Today’s kitchens are hardly limited to pots and pans. Now, more than ever, modern chefs are exploring new ways to integrate global flavours into their everyday meals. After all, prioritizing local ingredients doesn’t have to mean strictly limiting your diet. Instead, it means delving into different cultures and traditions worldwide so you can cook them at home. With that in mind, here are six ideas for boosting your cooking skills and making them go global.
Add more herbs and spices to your arsenal.
Herbs and spices are the heart and soul of many global cuisines. That’s why they’re often the first thing to come to mind when modern chefs think about how they can integrate different flavours into their own recipes. And while herbs and spices aren’t limited to one particular region, they are certainly more common in some places than others. For example, caraway, cumin, and coriander are staples in Mexican dishes, while cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg are commonly used in Indian food. Aside from coriander, these ingredients should be relatively familiar to most people. But, with that said, you should never fall into the trap of thinking that only a select handful of herbs and spices are worth adding to your kitchen. On the contrary, the more you add, the greater variety of dishes you can create.
Take your cooking outside the kitchen.
Even though you’ll learn plenty by staying inside the kitchen, you can also get plenty of unique cooking skills by getting outside it. For example, you can choose to cook with a campfire or grill. Or, you can use a stovetop or pressure cooker to make quick and easy meals during the week. You can even host a cooking class in your own home or with friends or take advantage of the many outdoor seasonal cooking events in different places throughout the year. Whether you’re cooking in the kitchen or out, you can also take a little extra time to learn about the ingredients you use. For example, you can read about the origins of your spices or research the different kinds of mushrooms or other products you have on hand.
Dive into different cuisines and cultures.
Even though a set of spices characterizes many cuisines, that doesn’t mean you can’t choose a specific one to focus on. For example, if you live in a place where Chinese food is popular, you can use that as an opportunity to explore the bold, complex flavours of Chinese cuisine or try your hand at making food such as homemade bao buns. Alternatively, you can also choose to dive into a specific culture by exploring the food of a particular country or region, such as Italy, India, or Mexico. No matter your chosen approach, you should try your best to learn more about the ingredients and cooking techniques commonly used in that culture. That way, you’ll be able to incorporate those flavours into your own dishes.
Experiment with different cooking equipment and utensils.
Beyond the herbs and spices you choose, the cooking equipment and utensils you use can also significantly impact the flavour of your dishes. For example, if you’re using a wok, you’ll be able to create quick stir-fries with a unique flavour. Or, if you’re using a pressure cooker, you can speed up the cooking process while preserving essential nutrients in your food. And if you’re using a mortar and pestle, you can extract essential oils and flavours from your ingredients that would otherwise be impossible in a modern kitchen.
While there’s no question that today’s kitchens are incredibly diverse, there’s also no reason to limit your cooking skills to one particular region. On the contrary, you can make your cooking go global by exploring various cultures and cuisines.
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