Photos By: Sarika Rahman Ninad
Do you love going out for a fancy meal? My family loves to go out at least once a week. However, due to COVID 19 it is not possible, and we miss it more than anything. With so many of us on lockdown these days, getting restaurant quality food is near impossible. But fear not, because I have step by step instructions on how you can be able to cook and plate restaurant quality food right at home.
Have the Right Equipment and Utensils:
Remember, you do not need any fancy or expensive tools for your kitchen, However, you will need few good tools to make a good meal. If you want to indulge your inner chef then you will want to get the following.
- A sharp knife is a must
- A blender
- Non-stick Skillets
- Measuring cup and measuring spoons
- Cheese grater
- Sturdy cookie sheets
- Wooden spoon
Try to use the best ingredients you can:
In order to cook good food, you’ll need good ingredients. Buy the best that you can afford. Shop the local market such as farmer’s market to get the freshest local produce. One of the chefs from my culinary school advise me to buy vegetables with leaves and roots attached. That is the best way to know you got the fresh product. Also, try to use fresh herbs, if possible. Also, remember to buy a bottle of good quality olive oil.
Quality of the meat is very important, always buy the best cut of meat, AAA-premium grade. Especially, if you want make stake or prime roast.
Know Your Spices:
One of the main reasons we love to dine in restaurants is the flavor. Make sure to educate yourself with spices from different parts of the world, so you can also achieve the high levels of flavor found in restaurants. Here are some herbs from the world’s most popular cuisines which will help give your dish international flavors and unique looks:
- Indian – red chilli powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, pepper, saffron, garam masala (a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, black pepper, nutmeg)
- Italian – Garlic, onion, parsley, Italian spices (a blend of basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme and res chilli flakes)
- Mexican – Chilly powder, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaf, cumin
- Caribbean – All spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, thyme
- Mediterranean – cumin, paprika, ground cinnamon, sumac, oregano, black pepper
- Chinese – five spices, peppercorn, star anise, cinnamon
- French – rosemary, tarragon, thyme, marjoram, nutmeg
Know your Techniques:
I went to school to learn culinary to learn some techniques and still learning. Here is a list of techniques that I master which will help you succeed at any recipe that comes your way.
- Frying: There are different kind of frying techniques: stir fry, deep fry, shallow fry and pan fry
- Making a pan sauce: deglazing brown bits from pan after cooking meat with liquid
- Making a roux: Used to thicken sauce. Equal parts of butter and flour
- Making a vinaigrette: mixture of oil, vinegar and seasonings
- Browning or searing: searing both sides of meat, chicken or fish to achieve desire flavor
- Grilling: Apply direct heat on the surface of the meat to get the browning effect and smoky flavor
- Sautéing: fry quickly on a high heat with very little oil
- Roasting: cooking something in the oven
Knowing a proper knife skill in a mush for a any chef. In order to make cooking experience more efficient you need to know which knife to use. It is also a good idea to learn how to cut up a while chicken. That way you will be able to use different parts of chicken in different dish. And it will save you some money to buy a whole chicken rather than individual parts.
Prepping and Plating Like a Pro:
You must make sure that your dish is visually appealing. That is why many say, “you eat your food with your eyes first”. Most plain, regular meal could be more exciting when it is served on a fine china and setting on a proper dinning table, cloth napkins and fancy silverwares. The following tips will be very helpful when plating:
- Use white plates to help the colors of the food stand out
- Give your food a little height. Make a mound of rice, then place the protein against it and pour the sauce under/side of the meat
- Garnish with fresh herbs or lemon wedges
- Smear sauce on the plate with a spatula to create nice contrast
- Wipe the side of the plate to get rid of any unwanted drips of the sauce.
- Always experiment with artistic techniques
Always invite other family members to cook with you. Cooking with others strength relationships.
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Jono Hills, (March 17th, 2014). Five Best Cut of Beef. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/the-5-best-cuts-of-beef-2014-3
Michelle Peters Jones, (Sept.21st, 2015). 11 Essential Spice for Indian Cooking. Retrieved from: https://www.thekitchn.com/11-essential-spices-for-indian-cooking-223152
Holly, (Aug.14th, 2014). Italian Seasoning. Retrieved From: https://www.spendwithpennies.com/homemade-italian-seasoning-recipe/
ArtAndKitched,(July 28th, 2020). Retrieved from: https://www.food.com/recipe/mexican-seasoning-mix-456146
Alison Roman. (November 28th, 2017) How to Make Perfect Pan Sauce Every time. Retrieved From: https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/perfect-pan-sauce