Monday, June 27, 2016

From the Cook in Me

My tryst with cooking has been fairly old affair. Starting with simple tea i did try new things and experimented with the ingredients and the process of cooking . I had fair count of finger cuts , burns , spilled milks etc to make the story full of exciting moments.

Cooking certainly tests multiple things as human being . To be one good cook one should carry fair amount of patience , ability to learn from mistakes , innovate , experiment , be careful , good observer , learn from others etc. Honest effort and love one adds shows in the end result. Cooking is one way to show how much you love yourself and people around you. Here goes some of the learnings from my cooking experience .

1: Time : As a cook one has to develop sense of timing for adding ingredients. Order of ingredients matter as well . End result can be drastically different based on the timing and order of adding ingredients. One example can be taken of oil. As general rule oil should be added to the frying pan when the pan is moderately hot. Further let oil get hot before adding other things e.g onion , spices etc.

2: Chemical reaction : Cooked food get flavor and color due to chemical reaction which take place. Ensure that you understand the ingredients and what you expect from resultant product. One example can be taken for smoke point of oil. All oils have smoking point above which smoke starts coming. At smoke point trans-fat is created. This should be avoided during cooking i.e. Cook at low flame or choose the oil as per cooking needs having smoking point in mind.

3: Salt : Cliché statement is applicable in case of salt e.g. add as per your taste. Oil helps salt in uniform spread e.g. inside of vegetables. So add salt after initial around one minutes of frying in oil when the vegetable starts turning reddish. Considering health needs less salt should be part of meals.

4: Onion : This is part of gravy base of innumerable vegetable dishes. Try onions chopped in different sizes to add variety to your preparation. Onions of small sizes added as whole can be good experimental proposition as well. Same can be said for using baby onions.

5: Khichdi : This has been one of my favorite dishes . Saviors for the times when you are too tired or too lazy to do much manual intensive tasks. Add rice , pulses , vegetables , spices and salts into pressure cooker and boil everything for 3-4 whistles . Give takda to the preparation using cumin seeds and oil. Certainly an activity of optimal returns for minimum effort.

6: Washing Utensils : You can not be good cook without good at taking up clean up act e.g washing utensils , cooking area etc. This is important for hygiene and aesthetics as well . How to proceed with washing utensils? I think act of patience comes into play here. Let your favorite song play in your mind and proceed with the task. Clean utensils present happy picture and is motivating factor to accomplish the task of cooking wonderful dishes. Use minimum utensils for cooking to avoid dealing with mountain of them for cleaning.

7: Buying vegetables : Always go for the fresh and seasonal vegetables . Out of season vegetables are excessively costly and lack taste and nutrition value as well. Here again choose the desi varieties which may not look great but they are far ahead in taste compared to the hybrid ones . e.g. desi tomatoes have more water content. One side comment can be made to carry your own bag while buying vegetables. One weird fashion has crept in recent times to use plastic bags . That is bad for environmental reasons. So discard plastic as far as possible.

Cooking and related activities can add good value to one's personality . Healthy mind lives in healthy body and being a good cook is a step in that direction . I have introduced myself into this world , i shall continue with the process and try to become better as time passes. Bye folks

p.s : In due course I shall share some of my recipes. 

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