You may have seen our recent article about our Cook School Scotland experience, where GlasgowLiving attended the Vietnamese Day class. During the class our chef Andrew gave us some amazing tips which we thought we would share!

chefGenius garlic paste hack

Peel garlic clove and cut end off. Crush with a kitchen knife and pour a generous amount of salt over garlic. Use the blade edge of the knife and by putting pressure, scrape the garlic at an angle along the chopping board to make garlic paste. The salt acts as an abrasive to smooth the garlic.

Peel ginger with a spoon

Fed up of peeling ginger with a potato peeler or a knife and ending up cutting a lot of the ginger off with the skin? Try using a spoon! Grab the spoon by the ‘scoop’ end and scrape the skin off the ginger. It’s important to keep as much of the ginger ‘flesh’ nearest the skin as possible as this is the tastiest part!

Baking Powder + Plain Flour = Self-Raising Flour!

Andrew explained that by adding baking powder to plain flour, it has the same effect as using self-raising. It is also more accurate, as different brands use different levels of raising agents, meaning you will get different results each time. Also, self-raising flour loses it’s ‘oomph’ after a whiles, so your cakes won’t rise as well after the flour has been sitting in your cupboard for a few months.

pancakes-beforeAlways add oil to a hot pan

It is important to add oil to a hot pan, not a cool one. By adding oil to a cool pan you are then having to wait for it to heat up, and can be easily distracted. Hot oil left unattended will eventually reach a point where it will ignite and catch fire, so by adding oil once the pan is hot, this situation can be avoided.

Don’t shoogle the pan!

When frying steaks or burgers, resist the temptation to ‘shoogle’ the frying pan or flip them over repeatedly. By leaving them face down in the pan, they will develop a tasty crust.

Use a separate knife for tomatoes

Andrew said he keeps a serrated knife separate, which he uses only for tomatoes as they can dull knives. To avoid having blunt knives use a serrated knife which will also cut through them better.

Touch meat with cold wet hands

Hate when food sticks to your hands when shaping meatballs, burgers etc? Wet your hands with cold water, which will stop the meat sticking. It’s important to use cold water and not hot as using hot water will start to cook the meat on your skin, making it stick. Same goes for when you wash your hands, rinse with cold water then use hot water and soap to clean.

pattiesCut vegetables at an angle

When slicing vegetables with an edible skin (spring onions, chillis, cucumber etc) cut it at a long angle, providing a bigger surface area as possible. The tasty part is the inside, so by having more surface, there is more flavour!

Microwave raw meat to test it

Making a batch of meatballs or burgers and want to make sure it tastes nice before you cook it? There is a way to do so, without giving yourself food poisoning by chomping down raw meat. Put a tablespoon full in a mug and blast in the microwave for 15-20 seconds*. The meat will be cooked so you can taste the flavour – don’t pay attention to the texture.

*IMPORTANT – Adjust accordingly to your microwave strength, make sure meat is cooked thoroughly before eating!

Best way to measure rice

When cooking rice, Andrew gave us a great tip on how to get the rice/water ratio perfect. Line the pot with roughly 3cms of rice and fill with water so it only lies 1cm above the rice. Another way to measure this is to lie your pinky finger on the rice and water should only cover your finger.

Anyone have any other cooking hacks to add to the list? Get involved over on Facebook!