5 Kitchen Secrets I Learned from Mom

7:15 PM

My sister and I grew up in our family's restaurant, watching my parents work tirelessly to see the family business endure for over 40 years. My dad was the chef and my mom the GM. I watched in admiration as my dad whipped up one dish after another. Needless to say, many of our family meals were staff meals at 'restaurant hours'. But it was in the intimacy of our home kitchen I learned how to cook from my mom.

In honor of mother's day, here are some tips my mom passed on to me that I now share with my boys:

1. Fresh ginger: a little bit of fresh ginger goes a long way in almost every Asian dish. Add it to steamed rice, soups, stir-fry, tea - anything that could use a little spice, mellow sweetness, and warmth.

2. Making perfect rice: growing up in a Asian home, I thought the only way you cooked rice was with a rice cooker (Uncle Ben's was completely foreign to me). Here's how to cook rice in a rice cooker: 1) Measure uncooked rice and pour into cooking pot. 2) Rinse with cold water 2-3 times and tip and drain water. 3) Place pot on flat surface and place your palm down flat on top of the rice. 4) Fill cooker with enough water so that it just about reaches your knuckles. 5) Wipe outside of pot and place in cooker. 6) Press cook and enjoy! BTW - this is for white, long grain rice.

3. Fresh ingredients: only use the freshest ingredients for any dish. My mom will inspect every piece of produce to ensure it hasn't been picked over or sitting around. It really does make a difference in overall taste and quality.

4. The Wok - great multitasker: Woks are more than just for a stir-fry. It can be used as a steamer for many traditional and healthy asian dishes. You can use bamboo steamers or set a platter on a steamer rack. Woks are great for deep frying too. I've also used woks for blanching veggies.

5. Treat yourself to a nice meal: We've all had those days - too tired to prepare a home cooked meal or find yourself in a menu rut. Pizza and takeout are perfectly fine solutions for days like this. But some of my favorite memories are of eating out at good restaurants as a family. Besides eating a delicious dish, there's nothing more satifying than enjoying a really good meal and not have to do a single thing.

So to all moms out there - Happy Mother's Day and here's to a day of not having to do a single thing!

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