These expert tips will help you achieve the perfect balance of flavours.
13 May 2013 - 12:51 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Cooking with chillies

To keep the flavour but avoid heat, keep the chilli whole or remove seeds. Break dried chillies in half for more heat in cooking.

Caramelising onions

When caramelising sliced onions, add salt to stop the onions from burning and aid the caramelising process.

Roasting/toasting spices

Whole or ground spices can be toasted. While the toasting process is the same for both, ground spices may toast slightly faster than whole. Simply place a dry skillet over medium heat. When the pan gets hot, pour in the desired amount of spice.

Washing rice

Rinsing long-grain white rice before cooking removes excess starch, thus helping the rice cook more evenly and be less sticky. Some specialty rice, such as basmati, is always rinsed and soaked before cooking to obtain separate, perfectly cooked grains. However, other rice, such as Arborio, prized for its starchiness in risotto, is never rinsed.

How to store spices

Spices will generally be at their best for up to a month, if stored correctly. Store spices in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly.

Clarified butter

To make clarified butter gently melt unsalted butter over low heat. After time the butter will form three distinct layers - the foam on top (which is skimmed off and discarded), the milk solids (which will sink to the bottom) and the clarified butter will be left in the middle.