If you're committed to cooking and eating homemade food, then chances are you know a thing or two about home cooking. However, if you want to consistently make perfect dishes or try your luck with more advanced recipes, you will need to know some basic cooking skills.
There are some cooking techniques that every master chef had to master before they earned the right to be called a master. Keep reading this article to learn the top 10 basic yet essential cooking skills that are the base of every master chef's success.
Top 10 basic cooking skills every home chef should master
Expert chefs believe that there are ten basic cooking skills that can help a home chef improve and perfect their recipes. So without further ado, here are the top 10 basic cooking skills you as a home chef should master:
1. Cutting skills
If you have been chopping up your veggies using a food processor, it is time to learn how to cut and chop using the good old knife. Knowing how to use a knife properly can give you more power over-preparing vegetables for different recipes.
Cutting veggies and herbs using a knife is the most basic cooking skill, but did you know it is also used to gauge the skills of a chef at job interviews – maybe it's not as straightforward as you think. Knowing how to handle a knife speeds up the recipe prep time and reduces injury risk. Practicing your knife skills is the only way to improve your cuts; here are some ways you can speed up the learning process:
- Choose a sharp knife that is designed for chefs.
- Practice a variety of cuts, including rough chop, dicing, mincing, and chiffonade.
- Watch video tutorials and follow along with them to sharpen your cutting skills.
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2. Knowing how to prepare stock
Stock is the basis of many dishes, including soups, stews, and sauces. So when you are trying to learn the basics of cooking as a home chef, you need to pay special attention to making stock using chicken, beef, fish, and even veggies.
Even though preparing stock is a simple process, it will help you transition to more complex recipes later on. This minimum effort process can also be integrated with other dishes to improve their flavor. So if you are serious about learning the basics of cooking, then learning how to prepare stock is as basic as it gets.
3. Learning how to fry vegetables
Stir-frying is used for a wide range of recipes, and you can't call yourself a true chef if you haven't perfected the art of stir-frying veggies. Stir-frying is exactly what the name suggests. When stir-frying a vegetable, you need some oil and your favorite veggies. However, the results from this process are in the form of healthy yet great-tasting cooked veggies.
If you want to learn this basic cooking skill, all you have to do is:
- Heat up a cooking pan at high flame and add some oil to the heated pan.
- Cut your favorite veggies in a matchstick or half-moon shape and add them to the pan.
- Keep stirring the veggies until they appear cooked, which shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, depending on the vegetables you use.
- Note: You can also stir fry chicken and other meats; however, they will take longer than 10 minutes to cook.
Like stir-frying, grilling is the most basic yet widely used cooking skill you need to add to your arsenal as a home chef.
Grilling food uses little to no fat; however, the end result is in the form of great-tasting grilled food with a crispy exterior and a tender interior. You can start grilling the good old-fashioned way using the barbecuing method or use specialized grill pans.
While veggies can be cut and grilled directly, meat requires marination using different sauces and seasonings. When it comes to actual grilling, veggies are much simpler; all you need to do is add oil, vinegar, and herbs along with the veggies and grill until both sides are done.
On the other hand, grilling pre-marinated meats requires grilling for longer, so the meat is cooked completely. Chicken can take up to 5 to seven minutes of grilling for both sides of the piece of meat. Steak may need to be grilled for up to 10 minutes on both sides or until it appears done.
5. Cooking pasta
If you are fed up with eating poorly prepared pasta, then it is time to take matters into your own hands and learn how to cook it yourself. The process is so simple you will be asking yourself why you haven't been making your own pasta the whole time.
Cooking pasta involves adding double the amount of water compared to the pasta into a pan to ensure the pasta can be fully submerged. Next, you will need to add salt to taste and let the water boil. Then add pasta to the boiling water and let it cook for 10 to 12 minutes while stirring for the first two minutes to prevent clumping.
Once the pasta is done, drain it and add a pasta sauce, and then you have your homemade pasta ready to eat. This simple yet highly nutritious and healthy dish will be your first step towards more advanced pasta-based recipes. The sky is the limit for how much can be done using pasta in a recipe.
6. Cooking eggs
The trusty old egg is your breakfast buddy and your late-night snack. So it makes sense that cooking an egg is the very first cooking skill a home chef needs to learn.
With that being said, an egg is as versatile as pasta when it comes to the different ways it can be prepared, if not more.
You can boil an egg, scramble it, or make a good old omelet out of it. Boiling an egg is straightforward. All it takes is bringing a pan of water to boil and then adding and cooking the egg in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Scrambled eggs and omelets may require you to look up a tutorial online; however, with some practice, you can master the art of cooking eggs in no time.
7. Roasting a chicken
Roasted chicken is the ultimate dinner recipe, and if you can master roasted chicken, you are ready to move on to preparing the roasted turkey for thanksgiving.
Despite its popularity, roasting a whole chicken is surprisingly simple, and therefore, it is considered a basic cooking skill. All you need is an oven and roasting chicken (which is capable of roasting a whole chicken).
Simply sprinkle salt and black pepper on the chicken and pour olive oil on both sides. Use your hands to spread the olive oil on the surface of the chicken.
Next, preheat the oven to 400F (205C) and place the whole chicken in the oven breast side up on a roasting pan. Roast the chicken at 400F for 30 minutes, lower the heat to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes.
Now take the roasted chicken out of the pan and wrap it in foil until it is ready to be served.
8. Baking a potato
Baked potatoes hold their place in the world of cooking as a simple meal. However, the simplicity of this dish makes it perfect for beginners. There are various baked potato recipes that can help beginner home chefs hone their skills.
A baked potato has a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. However, you can always add filling to a baked potato and add cheese, beans, and even ground meat on the side to turn a baked potato into a complete dish.
Once you have mastered how to bake a potato, you can move on to more advanced versions of the dish.
9. Cooking rice
Rice is a staple food that is prepared in every household. So it doesn't come as a surprise that cooking rice is a basic skill that will serve as a foundation for rice-based recipes that you can prepare down the road.
Not to mention boiled rice can be combined with beans and even meats to serve as a healthy and balanced meal. Cooking most types of rice is as simple as preparing pasta. All you need to do is:
- Rinse the rice to get rid of any debris
- Add two parts water for 1 part rice and in a pot and boil the water with rice in it.
- Once the water is boiling, add a little salt to taste to the boiling water.
- Cook with the pot covered until the water gets absorbed by the rice and there is no excess water left in the pot.
- Let the rice sit for 10 minutes after all the water is absorbed with the lid on, and the rice will be ready to be served.
10. Selecting the ingredients
If you strive to be an expert home chef, you will need to master the basic art of selecting the right ingredients. It is nearly impossible to make a good-tasting recipe without the right ingredients unless you get lucky.
Try shopping for fresh ingredients; if you can shop at a farmers market, you will notice the produce is much riper and fresher. Once you have the ingredients down pat, you can turn them into tasty dishes. Hello Fresh is one food delivery service that has mastered fresh ingredients – it's certainly worth a look if you value quality ingredients.
If cooking fascinates you, but you didn't know where to start your journey, you now know what ten cooking skills you will need to develop to become a better chef.
Once you have mastered these ten basic cooking skills, you can use your knowledge and experience for preparing more advanced recipes. Some of the skills mentioned in this list, including cooking rice, cooking an egg, baking a potato, and preparing pasta, will enable you to start cooking right away.
So start practicing these ten skills, and you will be putting together more complex recipes before you realize. Alternatively, if you would like to taste how the masters do it, visit our page The Best Meal Delivery Services.