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Tips & Tricks

Top 8 Skills Every Cook Should Have

Do you want to experiment with some new dishes in your kitchen? Want to find out more about how to improve your cooking abilities and avoid relying only on premade microwave meals or easy to prepare dishes?

Every chef should be familiar with the fundamentals of cooking.  This is critical since it determines the entire result of your food, and possessing these abilities can make your cooking much more enjoyable and efficient in the long run. Whether you're merely scrambling eggs for omelets or grilling some plain meat, you'll need to know the essential techniques to do it correctly. Here are some essential skills that every chef should be familiar with.

  1. Chopping an onion. It is critical to understand how to properly cut an onion. This is an ingredient that appears in a lot of your favorite soups and stews, so you should get familiar with how to prepare it well. Naturally, learning a talent takes time, so it's crucial to be patient while you're just starting out and trying to figure things out. 
  • Using a chopping board, lay down the onion on its side after washing and peeling off the papery outer skin of the onion. The onion's top should be cut away. 
  • Don't forget to keep the root end attached until you start cutting! As a result of the high concentration of chemicals in this area, chopping it will make you weep. 
  • Slice the onion to make two equal slices. 
  • With the first half, hold it on top with three fingers, one in front and two fingers behind. The knuckle on the front of your hand will guide your knife as you slice. 
  • Point the knife towards the root and attempt to get as close to the root as possible. 
  • Make vertical cuts lengthwise that are perpendicular to the horizontal cuts near to, but not through, the root end of the half to create thin wedges.
  • Last but not least, cut across your previous cuts, starting from where the stem ends but not going all the way through to the root. Turn the onion in an up and down motion, then around again. 
  • Once you've reached the root end, you may either compost it or throw it away. Repeat the same for the second half.
    1. Scramble an egg. Everyone, without a doubt, has a favorite egg-based meal that they like making. After all, what good is breakfast if there isn't an omelet? Knowing how to scramble your eggs is crucial since this talent is employed not only in the preparation of your favorite meals, but also in making your favorite sweet treats! Simply whisk the eggs together until they are thoroughly mixed and set aside. Once it is completed, prepare your pan so that the cooking may begin!
  • Sharpen your Knives. In the kitchen, your knives are one of your most trusted allies. If your knife is old and no longer has its sharpness, you will be unable to correctly cut your onion. Also, you will find that you are no longer able to cut tiny slices or accurate dices after a period of time. And, let's face it, cutting with a dull knife can be a frustrating experience. You may think that sharpening your knives requires the use of a steel rod. However, this is not the case. This tool is used to realign curled edges and straighten out twisted blades to keep the blades sharp and functioning at their best. Whetstones, on the other hand, are used to sharpen the edges of your knives. Here's how you should go about sharpening your knife. 
  • Start with coarse grit facing up on a whetstone. For certain whetstones, it is necessary to submerge them in water until there are no visible air bubbles. Maintain a 22-degree angle with the knife. 
  • Apply modest pressure and let the sliding take place. Repeat this at least 10 times, going back and forth between the two positions. 
  • To refine the edge, use a finer stone and continue the procedure.
  •  Last but not least, using your steel rod, take one hand and place it point down, while the other hand holds the knife crossways against it, with the back of the blade contacting the steel. Because you're going to be dragging the knife backward and toward you, you'll want to start with the majority of the blade in front of the blade steel. And that's the end of it. Enjoy the swishing sounds that come with it while you cut your favorite meat, which will make you feel like a pro.
  1. Adjusting the heat. Cooking involves the skill of controlling the heat to produce the ideal meal. Having just this one piece of knowledge may truly make you a better chef. Knowing the proper temperature at which to cook your food will help you prevent getting unnecessary burns. Although every stove is different, here are a few pointers that I could provide you. 
  • If you're not boiling water, don't use the high setting.
  • When it comes to cooking your meat, it may be preferable to cook it at low temperatures. This makes your meat more tender and helps it retain its juiciness, making it more delightful to eat.
  • High-heat cooking is best suited for searing meat or thickening sauces.
  • Always cook on medium heat throughout the whole process to get a balanced result and prevent overcooking your dish.
  • Using a temperature range of 325-350 °F for slow roasts or braises, or baking various cakes, is recommended. This will help you prevent burns and ensure that your cake cooks evenly in the middle.
  1. Peel your fruits and vegetables. Some people may prefer not to peel the skins off their veggies, and this may be the case for you. According to research, the skin of a fruit or vegetable might contain more nutrients than the flesh, leading some to believe that it is best not to peel the skin off before eating. However, others may want to peel the skin due to a habit or because they are concerned about pesticide exposure. In any case, knowing how to do this is still a useful talent to have. Every fruit and vegetable has a unique technique of peeling them, thus it is necessary for you to be patient and to keep practicing this skill over time.
  2. How to cook rice. In certain places, individuals rely on this for the majority of their calories and may even prefer to eat their meals with it. Learning how to make the ideal rice will therefore be beneficial to you as well as others. When you are exposed to other cuisines, it is necessary to understand how to prepare them as well.
  • Start by rinsing your rice well.
  • Place the rice in a pan or rice cooker with the appropriate amount of water. 
  • Add two parts water to one part rice.  
  • Place the pan on the stovetop with the cover on and let it simmer. 
  • When cooking rice, the key is to let it simmer without peeking or stirring.
  • After around 10 minutes, fluff your rice with a fork to break up any grains that have clumped together. 
  • You can see that the rice has doubled in size, and this is how you prepare perfectly cooked rice.
  1. Cooking pasta. Cooking pasta is, without a doubt, one of the skills that you should acquire. Because your favorite pesto sauces and spaghetti need perfectly cooked pasta, it is critical that you learn how to prepare pasta properly.
  • Bring the water to a boil in a big pot.
  • Once the water is boiling, you may season it with salt to taste before adding the pasta to the pot. 
  • Gently stir the pasta into the boiling water. 
  • Pasta should be cooked quickly at a vigorous boil until it's soft but still somewhat firm to the bite. The longer you cook it, the more soggy it becomes.
  • Once the pasta has become chewy, drain the water and add the sauce that you have cooked
  1. How to stay safe in the kitchen. Your safety must always take priority above anything else. Although your kitchen may be the heart of your home, it may also pose a number of risks that you should be aware of. Knowing these tips can help you feel more secure in the kitchen while also safeguarding your health.
  • Always clean up after you're done cooking. It is possible to start a fire in your kitchen if you leave oils all over the place. This may also help to keep germs from spreading around your kitchen.
  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher. Accidents happen at the most unexpected times. It is critical to have this item on hand to assist in extinguishing small fires and preventing the fire from spreading. Make sure that you understand how to utilize it and that it is easily accessible.
  • Wear the proper attire. If you are wearing accessories while cooking, it is possible that they may catch fire or fall on your meal by mistake. Likewise, wearing clothing that is too loose may cause a fire to start or may be caught in the equipment that you are using. Wearing the appropriate clothes and avoiding the use of unnecessary accessories can help you avoid unfortunate accidents.
  • Keep children and pets away from the kitchen at all times. Children may be tempted to play with your potentially hazardous equipment. It is not safe to leave the kitchen unattended while there are children around. Another concern is the tripping hazards that may be created by toys scattered on the floor. Therefore it is best to avoid having them in your kitchen.

These are only a few of the skills that you should be familiar with. If you are really dedicated to mastering the art of cooking, there are hundreds of skills that you may acquire to help you along the way. If you are just starting out in your culinary profession, remember that learning takes time. Make sure to enjoy the process. After all, what's the pleasure in cooking if you don't love the process of learning how to cook? Take your time, and you'll undoubtedly become one of the most talented chefs in town one day!

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