Mis en Place – Prepping and Adding Ingredients like a Pro
Multi-tasking in the kitchen is an art form! It can take years of practice to master timings and ensure that each ingredient is thoroughly cooked to the right temperature.
Try these cooking hacks for stronger flavors, tastier textures, and less time wasted in the kitchen:
0. Preheat if Needed
Don’t forget to turn on your oven or put water on to boil. Start by setting out all of your pots, pans, or grilling surfaces and preheat anything that will take more than two minutes to reach the right temperature.
Aroma rice cookers don’t need to preheat, so you might be able to skip this step!
1. Master Mis en Place
‘Mis en place’ is French for ‘put in place,’ and it’s a term that culinary pros live by! Take the time to set out and organize ingredients before you start. This way, you can think through the entire recipe and prepare for any hiccups.
– measuring wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls
– washing, drying, and chopping vegetables
– trimming and cutting meat
– cracking eggs
– rinsing rice
Even though you haven’t started cooking yet, this step is all about planning. Once everything is prepped and ready, set the ingredients out in the order that you’re going to add them. (We’ll talk about this in a second!)
2. Focus on Food Safety
Careful recipe prep won’t only help you cook more efficiently – it’s also an important way to prevent food poisoning.
Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and uncooked eggs need to be separated from other ingredients. You should use separate cutting boards, knives, and utensils for all raw ingredients that must be cooked before eating.
You can also easily avoid cross-contamination by prepping fruits, vegetables, and grains first before handling any raw meat. This is often the reverse order of when you’ll add it to the pan.
3. Countdown to Cook Time
How long will it take to cook the entire recipe? Create a countdown based on the cooking times of individual ingredients. For example,
– Wild rice – 45 minutes
– Sliced sausage – 8 minutes
– Chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery – 3 minutes
If you’re using an Aroma rice cooker, you can pour the wild rice inside, select the smart grain setting, and click the start button. Brown your sausage in a pan on the stove 37 minutes later and add vegetables 3 minutes after that. With this approach, everything will be fully cooked and ready to eat at the exact same time!
4. Quick Tips
Large pieces, thick cuts, and hard textures usually take longer to cook. For example, carrots need much longer to cook in a stir fry than snap peas… Even big slices of tomato will cook faster than small pieces of potato.
Don’t overcrowd the pan! It will trap steam, prevent browning, and slow down your cooking time.
Deciding when to add strong flavors like garlic and herbs might come down to taste. These ingredients don’t technically need to cook or soften. Add garlic to the pan early for a softer, mellow taste. If you want your garlic to be spicy, save it for the end.
5. Simplify with One-Pot Meals
Aroma’s new Sauté-then-Simmer® (STS) technology makes it even easier to stagger your cooking times and prepare everything in a single pot. Let’s turn the previous example into a foolproof recipe for Wild Rice Pilaf with Italian Sausage
– Always start by adding fats to increase heat and prevent sticking, even in a non-stick pot
– Brown the sausage in melted butter while stirring for 5 minutes
– Then sauté and soften the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery for 3 minutes
– Add wild rice, tomato sauce, chicken stock, smoked paprika, and pepper before closing the lid
– The STS mode will simmer, set an automatic timer, and switch to keep-warm when it’s done
Find more STS recipes on our blog to master the art of multi-tasking with a single pot.