These expert tips will help you achieve the perfect balance of flavours.
13 May 2013 - 3:58 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

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.

Which rice for which dish?

Long grain rice has a long, slender kernel and cooked grains are separate, light and fluffy. Medium grain rice has a shorter, wider kernel than long grain rice. Cooked grains are more moist and tender, and have tend to cling together more than long grain. Short grain rice has a short, plump, almost round kernel. Cooked grains are soft and cling together.

Toasting spices

Toasting whole spices in a dry pan can help to bring out the essential oils and the flavour in the spice, however be careful to taste as you add the spice to your dish as the flavour will have changed and you may need less. Toasting pre-ground spices is a little trickier and it can ruin the flavour of the spice altogether.

Bamboo or wood skewers

If using wooden/bamboo skewers to make kababs, they must be soaked in water for ten minutes first prior to assembling and cooking to avoid burning.