Any person who cooks would know this fact – the amount of time spent prepping for a meal or a dish is much higher than the actual time it takes to prepare the dish. While this is unavoidable in most cases, cooking can be shortened by implementing a few tips and tricks which are sure to come in handy for you. Remember these tricks, so that you can save a lot of time and complete your cooking when you are still hungry.
Kitchen Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
Here are some amazing kitchen tips and hints for cooking, which can come in handy at some point or other.
Even though this requires you to plan ahead for half a day, it can be a coup when it is done. Anyone who cooks pasta a lot would know that it takes a lot of time to do so. To reduce the amount of time normally taken to cook it, you should try soaking the pasta before you start cooking it. Soak it in water in a leakproof container for several hours, or even overnight before you make your dish – you will find that the cooking of pasta after that takes only about a minute. You can even directly add sauce to it and consume if you like it like that.
2. Caramelizing Onions
Many dishes require caramelised onions, and the dishes simply do not seem complete without it. To cook caramelised onions quicker, you should add baking soda when it turns slightly brown in a frying pan. Add about 1 tbsp of soda, for every 2 lbs of onions – you will notice that the onions will caramelise at twice the speed, and do not end up burning.
While spatulas are awesome, especially when the dish requires a lot of scraping and flipping, tongs are best for almost every other dish. Tongs are much more agile and nimble compared to spatulas, and you will notice that the number of things that flip onto the floor while using tongs is far less compared to spatulas.
There is a reason why Tupperware is the main feature in most kitchen tips for working moms. They are usually airtight, which means that they can keep almost anything fresher for longer periods, lasting up to a week. Anything, from berries to fresh cut leaves can be stored in these reusable, eco-friendly vessels.
5. Garlic Squashing
Peeling and then pressing garlic takes a ridiculous amount of time, as any chef would know. If you notice, you would see that most chefs use their big knives as a substitute for a garlic press effectively. You can place the garlic onto a cutting board and squash it with the flat side of the nice so that the papery skin comes right off it. After that, it takes only about ten seconds to mince the garlic into little pieces for cooking.
6. Separate Cutting Boards
Nobody likes the taste of onion or garlic with anything they eat. Particularly in India, many people do not even try to eat onions, for personal and religious reasons. Try to have more than one cutting board for your cooking needs. One can be used for garlic and onions, and the other ingredients that go into those dishes – the other for herbs, fruits, cheeses and the likes.
7. Fresh Greens
As much as possible, you should try to procure herbs that are fresh and not stored. They are available almost everywhere and are not expensive in most cases. You can always store them inside your fridge so that they do not turn bad quickly. If you opt for not so fresh herbs, you will soon see that the herbs tend to turn bad quickly even after carefully storing them.
Regarding common taste-based mistakes, overcooking is perhaps the most common ones that novice chefs do. Overcooking is worse than undercooking – meat becomes tough and chalky, and vegetables lose their flavour owing to it. You should learn the practice of taking the food off the heat at the right time before they cook too much, and let them cook with the internal temperature they have.
9. The Importance of Salt
Salt is not only required for your health but is also an indispensable part of any meal. If you think that your food is just okay, but you did nothing wrong, it probably needs some flavour in the form of salt. Over-salting is bad, so you should try adding a pinch to check if the food tastes better after that.
10. No refrigerating fruit
With the possible exception of berries, fruits should not be stored inside the fridge – obviously, extremely hot climates are excluded from this rule. Fridges tend to dull and take away the flavour that makes fruits so unique, so you should try to keep them as fresh as possible without using the fridge. Eating them quickly would definitely represent the better option.
11. Grate Butter
Butter is commonly stored in the fridge, so it becomes difficult to grate or break off to be spread over anything you are cooking. In such a situation, most people tend to wait for it to heat up so that they can spread it accordingly. However, the better thing to do in such a situation would be to grate the butter using a common cheese grater. These butter grates can then be added onto anything you make, including biscuits, toast, muffins and the likes. It also makes it easier to manage, too.
12. Broken Shells
Those who user organic eggs for breakfast would find that the shells of the eggs are considerably flimsier compared to the commercial variant. If you notice a piece of the shell fall into the yolk that you have put into a bowl, it would not be ideal to fish it out using your finger. Instead, use one of the egg halves itself to scoop up that eggshell which fell into the bowl.
13. Fresh Eggs
Many times, you may find yourself confused about whether the egg in your fridge can be used for cooking. How can you check without breaking open the egg? There is a way for that, too. You should try placing the egg in a glass of water, and observe if it floats or not. If it stays up from the bottom, it is losing freshness – if it is floating towards the surface of the water, it is probably not suitable for cooking. This is because the eggshells let in the air over time, as their porosity increases – this means that they lose their freshness too.
14. Reheating Pasta
When you are reheating the leftover pasta from the previous day, you will find that it is hard to ensure that the microwave heats it evenly from all sides. More often than not, you will have to open the door midway to stir the pasta to make it heat more evenly. To get it done in one go, the best way to arrange the pasta in the plate in a special manner. When you place the pasta, ensure that there is a small circle empty in the middle of the plate, and sprinkle some water in that area. This will ensure that the pasta gets cooked more evenly, and you will not have to stir it several times to get even heating.
15. Sliding Boards
If you love to cook your dishes quickly, you will have to cut the ingredients quickly too. However, knives and cutting boards are not optimal for each other, as any cooking aficionado would tell you. You may have to reduce the speed of your cutting to adjust or resort yourself to spending a lot of time adjusting the cutting board again and again. However, you can solve this problem by placing a grip under the board for your benefit. By placing a rubber mat or even a wet paper towel under the cutting board, you can concentrate on chopping your ingredients quickly rather than having to readjust the cutting board every single time.
Cooking tips are fantastic since they end up saving a lot of time and also making your food taste better. Implement some of these tips yourself, and feel the improvement!