Cooking is a fine (and delicious) art. The kind where you can push as many boundaries as your palates would allow.
For some, the culinary art is a hobby, an escape from stress. Others see cooking as a necessary evil that has to happen to sate the stomach and receive life-giving nourishment.
Thankfully, cooking allows experimenting. And sometimes, people even discover fresh recipes. However, as a recent member of the steamy world of cooking, you shouldn’t play around too much. At least not until you master the basics.
To help you on your way, young padawan, I’ve curated a list of ten cooking tips that cover heating, tools, organization, and much more. At the end, I’ve also included an extra tip for safety. So, follow this guide, and in no time you’ll be giving Sisi Yemmie a run for her money.
- Your cooking tools make all the difference. So, use the right-sized non-stick pots and correct cooking utensils. Keep your knives sharp and use different chopping boards for meats and veggies.
- Ensure that your frozen foods thaw completely before cooking. Do this by placing the storage bowl with your frozen food in a bigger bowl half-filled with tap water. Then leave for 30 mins to 1 hour. That allows for even and thorough cooking.
- Heat your pots and pans before cooking. This tip is even more important if you’re adding oil to the pot first. Heat the pot for at least 3 mins before pouring in the oil, this makes the oil heat faster and preserves its quality.
- Mis en place is a French term that translates to “everything in its place.” It is an excellent practice of preparing every necessary ingredient before cooking starts. This preparation includes dicing vegetables, pureeing tomatoes and peppers, chopping vegetables and more.
- When cooking sauces, stews and soups, don’t put all the salt needed at once, as this increases the risk of over salting. Instead, add a little with your onions and other aromatics. Then wait till you’re almost done cooking, taste the food, and add salt as needed.
- Taste your food at every stage. This action alerts you when spices and other condiments are too much or too little. Allowing you to correct any missteps in time.
- Allow the food to cook. Maybe it’s the desire to feel like a professional chef, maybe it’s the impatience that comes with being hungry. But most new cooks don’t allow the food to sit undisturbed and just cook. So, after adding ingredients, allow everything to simmer or boil for a few minutes before stirring or flipping.
- Take carry-over cooking into account. Food will continue to cook even after you’ve taken it off the heat. This tip is important when you’re cooking pasta. Before adding to the sauce, don’t allow your pasta to cook completely. So that when you mix them in, the pasta can absorb flavor from the sauce as it cooks.
- Don’t overcook your vegetables. Leaving veggies on heat for too long reduces the tastiness and destroys heat sensitive nutrients, like Vitamin B and C. Rather, add the vegetables towards the end and keep the heat low.
- Understand the timing for each dish. Rice takes more time to cook than spaghetti, which cooks slower than macaroni. Not knowing the right amount of time to boil or fry different foods can leave you with burned, under-cooked, or worse, lifeless food.
Unfortunately, cooking gets tedious when it becomes a chore. So, while I’ve shared these cooking tips to help you boost your cooking game, don’t feel any pressure to always be in the kitchen. Instead, get an Eden Life food plan, enjoy a regular supply of food, and save money on food – all month long. Subscribe here and live a life with little stress and constant excitement.
We’ll soon cover home safety in full. But till then, here’s a cardinal code for kitchen safety that you do not want to learn the hard way.
If a pan of oil catches fire while on the stove, DO NOT POUR WATER ON IT. That would cause scalding water to splash back out, injuring whoever is within reach.
Instead, turn off the heat from the cooker or the gas cylinder. Then, cover the pan with a pot cover that is same-sized or larger than the pan. Thus starving the fire of oxygen, and quenching it.