You don’t have to spend hours slaving away in a hot kitchen to produce tasty grub. So, get out your pots and pans, head to the kitchen and cook up a storm with the help of these 7 basic cooking techniques.
Begin by warming a small amount of oil in a pan and add a finely chopped onion. When it has softened add a mugful of long grain white basmati rice and stir. Next fill the mug with water twice and add to the pan with a sprinkle of salt. Cover the pan, turn down the heat and cook for 15 minutes. The rice should have absorbed all the liquid by then and be the perfect consistency.
- Nutritious veg
To ensure that you are getting the most nutritional value from the vegetables you cook, use the method of steaming. If you’ve not got a steamer you can fill a saucepan with about an inch of water, pop your veg in a metal colander and place over the pan of boiling water.
- Roast potatoes
Start by peeling and par-boiling potatoes, whilst heating oil or duck fat in a roasting tray in the oven. Add your potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes. At this stage, remove the tray from the oven, add salt and pepper and shake the tray, to crisp the potato outers. Pop back in the oven until cooked.
- Simple stir fry
The secrets to a good stir fry are not too much oil and simple seasonings. Use sesame oil and heat in a wok. Add finely diced veg and a few simple flavourings to create that authentic Asian taste. Soy sauce, fresh chili and lime make a great base for any stir fry, and you can then add coriander, fish sauce and ginger, if you wish.
- Correct cookware
Choose your pots and pans carefully for perfectly cooked food. Copper pots are great as they are the best conductors of heat and cook food quickly and evenly. Copper pots must be coated with stainless steel to prevent the metal from leaching into the food, which can be harmful.
- Chef-style chopping
Make sure you use your knife correctly, by chopping your food chef-style. Your thumb and index finger should be touching the blade – your thumb resting on the top and index finger pressed to the opposite side. Use your other hand as a guide, tucking your fingers back, and resting the knife blade against your knuckles.
- Excellent eggs
Cooking eggs can be a tricky technique to master, especially a perfectly poached one. Rather than a saucepan, use a deep-sided frying pan to poach your egg. Fill with boiling water and swirl to create a dip in the centre of the pan. Add your egg (with a little vinegar) to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes only. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
By following these seven tips you’ll be well on your way to mastering the culinary arts in no time!
Jillian works part-time as a chef in a busy restaurant, as well as being a mother of three and understands the importance of cooking healthy meals when time is short.