Similar to any other skill, learning how to cook can take some time and effort. So if you’re new to cooking, here’s a guide to introduce you to some simple and easy tips to follow when starting out.
1. Invest in high-quality cookware
First and foremost, it is essential to look for suitable and reliable cooking tools and equipment. For example, you can start by finding a good chef’s knife. This will make the time spent in the kitchen much easier and good- quality kitchenware can last for years when looked after. Once you’re all stocked, there are many tutorials/explanatory videos on Youtube to reference when learning how to chop or look after the various cookware. This will ensure you feel confident and comfortable with your cutting techniques. Apart from this, you would want to purchase a few other items such as a chopping board, a saucepan, non-stick frying pans, a colander, a peeler, a can-opener and measuring cups and spoons. Remember to search for high-quality tools as this will make a huge difference in your cooking experience and results.
2. Read recipes thoroughly
Ensure you read the recipes you have selected from start to finish. Taking the time to familiarise yourself with the necessary ingredients, cooking times and recommended preparation will prevent you from any surprises or unexpected problems. For instance, you may be following a recipe as you cook only to find out you were supposed to marinate the meat beforehand or get a specific spice you do not currently have. This is why it is important to prepare in advance and stick to instructions and measurements.
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3. Always purchase fresh ingredients
It is important to use fresh and healthy products. This will improve your nutrition and provide you with the best possible quality. You can start by seeking out vegetables and fruits from farmers’ markets. If you have the opportunity, you can search for local farms which offer ethically-sourced meat. Apart from this, you should also make sure you are not using any old and expired spices.
4. Organise everything ahead of time
Another valuable tip is to prepare everything prior to even heating the pan. This means that you should focus on washing, peeling, chopping and dicing in advance. This will make the process much easier as you begin to cook your meal. Checking that you have every ingredient prepared and tools are organised in place will reduce stress in the kitchen significantly.
5. Turn pan handles away to the side
Safety is the most important aspect to consider when learning how to cook. When things get busy in the kitchen, you can accidentally run into the pan and knock over a hot dish. By developing the habit of turning your handles to the side, you will minimise the risk of unpleasant burns.
6. Allow ample space in your pan or baking dish
Remember not to overcrowd your dish. Your food needs space to cook evenly. If you overfill your pan, the meal may turn out soggy due to the steam which is released. When cooking, ensure there is plenty of room available for your food to be nice and crispy. If needed, you can also cook in batches.
7. Make sure your knives are sharp
An interesting fact is that cutting with a dull blade can be more dangerous than with a sharp one. This is due to the fact that there is more pressure used to cut with a dull blade. In turn, this can increase the chances of the knife slipping. This is why in order to avoid any cuts, remember to keep all knives sharp.
8. Stabilise your chopping board
In order to keep your chopping board steady, you can try placing a damp towel underneath it. This will give you a grip preventing your chopping board from moving around. By following this simple tip every time, you can reduce potential accidents.
9. Adjust seasoning as you go
You should season your salt when instructed. Don’t forget to taste your food as you cook. This way, you will know when it is best to add more seasoning and when to stop. You can always able to add more salt and pepper
10. Learn from your mistakes and achievements
Surely it will take some trial and error before you learn what works and what doesn’t. You may need to do some experimenting with spices to find out what you enjoy. Learning to cook well is a never-ending process. There will always be new recipes you would like to try out and skills you would want to develop. Ultimately, it is important to have fun during this process and give yourself grace for putting in the effort.
Hopefully, these tips have provided you with a solid foundation on cooking. As a beginner, you will face some challenges along the way. However, every failure will bring you one step closer to becoming a better and more experienced cook!
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