If you are not confident in your cooking skills, save this post for yourself, where I have collected basic ideas and life hacks with which you can cook anything! First, understand that cooking is a creative process, you don’t have to follow any recipes exactly, and if you mess up something or don’t know for sure, you can always change the ingredients or cooking time.
The main thing is to follow the general principles:
- Recipes for all dishes are available online.
- each product has its own minimum cooking time (potatoes are boiled from 25 minutes, fried from 35 minutes, chicken is cooked from 40 minutes, pork – from 45 minutes, beef is cooked from 1 hour, you can fry beef in 25 minutes, and so on),
- the readiness of the dish is determined by the longest-cooking ingredient – if you are making a soup with meat, then the meat itself takes the longest to cook, in order to understand the order in which the ingredients are added – arrange them by cooking time and throw in the ones that take the longest to cook first,
- if you need to salt or add spices to taste, then just sprinkle the surface of the dish with a thin layer of spices and mix (if the dish itself is thin – up to 3-5 cm in thickness), if you need to salt the soup or dish 10-15 cm thick in a saucepan – add tablespoon of salt and stir
- if you don’t know where to get an ingredient from a recipe, then ask Google what taste this product has and what analogues it has,
- if you fry something like potatoes or vegetables (finely chopped), you need to constantly stir and turn over, if you fry something in a piece and flat (steak, piece of meat, meatballs, etc.) – you need to let it fry on one side for minutes 10, and then flip to the other side,
- the readiness of the potatoes is checked by piercing with a knife – if it is pierced easily and without a crunch, then it is ready,
- the readiness of the meat is checked by piercing in the center – if there is reddish juice and the meat is pink or red, then the frying is weak,
- the readiness of fish is determined by color – poorly cooked fish in the center keeps the color fresh,
- porridge, rice, pilaf is easiest to cook in a slow cooker in the “rice” mode – 2 glasses of water are added to 1 glass of cereal or rice, you do not need to open the pan or stir; if you cook porridge or rice in a regular saucepan, it is better to add a little less water (half a glass) to get a crumbly structure – and monitor the water flow so that the porridge does not burn,
- mushrooms cook longer than potatoes, if you want to fry potatoes with mushrooms – you can make mushrooms and potatoes in different pans and then mix, or cook mushrooms halfway and add potatoes there, or cook mushrooms with potatoes together (but the potatoes will become very soft),
- you can fry anything in any oil, but in Russian cuisine it is customary to fry meat, cheesecakes, meatballs – on butter, and fish, pancakes, mushrooms, potatoes, and other vegetables – on sunflower oil.
Any dish is prepared from 10 minutes to several hours, the preparation of the longest dishes can take a day (cakes or complex snacks). The most important thing to save time and nerves when preparing your favorite meals is to prepare well. Choose any dish on the Internet, read 2-3 recipes, preferably with a photo or video. Make a list of necessary products, buy them in the store. Prepare the necessary utensils (you may have to buy something) and a place in the kitchen. Preparation is half the battle.
And don’t be afraid to experiment, add something that is not in the recipe – your favorite flavors and foods. You may not always be perfect. The main thing is not to be afraid of failure, but to treat everything easier. When I cooked borscht for the first time, something unintelligible came out and I poured everything out. Several times I threw away potato dishes or burnt porridge. When you’re about to cook something complicated for the first time, buy yourself some yogurt or cold cuts just in case things don’t go smoothly for you this time – you’ll have something to eat.
Good luck in your culinary experiments and bon appetit!