Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or someone who doesn’t know the difference between boiling and broiling, there are some cooking techniques that everyone who sets foot in a kitchen should know.
Here are four useful methods to get under your belt:
1) Seared Steak
Who says you need to head to your local steakhouse to enjoy a perfectly grilled cut? If you learn the art of searing, you can cook a delicious dinner that’ll be sure to knock the socks off your guests.
When cooking steak, the cookware you use makes a huge difference to the quality of your meal: most chefs swear by cast iron pans, which hold and retain heat exceptionally well and help to brown steaks evenly. You’ll want to wait until your pan is smoking before adding in your meat, so make sure the exhaust fan is on! Finally, after searing your meat, cover it with foil and let it rest for five minutes – this will help the steak’s juices develop and give it a deeper flavor.
2) Perfect Rice
Cooking rice seems simple, at least until you do it yourself and are left with grains that are either gluggy or burned onto the bottom of your pot. Ick. Because each type of rice requires a slightly different cooking process, you should familiarize yourself with which you should be using for your favourite grain. In most cases, your rice disasters may be because you’re not using the right amount of water. As a rule of thumb, use 1¼ cups of water to 1 cup of long-grain rice, 1½ cups of water to 1 cup of basmati, and 2½ cups for 1 cup of brown rice.
Another thing you should do before popping your rice on the stove is rinse it, which will help to remove excess starch and give it a good, clean flavor.
3) Delicious Pasta
The beauty of pasta is that you can throw it into a pot of boiling water and expect the base of your dinner to be ready in 10 minutes, right? Wrong. Sure, pasta is easy to cook, but cooking great pasta takes a bit more effort.
To guarantee delizioso results every time, make sure to:
- Use a large pot with plenty of water. Any lone bits of spaghetti sticking out above the water won’t be cooked, which is an easy way of ruining your meal.
- Don’t skimp on the salt. You want at least a tablespoon – starch and salt are a match made in heaven.
- Stir every couple of minutes. This will help to keep your pasta from clumping and ensure it’s cooking evenly.
4) Homemade Stock
While stock cubes and powder are a convenient addition to your pantry, they can’t compare to the depth of flavor that homemade stock provides. Fortunately, whipping up your own stock is so easy and will make a world of difference to your dish.
For a scrumptious veggie stock, look for vegetables with neutral and savory flavors like onions, celery, leeks, mushrooms, and carrots. Avoid veggies like potatoes and turnips, which will make your stock thick and cloudy, and don’t add in zucchini and green beans as they’ll become bitter when simmered. Now, all you need to do is wash and roughly chop up your veggies, cover them with water in a big pot, let them simmer for an hour or so, strain, and store. Once you’ve made stock at home, you’ll wonder why you ever opted for store-bought instead.
Cooking isn’t necessarily about using the most complicated techniques: it’s about knowing the smartest way to get around in the kitchen. Follow the tips above, and we guarantee you’ll notice the difference in your meals in no time!