Cooking Tips rss

Ideas, advice, and what to make now from the Chowhound community and CHOW editors.

Make Your Own Naan (and Decide How to Bake It)

The relatively thick, bubble-puffy flatbread known as naan came to India and Pakistan by way of Persia. The dough is yeast-leavened and contains yogurt. Once baked, naan can be a scoop for saucy foods, a wrapper, or something to be stuffed with delicious fillings like spiced mashed potato. As for baking naan, there are a couple of ways you can go. Traditionally, the rolled-out raw breads are slapped onto the walls of a clay tandoor oven. At home, you can choose to bake naan in a skillet or on a griddle, or take it outside and cook the breads on a propane grill. We did both (spoiler alert: Each method produces delicious naan, though with a few differences). So read on—but first you need to make the dough: READ MORE

The Care and Feeding of Your Sourdough

If you bake bread and love the tang of sourdough, but aren't sure how to get a starter going and keep it active, let experienced Chowhounds guide you through the ins and outs of sourdough care and feeding, with recommended formulas, resources, and websites full of helpful photos and videos.

How to Make Garam Masala: Kitchen Coach Part 4

Garam masala is India’s ubiquitous spice blend, the pinch that adds flavor at pretty much any stage during a dish’s evolution, from cooking pot to table. Here’s the blend our February Kitchen Coach, Chef Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, California, uses for her chicken tikka masala and beyond. Note that garam formulas vary by region and according to the cook (Preeti thinks her preference for coriander and cumin gives away her family’s roots in the western Indian state of Gujarat, where the spice blend dhana jeera is king). Let’s get started. READ MORE

Dip Into These Essential Indian Condiments

Growing up, I watched my Indian grandmother eat from a large, stainless-steel plate called a thali, filled with many tiny bowls of condiments. As I got older I had questions, mainly: Are multiple dips and sauces really necessary at every meal? Eventually I realized that they are, at least in Indian food, where condiments are the ultimate customization tool: With every bite, you can invite more sweetness, more heat, or more sour to the party, making every bite of that lamb stew in front of you into a completely different experience. The three main condiment types in the Indian repertoire are chutneys, achaar or pickles, and raitas. READ MORE

The Naked Truth About Gnudi

Find out about the delicate, cheesy Tuscan bites known as gnudi—similar to their cousins, gnocchi, but with lots of ricotta instead of all the carbs. Get recipes and technique tips for this healthy, homey-yet-sophisticated Italian treat.

Kitchen Coach Part 3: Tips for Chicken Tikka Masala Success!

We reached out to Indian-American chef Preeti Mistry to be our Kitchen Coach after CHOW’s Tracy Kaplan came clean about her pretty much lifelong desire to master the Anglo-Indian dish chicken tikka masala. Preeti talked about the history of the dish, took us shopping for spices to make garam masala, and passed along her recipe. Along the way, she gave Tracy (and us) a few tips. READ MORE

Transform Your Leftover Polenta

Leftover polenta won't retain its creaminess as it cools, but luckily it can be transformed into a new dish that takes advantage of its firmer texture. Try it pan-fried or smothered with sauce and baked, and learn which treatment works best depending on its original consistency.

Panini Without the Fancy Gear

There's more than one way to grill panini and a specialized panini press is only one possibility. Find out creative, effective ways to grill and press appetizing sandwiches with stuff you already have—some 'hounds even found a way to repurpose what was otherwise a kitchen dud. Enjoy your low-tech melted cheese and grill marks!

Getting to the Roots of Marinara

A simple meatless tomato sauce, marinara can be tossed with freshly cooked pasta, used as a dipping sauce, or incorporated into dishes like lasagna and eggplant Parmesan. What's the definitive recipe? According to Chowhounds, it's as simple as olive oil, garlic, good canned tomatoes, and a half hour of simmering.

The Best Machines to Churn Scoopable Ice Cream

Learn about the three main kinds of home ice-cream makers, and find out the secret to making scoop-able ice cream—not soupy soft-serve. Find out how machines with a freezable bowl compare to machines with a built-in compressor freezer, and why some 'hounds still love old-fashioned ice-and-salt machines. Plus learn the crucial role your freezer plays in the ice cream process, even if you're not using a frozen bowl.