Five tips to make your ingredients work harder

You don’t need to buy anything to make your food look and taste brighter. You just need insights into the basics of cooking. A little bit of patience is usually enough. This week I am sharing five kitchen tips keeping in mind the home cook.

Fry garlic in cold oil.

Yes, you heard it right. Put the chopped garlic and oil in a cold pan and gently bring it up to heat. Not only will this prevent the garlic from burning, the oil will get infused with all the aromatic properties of the garlic, rendering your dish even and better flavored. The same goes for curry leaves.

Brine your chicken.

Chicken can be insipid to taste sometimes. To make it taste better, soak the chicken in a simple solution of salt, sugar and vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, even overnight. Then drain the chicken well and marinate it (if needed), cook, roast, broil, do whatever you started off to do with it. The chicken will be tender, juicy and tastier.

Soy sauce for umami.

Need to add salt to your dish? Try a few drops of soy sauce. Soy sauce is made from fermented beans and is very salty. Additionally it has “umami” which is widely considered as the fifth taste after sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It is a rounded, rich, meaty taste. So depending on what dish you are cooking, like soups, stews or curries, adding a wee bit of soy sauce is a good idea. A friend of mine even adds soy to his Bengali Kawsha Mangsho and it adds both color and depth of taste to his mutton curry! Tip: Invest in a good brand.


Brown your meat.

When cooking red meat the most obvious mistake people make, due to lack of patience, is not paying attention to the browning process. When you sear meat in hot oil, it seals the juices inside, so your meat stays tender and doesn’t dry out at the end the cooking process. Moreover, the sticky brown bits at the bottom of the pan impart help you make a better gravy or sauce.

Toast whole spices.

Spices naturally release their aromas when lightly pan roasted. From cumin to coriander and cloves to cinnamon, it is applicable to all. Instead of buying spice powders from stores, take an hour off your schedule to stock up your pantry with bottles of the same, pounded at home. You have no idea what difference it can make to your everyday cooking.



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