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Becoming A Better Cook

Jr. Sous Chef Ernest on how to be a better cook at home.

This Circuit Breaker season has encouraged many of us to be cooking at home more than usual. From whipping up some Dalgona coffee to making bread from scratch, this Circuit Breaker is really channeling out the chef in us. However, not everyone is blessed with the skills to be whipping up some drool-worthy dishes from their kitchen (or have the energy to jump on the social media Master Chef bandwagon by trying every lockdown recipe). Here’s some tips on how you can step up your cooking game, and start savouring mealtime with your family.

Tip 1 : If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

A tip that is relevant not only in cooking but in every other aspect of life – always do your preparation. This is especially useful when you are making dishes that involve lots of ingredients or steps. Start by chopping up and measuring all the ingredients and condiments you need. Mince the garlic, chop up some vegetables, marinate the meat with the sauce that you portioned and mixed, etc. You can then set it aside and have everything ready and within your reach when you are cooking. This makes the whole cooking process a lot easier and faster.  And voila ~ there you have it, a hassle free, mess free cooking session.

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Adding in the spices to a ZWILLING Aurora stainless steel fry pan.

Tip 2 : Let’s spice things up!

Sugar, spice and everything nice, season it right and everything’s fine. Seasoning is the key to flavourful tasty food. Seasoning doesn’t only refer to salt, I am talking about other herbs and spices as well. The trick that sets restaurant food and home-cooked food apart is the seasoning of food at every step of the cooking process. For instance, use seasoning to marinate the ingredients before cooking, top up seasoning again while cooking and season with salt and pepper before consuming. This would prevent the seasoning from losing its flavour as food loses 90% of its salt after cooking. Another bonus trick is to use sea salt instead of standard fine salt as it would enhance and brings out the natural flavour of the ingredients.

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Jr. Sous Chef Ernest spicing up the kitchen at CAVEMEN.

Tip 3 : Cook low and slow.

All good things are worth the wait. Good food? Even more so. Using longer cooking or preparation time tends to cause the flavours to be more concentrated since the ingredients would be able to absorb the sauces and the seasonings. Some of the low heat cooking methods would be braise and stew. For instance, the CAVEMEN Spicy Beef Ragu Pasta is made by stewing the beef and the sauces for up to 6 hours. Does this method actually make the food taste better? There’s only one way to find out!

Beef Ragu Pasta
Beef Ragu Pasta

Tip 4 : Level up your spices.

Toast your spice. Most spices are suitable for toasting, and this process would actually bring out more flavour of the spice. Toss them in a pan and toast it until fragrant. This would cause the food to have a stronger aroma and flavour.

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Tip 5 : Invest in quality kitchenware.

Quality products don’t always have to be expensive. Quality kitchenware should be assessed based on its durability and functionality. One of the most versatile and multi-purpose kitchenware that is worth every penny would be the ZWILLING Aurora stainless steel fry pan. Due to the technology of the 5-ply clad construction, flat base stability and the ergonomic design, it is able to spread heat evenly, retain heat well and can be used on any cooking surface. It is perfect for sautéing, braising and can be used even in the oven. Quality kitchenware can also lead to better tasting food. Worth it ? Worth it. =)

Jr. Sous Chef Ernest

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