to have a good sense of smell if you want to be a good cook. You should be able to tell if your dish is cooked or not just by smelling it. This is more about the experience rather than innate talent. The more you cook, the better you will be at paying attention to the smell.
Learn How to Tenderize
When cooking meat, try to make it tender by pounding it gently. This breaks the fibers in the meat and results in a soft texture when cooked. Marinades can also make your meat tender.
Practice makes perfect, and this is definitely true for cooking. You cannot learn all the skills in one day or even a month. You have to find your way and use the new skills you learn every day. Cooking your own meals every day at home is the best way to refine and brush up on your skills.