This is our first post in a series that is aimed at making your cooking experience better. We focus on Thai cooking, especially the tools you need and great recipes. Here we show you how to be more efficient in the kitchen in a general way.
If you are new to Thai cooking the variety of ingredients and specialized tools can seem a little daunting. This article is great to help you stay organized so you can concentrate on the more important things and enjoy making your meals.
As you can probably guess, cooking Thai food that has a lot of ingredients forces you to work faster than you would if you were grilling outside or baking in the oven.
So today I want to share with you five tips that I have learned from my experience that will help make your cooking more efficient and faster. Trust me, it is a really good feeling when you finish cooking a lot faster than you thought you would without burning anything and being able to eat a great meal.
Tip One: Sharp knife
Invest in a sharpening stone. Your knife does not need to be expensive but it is important that its sharp. You will be amazed how much faster your cooking goes when your knife just slides through.
There is also a safety component to having a sharp knife. Dull knives cut inconsistently and require a lot more force to get them to cut. With a sharp knife you need less effort and gain more predictability.
Having a sharp knife is like swimming downstream rather than up, so if your knife squishes your tomato before it will cuts it, it’s probably time to spend some time sharpening it.
Tip Two: Bench Scraper
A nifty little tool that doesn’t cost very much but saves you a lot of time when you’ve gotta move something from here, to there. It is basically a metal rectangle with a plastic handle.
You can use it to scrape smaller items off your cutting board and move them to a pan. This is especially helpful if you have a large cutting board or have multiple ingredients cut up at one time that need to be cooked at separate times.
Tip Three: Have a nearby garbage bowl
Rather than having to every time take your garbage and turn around and walk it over to the garbage it is very helpful to have the garbage right next to where you are working. If you end up walking across the kitchen, inevitably something always falls on the floor along the way.
If your kitchen set up allows for it you should rearrange if you find yourself walking around with scraps in your hand. This also lets you continue cooking without interruptions. Remember, the less movement changes you make while you’re cooking, the more time it saves you.
Tip Four: Keep a wet towel under your cutting board
The fact is that it’s safer when your board is not moving while you are cutting. This also saves a lot of time when you are not constantly chasing your board around the counter when you are cutting.
Having a stable surface makes for a fast and efficient cutting and when you’re done, you can always use this to clean your counter.
Tip Five: Plan your cooking
Here is a step that can save you a lot of time so before you start do a quick mental run through of what you need to do. Some steps require marinating or other time intensive processes. This also includes the order it is best to do it in and if there is anything that can be done at the same time.
This can be especially helpful if you can remember to let ingredients you plan to cook warm up to room temperature. When you let meat warm up like this it will spend less time cooking. Less time on the heat means less moisture loss and tastier meats.
Remember too, that you do not always need to have everything cut up and ready to go before you can start cooking. For example, I keep my onion or garlic slow cooking on low heat. This can happen in the background while I am cutting other things that go into the wok afterwards.
We hope you found this article informative. Make a point to visit us again as we will be making regular posts and helping you become a great Thai chef.