Everyone can cook!
Can you cook it the way you like it? And the way your family and friends like it? In other words, how to cook it WeryNice?
What you need is
- the right recipe
- a sharp sense of taste and
- practice, practice and practice.
Cooking is both a science and art. The recipe provides you the science of cooking. Your sense of taste and practice helps you in mastering the art of cooking.
What do I mean?
The temperature, for example, how hot the pan should be, how hot the oil or water should be, determines how the food is cooked to the right level (or even burnt level) is indeed a chemical process. It is scientific. If the temperature is very hot, it either burnt the outside, or have the outer cooked but keeping the inside half cook, like cooking vegetables that leave the crisp to your bite. Lower temperature tends to cook the food more evenly into the middle while not overcooking the outside. Cutting food thinner reduces the distance the heat needs to travel into the middle, and hence make cooking time shorter. Chinese stir fry cooking is one of the good example where ingredients are tossed in the wok for short time, hence giving the food a “just cooked” outcome, where thinly sliced meat are tender and vegetables are still crispy.
The ingredient, the process of preparing and cooking it, the order in which ingredients are put in, the time for marinating and cooking gives a different outcome. These are the results of chemical and physical changes, and are all related to science.
So where is the art?
Everyone has his own liking of taste. Largely, geographic locations, race, and cultures broadly determine the general liking. For example, northern Chinese prefer more salty food, while southern china more sweet. Part of china like sze chuan, or Southern Indians, Thailand, Malaysia may like very spicy food.
Singapore is a food paradise. We can find food from all lands in this small country. Many restaurants serving cuisines all over the world can be found here. However, if you visit the heartland eating places, you will find largely southern Chinese cuisines, Indian cuisines, Malay cuisines, and some regional cuisines from Thailand and Indonesia. That’s where our ancestors largely migrated from in the early days!
Having said that, individuals also have their preference. Some like it sweet, some like it salty and some like it bland. Some like more gravy, and some like it dry, some like it spicy, some cannot take it hot, some love strong garlic, some dislike it…. The list goes on and on. The point is, cook it the way you like it!
The art of cooking is the ability of controlling right quantity of the ingredient that gives the taste that is palatable for you. For example the amount of salt, sugar, spices, will give your food a different level of saltiness, spiciness, sweetness, sourness. There is no right or wrong, as long it tastes good to you.
How to master the art of cooking?
You have to try it out. Taste the food you cooked and evaluate what is lacking or too strong with the taste, then taste the ingredients individually, imagine how each ingredient contribute to the final taste, and adjust accordingly. Repeat the process, practice, practice and practice, and you will succeed.
How to apply the art of cooking?
For recipe listed in this web site or you may get from elsewhere, the exact amount of ingredient stated in the recipe, especially those that directly contribute to the taste, are not necessary to be followed. Nonetheless, it can serve as your starting point to cook the first time, and adjust along the way. Remember to taste the individual ingredient and imagine how they contribute to the final taste of the final dish, and that will give you a good hint on which ingredient that you should be adjusting. However as you master the art of cooking, you probably can adjust it to the right amount and get it right the first time.
Try something simple, and I suggest doing a fried rice, you are not likely to fail, and this gives you confidence in future experiments.
I congratulate you for your success!