ChihYu Smith is the recipe creator behind IHeartUmami.com – a site that teaches people how to cook Asian-inspired Paleo cuisine. In less than a year, her work has been published throughout the U.S. and Australia, including HuffPost Healthy Living, The Paleo Living Magazine, Eat Drink Paleo and other Paleo niche sites. I’m happy to welcome ChihYu back again to share her healthy cooking tips with us.
The #1 thing people say to me is:
“How do I cook as well as you?”
I love hearing comments from people, especially after they’ve enjoyed a recipe I’ve written.
However, what I really want to say to them is – You Can Do It Too!
Today, I’m going to share with you one of the top secrets that I use in everyday cooking. It’s a powerful yet simple concept that all my readers and students in my course apply.
And if you’ve ever wondered how to make healthy food more flavorful, Read on. This one is for you.
Years ago when I started cooking, I thought a pot of delicious chicken broth was simply made with a piece of plain chicken breast and boiling water.
You might be laughing at how naive I was and the fact that I couldn’t figure out why mine didn’t taste as good as my mom’s. What’s even more frustrating is that when I realized how bad I was at cooking I was already living in the US and as a grad student with not much income to live on, and I had to learn how to cook for myself.
Ever heard that how living outside of our hometown makes us much more aware of our surroundings?
Most people think to make food tasty depends on what dressing, seasoning, or sauce we use. But my family’s No. 1 secret to making healthy food tasty has nothing to do with how many fancy seasonings or sauce bottles we have in the pantry.
I want you to picture the first thing that comes into your mind when you pass by a neighborhood Italian restaurant. What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you pass by the restaurant that makes you say “hmm…that smells good!”
Well, it turns out that phrase – Hmm…it smells good – has a lot to do with aroma.
You see, the first thing that hits our nose and sets the tone of a dish will be aroma. Think of it as a building block without which, regardless how well you balance and enhance the flavors, your dish just won’t be as good as it could be.
You might be asking “so what exactly is aroma?”
“Aromatics are a combination of herbs/vegetables that are heated in cooking fat and flavored with salt at the beginning of a dish.”
To give you a few more examples:
In France, people use onion, carrot, and celery as aromatics. Commonly known as mirepoix.
Similarly, Germany’s Suppengrün comprises of carrot, celery and leek.
As the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking, people use onion, celery, and green bell pepper.
And, of course, I can’t leave without mentioning that the Asian equivalent to a holy trinity would be finely minced ginger, garlic, and fresh red chili pepper. This is especially true in Chinese cuisine.
And here’s how you can try it at home today –
Take my family’s winning aromatic combo as an example – minced ginger, garlic, and fresh red chili pepper. Heat a tablespoon or two of the cooking fat of your choice in a wok or a sauté pan over high heat. When hot, turn the heat down to medium and then add-in the aromatic combo. Quickly season with a small pinch of salt and within 5 seconds you will smell the amazing aroma coming from your kitchen. And this winning aromatic combo can serve as a foundational base to transform your everyday cooking.
The best part of knowing how to make aromatics work for you is that your food will be not only tastier but also solid and distinctive, just like your favorite dishes from restaurants.
In my course, The Source Code: Your Guide To Cooking Asian-Inspired Paleo Without Recipes, we delve into greater depth with tastes and aromas and how they interact and elevate our day-to-day cooking.
Have you ever wondered how to make simple food truly delicious – even if you have limited ingredients at home?
Are you wondering how to make one flavor work with another, and prepare your own dishes that make you and your family want more?
You don’t have to wonder anymore. You can use the tip I shared with you today and apply it to as many dishes as you like. And if you are interested in learning more about my course, stop over to IHeartUmami.com and get my 3-part quick start guide to Asian Paleo cooking. It’s completely free, and you’ll learn more about The Source Code course.