Asian millennials like us are constantly reminded of how incredibly fortunate we are.
Growing up, we rely on our parents and domestic helpers who were able to prepare food for us whenever we wanted and somewhere along the line we just got too used to the motion of things. Now that adulthood is drawing close, many of us will eventually have homes of our own and it is crucial that we possess some form of cooking skills to get by with.
Fret not, because cooking is a lot easier than it sounds, so here are a few tips and tricks you can adopt to make cooking fuss-free and simple.
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#1 BUY A WHOLE SALMON INSTEAD OF INDIVIDUAL CUTS
Buying salmon fillets off supermarket shelves is quick and convenient. However, we are actually paying a lot more for less. Instead, consider buying a whole salmon and fillet it yourself at home.
While it requires more effort to fillet the whole fish yourself, it saves you a lot more money. A whole salmon can be bought at a fishmonger for S$30 to S$40, and easily feeds 10 or more people.
#2 GETTING PESKY EGG SHELLS OUT
Nothing feels more frustrating than having bits of egg shell in your yolk. To remove it without all the mess, simply use one-half of the already broken shell to scoop up the tiny bits of shell.
#3 PEEL GARLIC IN LITERALLY SECONDS
First, pick off the garlic cloves from the bulb and lay it on one side. Then, with one hand holding the knife handle, lay either side of the knife on top of the garlic clove and smash it gently.
The skins should tear open, making it a breeze to peel off.
#4 MARINATE MEAT IN ZIPLOC BAGS INSTEAD
Save on all the unnecessary washing by marinating your meats in Ziploc bags instead. Not only do the flavours penetrate the meats better, you also save more space in the fridge for storing.
#5 CUT SOFTER FOODS USING DENTAL FLOSS
Using a knife to cut soft food with fillings such as Swiss rolls and cakes will no doubt leave you with a dirty knife that requires washing. To do it more efficiently without the mess, use a dental floss instead.
#6 COOK RICE IN BULK
Never be afraid to cook extra rice because rice kept overnight is perfect for making fried rice as opposed to freshly cooked rice. When refrigerated, moisture from the rice grains evaporates, leaving you with fluffier grains that are less likely to clump together.
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#7 MAKE AND STORE HERB BUTTERS
Herbs and butter can be used for many things such as vinaigrettes, poaching liquids, finishing sauces and even as a spread on toast.
For those who enjoy herb butter, you can stock up on it by placing chopped herbs in an ice cube tray and covering them in melted butter before leaving it in the freezer to solidify.
#8 DESHELL A HARD-BOILED EGG IN SECONDS
To deshell hard-boiled eggs quicker, use a spoon instead of your bare fingers.
First, crack a small hole at the base of the egg to create an opening for you to slide your spoon in. Once the spoon finds its way through, gently rotate the egg around the spoon to allow the curvature of the spoon to naturally slide through the shell and remove it.
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#9 PREPACKED MEALS THAT CAN BE COOKED IN MINUTES
To minimise effort, wrap a piece of fish in aluminium foil along with your desired flavourings—lemon slices, herbs, spices, olive oil and so on—and store it in the fridge.
Thereafter, simply pop it into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes and voilà, a delicious baked fish is served.
#10 MAKE STALE BREAD CRUNCH AGAIN BY ADDING WATER
Adding water to bread to make it crunchy again may sound illogical and ridiculous, but it is not.
If you have a baguette or a loaf of bread that is getting a bit stale, just run it through some water and put it in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also wrap it in a damp towel and then pop it in the oven; it will be fresh and crunchy as if you just baked it.
#11 OPEN STUCK JARS / BOTTLE LIDS WITH A RUBBER BAND
To successfully open a jar that is sealed too tightly, all you have to do tie a rubber band around the lid and twist. The friction should allow you to open lid with relative ease.
#12 SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR TO IDENTIFY FRESH FISH
Firstly, look at the fish’s gills. It should be bright red. This is a sign that the fish was recently caught and is fresh.
Secondly, gently press against the flesh of the fish. If it bounces back, this is an indication that the flesh is still firm and intact.
Lastly, a good way to tell if a fish is fresh is through looking at its eyes. They should be clear and not cloudy.
#13 SAVE CITRUS PEELS
Citrus peels can be stored and used to flavour cocktails, infuse teas and even as marinades for meat and vegetables.
#14 A DAMP TOWEL COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE
There is nothing more hazardous than a rocky cutting board. One accidental slip and you might find yourself needing stitches.
To prevent your cutting board from slipping, put a damp cloth under it. Not only is it safer, but you will also feel more confident cutting on a board that does not wobble.
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#15 ATTACH SPEED POURERS TO COOKING OIL BOTTLES FOR BETTER CONTROL
Speed pourers are common bar tools that allow bartenders to carefully measure out desired quantities of spirits or liqueurs. Similarly, you can use it at home on cooking oils.
This gives you more control, preventing you from accidentally adding too much oil when cooking a particular dish.