If you are new to home cooking, you’ve probably learned that prepping can be time-consuming when you go about it without a plan. Whether you’re meal-prepping out of necessity or under time constraints to make food for some guests, shaving off minutes can prove invaluable. Here are some tips to help you cook faster.
Start improving your efficiency before you even begin cooking by organizing your kitchen. Put the spices, ingredients and tools that you use most commonly in the front of your cabinets. This will make them easy to access and difficult to misplace. This will save you time from rummaging around for a specific item when it comes time to cook. You’ll also be more likely to notice when a certain ingredient is running low, saving you from frustration when you open a container only to realize it’s empty.
Generally we’re in favor of following steps in order, but this isn’t necessary in all recipes. You can initiate certain preliminary actions, such as boiling water and heating up the oven, right at the beginning so that they are ready for you when you need them. Some ingredients may take longer to cook, so you could prepare them and begin cooking in the pan, pot, or oven first, while cutting, the other ingredients, so they are ready to add when you need them. When you have time to kill waiting for the next step, you can start washing some dishes so that you have less to clean up afterwards.
Use the Right Tools
When cooking, make sure to use the right tool for the job to expedite the process. For instance, if you try to cut ingredients with a blunt knife, you’re going to have a hard time. Or if you are trying to cut a large item with a knife that’s too small, it will take longer. Using a dull or wrong sized knife will take longer, and you’ll have to exert much more force to do so— which is dangerous and you will probably end up with a mediocre result. On the contrary, if you use quality knives that are properly sharpened, you’ll be able to slice through ingredients in an efficient number of strokes. Consider investing in a high quality Japanese chopping knife—when you have an extremely sharp edge, you can easily cut everything from vegetables to meat to fish.