Today I want to share a cooking tip with you. It’s a great habit to get into. It’s a technique called mise en place, a French term for “everything in place”. The basic idea is to do all the prepwork before beginning to cook your recipe. Or at least as much as makes sense.
For best results you’ll need some small containers. I actually use individual ramekins and fruit bowls for my work. You could also use a large cutting board, but it’s not as easy.
What this means is that you prep any vegetables before starting. Vegetables that get added together can go in the same container. So you might put the onion, celery, and green pepper in one dish. Do the peeling, dicing, and measuring during this time. A quicker cooking ingredient, such as garlic, gets its own special spot.
You do the same thing for your spices. Measure out all the get added together. In some recipes like chili I add the garlic and spices at the same time. For that, I put them all in the same bowl.
Finally, get your liquids prepped. Pour out and measure ingredients like soy milk, water, tamari, and so on. You can do the same thing with condiments like mustard, hot sauce, and ketchup.
This may seem like it takes a lot of time before you can get cooking. But you actually end up saving time. You’ll also know before it’s too late that you have enough of everything you need.
The biggest advantage of this is that you’ll be able to cook quickly over high heat. This is great for stir-fry when you add ingredients at different stages and barely have time to stir to keep things from burning. It’s also good for toasting spices and for keeping garlic from getting too dark and tasting bitter.
You might also think that you end up soiling more measuring cups and spoons, but that’s not actually true. You’d probably use them the same way anyway. You will have extra containers and bowls with this method. However, I find that in most cases all they need is a quick rinse to clean.
I hope you give the mise en place technique a try when you’re creating in the kitchen and see how it simplifies the process!