• Komal

Cooking for Dummies

Growing up I never paid attention to the kitchen. Where the grocery came from, how the food was made and what all went into keeping the kitchen running. My job was to have food, compliment it and go about my day studying, working or hanging out with friends. I recently got married and moved abroad; naturally cooking was something that needed to be done – for survival. How much can a person truly eat out? After weeks of eating out, I finally decided to enter the mysterious ‘kitchen’.

How do you defrost frozen meat, how do you clean it and how long do you cook it for? I soon learned that knowing how to cook and running a kitchen flawlessly is truly an art that goes unnoticed or is taken for granted especially in Pakistani households.

Here is a list of 10 things I have learned in my 6 months of kitchen experience:

1. The best way to defrost meat is to take it out of the freezer and keep it in the fridge for 24 hours. Make sure the meat is packed and in a bowl or on a plate to avoid any leaks.

2. I prefer filling up a bowl with water and 3 table spoons of vinegar and soaking the meat in it for 30 minutes. It helps eradicate the smell and cleans the chicken too.

3. It is okay to wash chicken. Google results vary but every single person I know does it. However, make sure to wipe down the entire kitchen with a disinfectant after you are done.

4. When frying an item, make sure the oil is hot. Once it is, lower the heat and fry the items. Stand at a distance because the oil will start splashing.

5. Adrak-lasan (ginger-garlic) paste and fried onions (laal pyaaz) are your two best friends.

6. The best way to cook rice is to measure. Do not try to do the famous “andazey se” act. One cup of rice means 2 cups of water + one teaspoon salt. Adding fancy things like zeera, cinnamon sticks and elaichi enhances the smell and taste of plain white rice.

7. When following a recipe behind the Shaan or Mehran Masala box or anywhere else, make sure you follow the directions to the T. Once you get the hang of it, you can add your own twists.

8. Don’t be scared to make mistakes and don’t be embarrassed to ask questions.

9. Remember what Chef Gusteau said, "Anyone Can Cook!"

10. And know that your food can never taste like the food your ami makes. Even if you use Mezan oil. But it is okay; take solace in knowing that your children will feel the same when they grow up.