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Dishing Up: Men Who Rock the Ladle

  By AVNI MEHROTRA   Oct 4th 2013 at 9:00AM Homes & Real Estate RATED

 

Dishing Up: Men Who Rock the Ladle

Photo Courtesy: arttd'inox Modular Kitchens

 

While our mothers rule the roost when it comes to traditional cooking, it's been well documented that a majority of the culinary vanguards across the globe have been men. Be it Michelin-starred chefs or restaurateurs enticing us with gastronomic fares, men in the food circuit sure know the best way to a lady's heart. So what is stopping the average man from dishing out some delicacies every now and then? Perhaps a lack of knowledge or fear of disappointment at not achieving culinary excellence in their first attempt is what holds them back from leaving the couch and heading into the kitchen. That being said, an increasing number of men have started showing an affinity towards cooking to not only surprise their partners every now and then, but also to prepare a palatable presentation if their colleagues or friends come calling. So men, don your aprons as our experts present the ultimate guide to cooking to make you an all-rounder, from PlayStation to the pantry!

Your Basic Checklist

The most important device to keep handy in the kitchen is a sharp multipurpose knife. "A cooking stove, a blender and an oven form the building blocks for any kitchen upon which you can improvise and move on to other complex appliances," says Chef Tanveer Kwatra, Executive Sous Chef, Pullman Gurgaon Central Park. In terms of ingredients, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, potato and other root vegetables namely carrot, beetroot etc are must-haves. "It is always great to stock peppers and florets of broccoli, cauliflower and some eggs in your fridge. Chillies, lemons and coriander leaves are vital for garnishing. A set of cooking pots, pans, mixing bowls of various sizes, storage containers, kitchen spoons, paring knives, peeler, hand blender, mixer blender, chopping board etc should form the basics of your collection." After the chopping and cutting, it is time to toss the vegetables in a non-stick, steel or aluminum pan for cooking, sautéing or boiling. "The non-stick pans are great for healthy cooking and quick cleaning. One should also have heavy bottom pots for preparing tea, sieves in different sizes along with wooden mixing spoons with a long handle. And of course, no kitchen is complete without a tawa, a kadai and pressure cookers in two different sizes for all basic cooking," states Sanjeev Wadhwa, Country Manager, Fisher & Paykel India.

Entering The Kitchen

"For any beginner, it is important to possess basic knowledge about food and taste to eventually understand culinary art; whether at home or at a professional level," says Chef Amey Surve from Eat Drink Design. "Although you can eventually experiment and create your own recipes, for starters, pick a relatively simple recipe and follow it step-by-step without leaving room for error. Ensure that you have the appropriate ingredients, washed, cleaned, cut and chopped, and utensils-tongs, pots, spoons and pans-handy. Use fresh and good quality ingredients to get the best results and do not forget to get creative with garnishing," recommends Chef Deepak Bhatia, Complex Executive Chef, The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi and The Westin Sohna, Resort and Spa. Since cooking is a great stress buster, it is advisable to combine it with some good music in the background, believes Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. "Cooking should be fun in itself and not a chore. Enjoy the experience with a glass of wine or beer with some nice harmonies creating a calm atmosphere. Do not stress over preparing exotic dishes, initially, but focus on keeping it simple with a nice preparation of sautéed veggies, salads, fried rice or just a simple omelette." Talking technicalities, Chef Kapoor recommends understanding the character of ingredients, [how they behave as individuals as well as when combined with other ingredients] to be better acquainted with the end result. He adds, "For instance, mixing milk with a souring agent may result in curdling of the milk. Also, cooking fish and prawns takes lesser time in comparison to cooking meats and some vegetables. Get these basics right and most importantly, keep tasting the food while cooking. It is fairly simple once you get it."

A Modern Man's Kitchen

Traditional kitchens still stand as the most popular, but a trend toward a sleek, modern style is growing fast. "Your kitchen layout should reflect factors like preference, foot traffic, cooking convenience, storage space and overall size. Kitchen design that incorporates new 'smart' technology has moved from an option to a necessity," asserts Tom Joseph, AVP and Business Head, arttd'inox Modular Kitchens. A modern kitchen should ideally consist of all the essentials with a spacious working space and additional pantry space. These days, focus is on functionality and ergonomics. Integrated appliances like drawer-style fridges, ovens, microwaves and dishwashers designed to match the cabinetry lend a much cleaner look to the kitchen. The trend is that all appliances should be integrated and neatly fitted in the cabinetry. As Chef Kapoor puts it, "An ideal kitchen should be a place of cleanliness and aesthetically designed with practical and functional utility. It should contain useful appliances that make preparing and cooking food, as well as cleaning up afterwards less cumbersome. Ensure it is naturally lit with proper ventilation and accessible from the living or dining room. There should be ample storage space for ingredients, appliances and a spacious platform with a working space."

Healthy Bites

While taste continues to play a paramount role in our dietary preferences, you don't want to dish out something greasy and unhealthy. "Roasted and grilled food is in trend and considered comparatively healthier as this form of cooking uses the least amount of fat. Avoid deep frying your preparations as far as possible and use extra virgin olive oil coupled with fresh seasonal herbs, sea salt, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves etc," says Chef Bhatia. Always use thoroughly-washed, fresh vegetables, with less salt and oil in cooking. Do not overcook food as it loses its nutritional values. Maintain hygiene and cleanliness and use quality non-stick cookware to minimise consumption of fatty oil.

Ultimately, just remember, in spite of all the precautions and supplements you incorporate in your diet, it is important to regularly consume healthy foods. Play around with a variety of ingredients to make healthy cooking a part of your regimen.

To prepare your first meal, ensure that you are equipped with the following basic appliances:


  • Hand blender
  • Mixer blender
  • Refrigerator
  • Chimney
  • Microwave oven
  • Stainless steel hob
  • Coffee machine
  • Sandwich maker
  • Food Processor

 

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