Learning to cook Caribbean food is a great way to get in touch with your culture. Our tips will help you improve your cooking skills at home.
Every culture has its own set of traditional dishes. The Caribbean, especially, always offers something new to try, from flying fish and cou-cou from Barbados to ackee and saltfish from Jamaica. But if cooking doesn’t come naturally to you, you might feel shut out of a key part of your own heritage. That’s why we’ve compiled our best tips and tricks for becoming a better chef at home.
Refresh Your Kitchen
If you wanted to get better at sailing, you’d want to make sure your boat was seaworthy and had all the tools you needed. The same goes for cooking and your kitchen. Taking some time to make your kitchen user friendly is a good idea; a few ways to do that include:
Improving the lighting
Removing the clutter
Having sufficient, well-organized storage
Making sure you have good-quality tools such as kitchen knives
Setting up the space so that it’s easy to move around in
Refreshing your kitchen doesn’t have to focus on only the practical things, either. Taking the time to make your kitchen feel more modern and stylish will make you want to spend more time in it. And the more time you spend in the kitchen, the more time you’ll have to practice your skills.
Look for Better Ingredients
A good chef can make a delicious meal with subpar ingredients, but that doesn’t mean you should if you don’t have to. Choosing good-quality ingredients will give your meals a little boost, and doing so doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive. Instead of going to the grocery store produce section, consider getting fresh produce from the local farmers market or your own garden. Instead of buying pre-grated cheese, buy fresh cheese and grate it yourself. Crush your own garlic cloves instead of using garlic powder. Your food will immediately taste better.
Prep Ahead of Time
Between measuring oils, chopping vegetables, and frying ingredients, many recipes have a lot of moving pieces. And new chefs end up making mistakes because they get overwhelmed while trying to learn a recipe as they’re cooking it. Simply prepping beforehand will help you circumnavigate this, especially for new dishes. Read through the entire recipe from start to finish so that you know where you’re going after each step. Then, make sure all the ingredients are prepped, chopped, measured, and ready to add. You’ll feel far more in control and less rushed while you cook, and you’ll be less prone to making mistakes.
Start Small and Work Up
Tips and tricks are great, but there aren’t any tips that will make you a better home chef overnight. As with anything, becoming better at cooking takes practice. So be patient with yourself. Start by perfecting simple skills such as holding a knife correctly, boiling rice, and kneading dough. When you have those skills down, you’ll be able to work your way to the harder ones. You’ll be nailing your favorite Caribbean recipes in no time.