Cooking, they say, is an art. Just like any other skill, cooking is something you can get better at doing with enough practice.
Eating out is often good, but sometimes you just want to make your home-made delicacies. As a chef, it is important to always be open to learning new things that will help to upgrade your cooking game.
We have gathered some essential tips that any home chef who hopes to be a pro in making delicious meals should follow. Let’s delve in.
- Invest In Quality Kitchen Equipment
To make good and quality meals, you need to have the right tools to do it well. Just as you can’t attempt to take pictures without a functioning camera, you also can’t cook without using proper kitchen tools.
Some basic tools you need to have are a saucepan, a large pot and a medium one for cooking a lesser quantity of food. You also need utensils such as a chopping board, sheet pan, mixing bowls and spoons of various sizes.
- Always Stock on Staple Foods and Ingredients
There are some staples that you use more frequently in your recipes, such as eggs, milk, cheese, oil, fruits, vegetables and groceries. It is important to always have these staples at home. You can buy them in bulk from grocery stores near you that stock fresh and good quality cooking ingredients. Making this a habit will prevent you having to make quick dashes to a grocery store every time you start cooking.
Naperville grocery store, an international fresh produce expert states that people can now enjoy access to fresh produce sourced from all over the world. Such reliable online grocery stores offer locals from different regions their favorite groceries. So, let’s say that you decide to check into the international Naperville grocery store. Depending on where you come from, you can ask for;
- Asian grocery Naperville
- Indian grocery Naperville
- Brazilian grocery Naperville
- Halal grocery Naperville
Know How To Use Salt
Salt is a very important flavoring that can add a lot of complexity to the taste of your meal. Knowing how to use salt to your advantage is a very important skill to learn while cooking.
Adding salt to your meal before you start cooking it will help it to absorb the sodium properly. If you add the salt after the meal is ready, it forms a crusty layer that makes the food taste saltier. Having this knowledge can come in useful while you're cooking.
There are various types of salts and each has unique properties and uses. Some of them that you can watch out for the next time you go shopping include:
Most table salt comes with added iodine. Iodine is a useful mineral that helps prevent and treat thyroid-related ailments such as goiter. Table salt is heavily processed, very salty and is useful for cooking recipes that need accurate measurements. It is therefore very good for baking.
Sea salt is sourced from the sea. It has coarse crystals, and is perfect for adding a finishing touch to your just cooked food. For example, you can sprinkle some sea salt over freshly grilled steak.
Kosher salt is a fast dissolving salt with coarse crystals. It can be used in a variety of dishes, as it has a mild flavor that molds in well with your food to give it a pleasant taste.
Himalayan salt has large pink crystals. Its color is pink because it contains deposits of iron. It is a delicate salt that can also be used to season cooked food.
It is important to cultivate the habit of patience. Sometimes, recipes require a longer period of time for the meals to be ready, and you should be able to wait for it to be ready.
Patience can be something as simple as adding ingredients step-by-step instead of throwing it all at once in the pot, or waiting for your dough to rise while baking. It can also be in the form of spending an extra minute at the grocery store to select the perfect vegetable or fruit.
When it comes to cooking, the ability to wait is very important to be able to do things right, and achieve the anticipated end result. It comes in even more useful when food needs to cook for a little while longer so that the flavors develop properly.
Taste As You Cook
Tasting at every step when adding ingredients to your meal will help you to learn what to add or reduce from the meal. When you taste as you cook, you can tell the difference between the taste of the food before and after you add a specific ingredient.
Such knowledge can come in useful for your future meal experiments, as you try to add a specific flavor profile to your food. Tasting will also help tell what your dish is missing, so that you can incorporate more seasoning as it cooks.
Deglaze Your Pan
To deglaze is to add a bit of liquid to your hot pan to remove and dissolve food residue from that pan. It helps to learn how to deglaze. You can deglaze with water, wine or broth.
Deglazing can be done after sautéing vegetables such as onions and lentils in a pan. When you deglaze, you are able to get the concentrated bits of flavor that have stuck to the bottom of the pan and add them back to your dish.
Prep Your Ingredients
Prepping basically means to put your ingredients in place. Slicing, chopping and dicing your ingredients before you start cooking your meal will save a lot of time.
It will help you tell which ingredients you have at hand. You also get to follow your recipe without unnecessary interruptions that often occur when you are forced to look for an ingredient while cooking.
Sharpen Your Knives Regularly
Contrary to what you’d think, it is safer to use a sharp knife than a dull one. A sharp knife can easily be controlled, and this will greatly reduce the risk of accidents occurring while you’re using it.
You also get to make more precise cuts, and you don’t have to use a lot of force while cutting through things. You could go to the market to get your knives sharpened, or buy a knife sharpener to use at home.
Get a Good Cookbook
Every good chef should have a good cookbook in their kitchen. A cookbook will not only teach you recipes, it will also contain notes on various cooking techniques and when to use them.
Some cook books will contain recipes for meals for different occasions, and most have beginner friendly recipes. If you don’t want to get a physical cookbook, you can also watch cooking channels on YouTube that teach cooking techniques and recipes, for example, the New York Times Cooking channel.
Umami is the fifth basic taste, the rest of which are sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Umami is the savory taste of food that can be tasted in broth. Knowing how to use umami to enhance the flavor of your meals is a very useful skill to learn.
You can add umami to your meals in the form of:
- Ingredients such as sardines, soy sauce and cheese
- Sauces such as fish sauce and tomato sauce
- Spices like dried thyme, and rosemary
- Stock, such as chicken or beef stock which can be used to prepare your sauces and soups.
Rome was not built in a day, and just like everything else we do, our cooking skills are constantly evolving. It takes a lot of practice to become a better chef, and you should not let yourself get discouraged if you cannot prepare a five-course meal at your first trial.
Some tips that can help your journey to preparing better meals include investing in the right kitchen tools, sharpening your knives properly, and learning to use the complexity of flavor to your advantage.
Cooking a delicious meal is a real ego boost, and we all deserve to feel the satisfaction that comes with it!