The film world has Director's Cuts... and the food world has Poh's Cook's Cuts. It's a series of extended recipe tutorials created by Poh Ling Yeow. Why? “I really want homecooks to succeed,” Poh tells us. “So I came up with these videos so I could hold your hand through each process and share all my secret tips!” Featuring cooking explanations and top secret tips, the videos showcase popular recipes from season one of Poh & Co. If you love Poh, watch Poh's Kitchen weeknights at 6pm and stay tuned for the second series of Poh & Co. later this year!
1. Try. Fail. Try again.
The one nugget of wisdom I swear by in the kitchen is “Do not be afraid to fail!” I always learn so much more from making a mistake than when I have success in the kitchen.
Pickling 101: Remember your pickling liquid has to be completely cooled otherwise it’ll cook the vegetables and you’ll have soft instead of crunchy pickles.
2. Learn the science of things
When you fail in the kitchen, it forces you to be so much more observant and look at the science of things. You begin to break things down and figure out the hows, whys and whens.
Baking 101: An aluminium tin will conduct heat better than one that has a non-stick surface, so its contents will cook quicker and brown quicker.
Bake Poh's American Southern-style carrot cake
3. Know your utensils (including your hands!)
Be committed to cooking! Have the right tools, treat your ingredients with respect and pay attention to detail.
Dumpling making 101: [When making dumpling cases] the most important thing to remember is to apply pressure only on the inward motion when you’re rolling. If you apply it on the outside motion as well, you end up with a very irregular shape. This technique also ensures that each of the discs is a little bit thicker on the bottom, meaning they won’t break when you fry them.
Make Poh's Chinese pork and cabbage dumplings
4. Soak up the knowledge around you
Most of my tips come from experience — trial and error — but some come from reading books, or through working with and watching amazing chefs. Oh and a lot of the Asian stuff is from Mum and Great Aunty Kim, of course!
Gluten 101: When you knead flour with cool water you find that it activates the gluten and makes it hard to manage. When you try to roll it out or shape it you’ll find that it kind of springs back. [If you use] hot water, for some reason it kind of deadens the gluten, and when you go to roll it out the dough behaves and stays in the shape that you want.
5. And finally... be brave!
I’m always anxious about inexperienced cooks getting discouraged by recipes without enough detail. I really want homecooks to succeed, so I came up with these videos so I could hold your hand through each process and share all my secret tips!
Cake layering 101: Use the longest, sharpest knife that you own. After cutting the layers, simply slice a little vertical line down any part of the side of the cake, just a little shallow one, and then when you reassemble the cake you just line up that vertical cut again and you’ll find that your cake is beautiful and even and not lopsided.
Bake Poh's Totally Unicorn beetroot and chocolate cake