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Cooking can be one of the most gratifying home skills to master. Not only because it can help you craft utterly delicious dishes, for you and your loved ones, but knowing the essential cooking skill will make cooking more fun.

Cooking skills for home cooks
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While everyone has the ability to cook (at least boil an egg, hopefully), you can’t expect to produce restaurant level dishes by cooking occasionally. Practice and effort are the keys to mastery in this case. But, how do you become a better home cook? “How do I learn to cook really well?”

Well, it first starts by knowing these food preparation skills.

Understanding Fresh Herbs, Spices, and Sauces

Have you ever watched a dish preparation tutorial and got confused, wondering if they seasoned their chicken? “Salt and pepper only?” That is why identifying the role that spices and herbs have when cooking is as important, if not, even more, than your main ingredients. This is the foundation to work on to develop great cooking skills.

kitchen countertop for home cooks
credit: Theme Photos

They’ll be the main flavor boosters inside your recipes. A good practice that you can follow to understand their influence on your dish is to add them one by one and taste how the flavor changes accordingly. This exercise will train your taste buds to identify individual flavors and how they react with each other.

Making the Perfect Rice

Rice stays on top of the “hardest things to prepare” list. It’s one of the top essential cooking skills, yet something we all struggle with. In the end, it is just about the right proportions and learning the cooking process. 

The trick is knowing what type of rice you’re using. Every rice needs to be cooked differently. Long grain rice isn’t the same as Basmati rice, for example. So always search for the instructions that are specific to your type of rice.

Grilling on a Barbecue is part of Cooking

Often forgotten but still one of the keys to master home cooking. Mastering the grill will depend a lot on the type of grill you use and the food you want to cook. Remember to add your meats at the right time, just after the grill has reached its optimum temperature, and place them according to the kind of heat they require (direct or indirect heat).

Baking Bread is a Required skill 

Calling yourself a passionate home cook but not knowing how to prepare a good, fresh slice of bread should be against the law of home cookers (in our honest opinion). Now, we’re not asking you to make sourdough bread, but a basic loaf should be an essential skill that you possess. Baking the bread starts with a great piece of bread dough. Mix your ingredients thoroughly, knead your dough and let it sit for at least one hour before putting it in the oven. Then see that loaf come to life when baked.

making bread dough
credit: @karishea

Boil a Perfect Soft-Boiled Eg

Soft-boiled eggs are a tiny bit more challenging to master than their hard-boiled counterpart. But, even with their slight difficulty increase, it’s nothing that a well-versed home cook cannot master. The secret to cooking perfect soft-boiled eggs is timing. Cooking the eggs just enough that the yolk will be in its perfect state. As a rule of thumb, boil 1-2 eggs for 4-5 minutes.

Heat Management and Cooking

Some preparations are more sensitive to heat variations than others. Learning how to manage heat will depend a lot on the type of dishes you like to create and, on some occasions, even what you are using to cook them (the type of pan, stovetop, or grill). Please pay attention to the suggested temperatures in your recipes and always keep a close eye on the heat. If you want to go super professional, use a heat gun.

Cooking Steak

Creating a perfectly cooked steak is easier than it seems. Overcooking your steak can make a gorgeous piece of meat a completely dry and flavorless disaster. We all want a bite of that juicy steak we often watch on TV shows and even cartoons. The process is about overseeing the temperature and preserving as much of its juices as possible.

First, start by searing your steak on both sides. Then, let the inside cook and use an instant-read thermometer to measure the inside temperature. At last, let it rest in aluminum foil for about 10 minutes before cutting or serving it.

Quality-Management of Ingredients

It is not about the ingredients you need for a recipe, but the quality and properties.” Do you prefer organic? How fresh are the ingredients? Is this a vegan version? High-quality meat?” These questions are a few of the many ones you have to go through. Just remember that it is better to get a bit more than you need. Remember that choosing the right ingredients and following the recipe is the key to success in cooking and one one the essential cooking skills to master. 

knife cutting fresh cilantro
credit: alyson_jane

Like most activities, you can see pursuit cooking extremely gratifying once you put enough time and passion into it. Just like we said before, practicing and researching can go a long way in developing your identity and polishing your abilities. Just as much as having a community of passionate home cooks around you to learn from.

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