Since the cost of living crisis is forcing many of us to tighten our belts, it is also offering many people the opportunity to trade in their takeaways and dinners out for healthy, home-cooked meals. Eating in can be a great way to actually enjoy budgeting as preparing meals at home can allow you to feed and nourish your family while saving money.
From baking brownies to trying out an authentic paella recipe, in this article we will explore some of the ways you can expand your culinary horizons all from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Try Out New Ingredients
A great way to expand your culinary horizons is by trying out new ingredients. Rather than opting for your usual ingredients, why not substitute them for alternatives you may never have tried before? For example, instead of meat consider using tofu, seitan or jackfruit. Rather than buying potatoes, consider cooking with couscous, quinoa, cassava or yams. If you prefer baking, you can also experiment with sweet recipes such as pumpkin pancakes, sweet potato muffins, avocado brownies or chocolate zucchini cake.
Another way to try out flavors from foreign lands is by stocking your pantry with some essential herbs and spices. Different countries have their unique style of cooking and flavoring their dishes so having the right seasonings to hand can make cooking from home easier. Spices such as turmeric, cardamom and garam masala can help you to create dishes from the Indian subcontinent while peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin will make Thai cooking so much simpler.
Adding herbs and spices to your dishes will not only pack them with flavor but can also reduce your reliance on salt and processed sauces.
Try Cuisines from Other Cultures
From Syrian to Spanish, Morrocan to Mexican, trying out dishes from different parts of the world can introduce you to new cultures while tantalizing your taste buds.
Experimenting with such recipes is also one of the quickest ways to expand your culinary repertoire and knowledge of foreign cuisines. You will also learn about different cooking techniques and ways to prepare food while serving up flavorful feasts to your family.
Start with simple dishes from different cultures to help you venture out of your cooking comfort zone. Below are some suggestions on what to eat:
- Green Curry – Thai coconut milk-based curry
- Okonomiyaki – Japanese savory pancake dish made with cabbage
- Vegetable Biryani – Indian rice dish made with spices and mixed vegetables
- Shakshouka – North African dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce
- Pasta Puttanesca – Italian spaghetti dish with anchovies, garlic, tomatoes and chili flakes
- Gazpacho – Spanish chilled soup made with raw, pureed vegetables.
As you begin experimenting with new dishes, you can adapt the flavors to suit your tastes.
Different Cooking Methods
Broaden your culinary abilities by trying out different cooking methods. If you are used to frying or grilling your food, consider experimenting with simmering, sautéing, stewing, roasting, poaching or braising.
By introducing some of the suggestions in this article into your cooking habits you will soon be able to expand your culinary horizons while creating delicious home-cooked dishes for the whole family.