Everyone wants to become better in any skill they have. Cooking is no exception. Even if you think you are hopeless in the kitchen; like everything else, practice and increasing your knowledge makes perfect. Just relax and pretend that you are playing with the ingredients and you will realize that cooking is not such a daunting task. The following are All Nigerian Food Recipes' top 10 tips to becoming a better cook.
Top 10 Tips
1. Add to what you know
Constantly increasing your knowledge of cooking is important because you already know the basics of cooking and you are interested in improving your skills. Search for recipes on the web and in cookery books, read them through even if it is a recipe for a meal you think you have perfected. With Nigerian food recipes, and any other world recipe, there are often many ways to cook a meal and achieve the same results. So there's always something new to learn.
When you eat a familiar meal and you notice an improvement in the taste, it is good to ask the cook what he/she did to achieve that.
This is one of the top tips of how to become a better cook because you may know all the ingredients you need, spend a lot of money on premium ingredients but get the timing wrong and all the money and time spent goes to nothing. Knowing the right time to add certain ingredients goes a long way to making your food taste better.
Some things need to be done before you even light up the stove for example; you can take your time and cut up every vegetable that needs to be chopped, place them in separate bowls and set aside. This is so that once it is time to add these, it will be a matter of putting them into the pot rather than hurriedly washing and cutting them up just before you add them.
4. Attention to detail
Watch out for how your cooking can benefit from low, medium or high heat. Sometimes, you need high heat to get that white rice to dry quicker as medium heat will cause it to become soggy.
5. Have the basic tools you need
Something as basic as a chopping board is essential in the kitchen. It will help you cut the carrots or green bell pepper better as opposed to doing these without. It may be worth investing in that expensive blender because it gives you the best tomato puree etc.
6. Plan Ahead
It is a good idea to plan what you want to cook well ahead of time. This is so that you can be sure to buy all the necessary ingredients for preparing the recipe.
7. Choose your time carefully
It is best to cook when you are sure you will have minimal distraction. Do not plan to cook when your favourite TV programme is on air or on a day you brought some work home. The less you are distracted from your cooking, the better attention you will pay to the preparation of the meal. This way, there will be no burnt/overcooked meals later!
8. Give yourself plenty of time
Always give yourself plenty of time to cook your chosen recipe. With practice, you can estimate the time it will take to cook, say, a pot of fried rice before it is meal time. This way, you will not need to rush through your cooking. Also, if you invited friends over for a meal, you do not want to be dashing to and from the kitchen when you should be talking with your visitors.
9. Be adventurous in the kitchen
Feel free to throw a few vegetables in the frying pan to make your very own gravy. You can start by using your favourite vegetables, then eliminate and substitute later if you feel that some of them do not fit in the mix due to their taste or texture. Soon, you will be wowing your friends and family with a recipe that started as a concoction! Remember, it is your kitchen so play with the ingredients as much as you want.
10. Often does it
Practice, they say, makes perfect. The more often you cook, the more you learn new and better ways of the art of cooking. The frequency of cooking also boosts your confidence in the kitchen. Let's say you cook Jollof Rice every weekend, you will be perfecting on the different stages of the cooking such as parboiling the rice more than if you cook it only once every 2 months.
We hope that at least one of the above tips will help you in your quest to become a better cook. Happy Cooking Nigerians!