MasterChef Australia Adam Liaw reveals the ‘dirty secret’ behind the PERFECT winter stew

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MasterChef’s Adam Liaw lists his top three home cooking tricks – including the ‘dirty secret’ behind the PERFECT winter dish every time

  • Adam Liaw has shared his top five tips for taking home cooking to the next level
  • Cookbook author said traditional cooking is all about ‘building umami’
  • He said chefs use dozens of ingredients to enhance the flavor of their dishes
  • Ingredients include miso, fish sauce, mushrooms, cured meats or dried seafood

Famed chef Adam Liaw has shared his top three tips for taking home cooking to the next level — including his “dirty secret” behind the perfect winter dish.

The cookbook author said that traditional cooking is all about “building umami” – a Japanese word to describe the savory taste we experience when eating food.

The 2010 MasterChef Australia winner said chefs use dozens of ingredients to enhance the flavor of their dishes, including stock, miso, soy and fish sauces, chicken powder, mushrooms, cured meats or dried seafood.

“We’re treating it like it’s a dirty secret,” Liaw told the… Good food.

Australian celebrity chef Adam Liaw (pictured) has shared his top three tips for taking home cooking to the next level – including his ‘dirty secret’ umami

To save time in the kitchen, the dad-of-three said he always cuts up all of his veggies for a few days of cooking.

“Cooking feels like a chore because we try to make too much of it at once,” he said.

While preparing a meal, Liaw says he can simply toss his prepared vegetables into a pan or wok “la minute.”

To enhance the flavors in your dish, Liaw suggested slow cooking in the winter.

‘Almost every bolognese in Australia can be improved by cooking it a little (or much) longer. I’ll cook mine for about two hours,” he said.

“Stop trying to cram all your “cooking” into the last minute. Use time to your advantage. You’ll find that if you don’t rush your food, it will turn out better.’

The 2010 MasterChef Australia winner said traditional cooking is all about 'building umami' - a Japanese word to describe the savory taste we experience when eating (pictured from Liaw's monk fruit soup with pork ribs, daikon and carrot)

The 2010 MasterChef Australia winner said traditional cooking is all about ‘building umami’ – a Japanese word to describe the savory taste we experience when eating (pictured from Liaw’s monk fruit soup with pork ribs, daikon and carrot)

Three ingredients every household should always have in their pantry

Adam Liaw revealed the ingredients every household should always have in the pantry amid the coronavirus — including dried mushrooms, polenta and eggs.

liaw said: dried mushrooms should always be a staple in your pantry.

“They add a good dose of umami and a meaty texture to dishes, and when you reconstitute them in water, you get an instant mushroom broth,” he told Good Food.

For vegetarians or vegans, Liaw said dried shiitake is perfect for grating over pasta dishes.

Liaw suggested keeping a few dozen Eggs in the pantry if you do find yourself in isolation, because you can make various savory or sweet dishes such as fried rice, cake, omelette, boiled or scrambled eggs and even mayonnaise.

“Eggs are arguably the most versatile food in the world,” he said.

Another ingredient he suggested is: polenta, describing it as a “highly underrated apocalypse food.”

“What I love about it is that it’s a different meal every day,” Liaw said, adding that polenta can be served as hot porridge, baked, baked, or grilled.

His tips come after Liaw offers his guide to home cooking – including meal planning, easy ingredient changes, and using leftovers to avoid food waste.

The food writer said you can replace a missing ingredient in your dish with other alternatives so you don’t have to go back to the supermarket – as millions of Australians stay at home to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Whether you need a sweet, salty or sour ingredient, the 2010 MasterChef winner said you can recreate the flavors just from what you already have in the pantry.

‘If you don’t have sugar, use honey. If you run out of soy sauce, use a little salt. No lemon juice? Try vinegar instead,” Liaw said in an article for The Good Food.

Rather than stockpiling, Liaw said the best way to stretch the ingredients further is to “throw less away.”

“If you have some leftover veggies, cut them up and throw them in that quarantine bolognese. Turn bones and trimmings into broth,” he said.

Liaw encouraged people to ignore the use-by date and expiration date — and instead use your nose to check if the product has stopped working.

According to Australia and New Zealand food standards, most foods are safe to consume after their best before date, but they may have lost some quality.

Liaw said there are two different smells to avoid if you’re looking for food that’s just past its best-before or best-before date.

‘The first is putrefaction – the sour, disgusting and quite unmistakable smell of something that has gone off. Avoid,’ he said.

“The second is rancidity. Rancid, oxidized oils have a waxy odor and while they may not make you sick right away, they can taste unpleasant.’

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