If I were asked by a survey to sum up my experience as an amateur cook into two words, I'd pick laborious and worthwhile. I think back to the times when the smell of my burnt brownies wafted through my house and when I fried an egg with the same oil my mom used to fry fish. But today, I could not be more proud of myself now that I've grasped most of the skills that a decent cook should have.
Cooking can be such a great way of showing someone you care about them, and amidst a deadly pandemic, we all need a little more love and affection than usual, so here are some tips for beginners.
Break down your meals into many steps. If you feel like you can't coordinate well when you're cooking, sort your ingredients into little bowls. You'll hate yourself when the cleaning process starts, but it'll help you out during the first few weeks if you can't keep track of what ingredients you're supposed to put in.
HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS
It's quite easy to make a mess of a recipe if you don't have the right measuring tools. Don't spend years using a tea cup to measure before caving and buying the actual measuring cups. You'll want to have teaspoons, tablespoons, and cup measuring tools at your disposal. If you can, get the exact measurements, like cups, ½ teaspoons and so on. Don't ballpark recipes either. Trust the process, you can ballpark a few months into cooking. Though this isn't absolutely necessary, I prefer having a spatula and non-stick pan for most of the cooking I do. I can undoubtedly say that they're the best kitchen utensils ever made.
LOOKING FOR RECIPES
As a beginner, I swore by Tasty for most of the recipes I used. Their recipes are so simple yet so delicious, and you'll find many varieties on their app. I find that their video tutorials are very much catered towards cooks who are just starting out. Of course, you can't forget the classics: YouTube and Google, so make sure you turn to those from time to time to learn.
WHERE DO I START?
Usually, I would advise people on starting with making yourself a packet of 2-minute noodles. It's pretty simple to navigate and given that my 17-year old brother couldn't do it, I assume others might not be able to either. After that, move on to salads, but not the basic ones, go for Greek, caprese, caesar or pasta. Whatever you're in the mood for. This will give you a good grip on what kind of ingredients might go well together and teaches you essential knife skills too! You'll also want to learn to make a fancy grilled cheese: pair sliced cheese, cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella or any other cheese of choice. Lastly, learn to cook eggs. No, not just fried, but hard (and soft) boiled, scrambled, sunny side up and if you feel like you're ready, try poaching one (make the Turkish ones)!
Now that you've mastered these four basic dishes, push yourself to move onto something a bit more strenuous. Don't fret, you'll make that kacchi biriyani in no time. Have faith in yourself.
Fariha enjoys binge-watching movies in the dark vicinity of her bedroom. Strike up a conversation with her at firstname.lastname@example.org