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How To Cook Without A Recipe (with Samin Nosrat)

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How do chefs create recipes? How do you make a meal when you don’t have those tested instructions at hand? “Following a recipe is easy, but improvising in the kitchen takes confidence — and a well-stocked pantry.” And practice.

In this animated video from NPR’s Life Kit, Samin Nosrat, celebrated chef and author of the best-selling book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, describes each step of how she makes a delicious meal without a recipe.


The summary of tips: Find an anchoring idea that helps you make choices, a simple pot of beans is a good base for improvisational practice, and make sure to keep the basics stocked. From NPR:

Nosrat says she likes to be able “to go to any country at the drop of the hat.” So here are her recommendations for a well-stocked, ready-to-travel kitchen:

• Vinegars, oils, and soy sauce.
• Spicy condiments like hot sauces and pepper pastes.
• Rice (white, brown, wild, etc.)
• Noodles and pastas (soba noodles, rice noodles, etc.)
• Frozen vegetables (broccoli, carrots, peas, etc.)
• Onions, garlic
• An array of spices (don’t forget cumin!)

an anchoring idea
keeping the kitchen stocked
Related food and recipe videos on TKSST include:
• How To Be A Better Baker with Kiano Moju
• Making ice cream from a 350-year-old recipe
• Omelette by Madeline Sharafian
• Microwave cupcakes in a mug, an easy chemistry experiment

Bonus: Epicurious’ Four Levels video series.

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