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Cook Smart

Discover effective ways to maximize your cooking creativity.

Boost Flavours with These Healthy Cooking Methods!

Good nutrition is not just about eating the “right” food but also about preparing these foods in ways that will maintain their nutritional benefits. Healthy food preparation has a reputation for being expensive and not tasting very good but guess what? It’s never the case! Healthy cooking can be flavorful and delicious too.

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lt's All About Cooking A Tasty,
Balanced & Nutritious Meal!

These cooking methods can maintain the nutrient content of the foods
we prepare without compromising on the flavours! Find out how.



Why Steam?

It’s a simple technique that is commonly done over boiling water.

  • Steaming requires only water and heat
  • No oil needed, no added fat or calories
  • Retains foods’ flavour, colour, shape, texture and nutrients
  • Food stews in its own juice

Suitable Ingredients for this Cooking Method

Vegetables such as carrots, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage
Fish and shellfish
Vegetable or lean meat-filled dumplings

Tips on Steaming

  • Only place food in when the water is boiling.
  • Don’t over-steam! This causes texture breakdown and most importantly, nutrient loss.
  • For whole fish, it is recommended that you steam it for 10-15 minutes; vegetables for about 3-5 minutes.

Why Grill ?

Grilling involves cooking food on a rack over a heat source, usually charcoal, wood, gas or electric heated grills.

  • Boosts foods’ flavours
  • Minimal oil
  • Avoids major nutrient loss

Suitable Ingredients for this Cooking Method

Lean, tender cuts of meat such as beef steak and lamb chops
Skinless chicken breasts and thighs, kebabs, sausages
Vegetable slices/chunks like eggplant, capsicums and tomatoes

Tips on Grilling

  • Never over-grill your food in order to avoid carbon like flavour that’s unhealthy.
  • Use papaya or pineapple as a marinade to tenderise the meat.

Grilled food is totally amazing! Try out these amazing recipes at MAGGI®!

Why Microwave ?

The microwave oven works by exciting the water molecules in your food, which in turn heats up and cooks the food very quickly.

  • No oil needed
  • Does a better job of preserving vitamin C and other nutrients
  • Cooks food uniformly, retains flavour and texture of food

Suitable Ingredients for this Cooking Method

Eggs
Vegetable such as potatoes and broccoli, fish and meat
Pasta, noodles and rice

Tips on Microwaving

  • Stir food to make sure that heat is evenly distributed
  • To assist in the circulation of heat, add a tablespoon or two of water

Here are some recipes that can be prepared using the microwave. Try out these amazing recipes at MAGGI®!

Why Stir-fry ?

Stir-frying involves frying small pieces of food quickly over very high heat in an oiled pan or wok.

  • Minimal oil
  • Quick cooking allows nutrients to be retained
  • Also retains flavour, colour and texture of food

Suitable Ingredients for this Cooking Method

Lean, tender cuts of meat; prawns, calamari or firm white fish
Vegetables cut into small pieces
Rice and noodles

Tips on Stir-frying

  • Limit usage by using spray oil.
  • Add veggies that will take longer to cook first. For example, add stems of leafy vegetables before adding in the leaves.
  • Avoid over cooking vegetables by pre-blanching it before stir frying.
  • For stir frying chicken, cut the meat into small pieces to ensure it is thoroughly cooked.

Why Poach ?

Poaching is a cooking method that employs a small amount of liquid that is hot but not bubbling at about 160°F and 180°F (75°C - 80°C).

  • No oil needed
  • Flavours are infused in the food by seasoning the liquid
  • Preserves the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in fish better

Suitable Ingredients for this Cooking Method

Eggs
Chicken and fish
Fruits such as pears and apples

Tips on Poaching

  • Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature of the cooking liquid or watch for bubbling and adjust the heat as necessary.
  • Do not allow the food being cooked to touch the bottom of the pan or it may cook too rapidly or burn.

Learn to poach your food and enjoy the amazing taste of it! Equally healthy, these recipes can be prepared using other healthy methods such as blanching, boiling or braising.

Why Eat Raw ?

Just like what it says – food that is not cooked or raw.

  • No oil needed
  • Nutrients are not lost
  • Taste enhanced in partial cooking; for example, adding raw onions into a cooked dish

Suitable Ingredients for this Cooking Method

Vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and raw onions

Tips on Eating Raw Ingredients

  • Vegetables deliver the most Vitamin C when consumed raw.
  • Since this method consists of mostly plant-based ingredients, you consume more vitamins, minerals, and fiber, with no added sugars or fats from cooking.

Easy-to-make raw food recipes such as salads are great. Raw ingredients also add an extra nutritional oomph to your cooked dishes. Try it out!

Be a Smart Cook! Choose These Healthier Alternatives

There’s no need to sacrifice flavour. Here are some healthy substitutes to help reduce the amount of salt, sugar and calories for a healthier meal with the same great-tasting flavours!

If your recipe calls for

Substitute or add in


Rice


Brown Rice
(High in fibre)


Santan


Low-fat yoghurt
(High in calcium)


Salad Dressing


Low-fat yoghurt
(High in calcium)
Olive oil
(Contains healthy fat)
or Lemon juice

(Packed in Vitamin C)


Sugar


Fresh fruits
(Loaded with Vitamins)


Pick The Right Fats

Fats may have a bad reputation but we need to understand that not all fats are the same. While bad fats can wreck your health, good fats play an important part in your diet – it’s vital to your physical and emotional health. Get to know the difference between good and bad fats and include more good fats in your diet to improve your mood, boost your energy and well-being.

Trans fats and saturated fats are known as the “bad fats”. These fats raise bad cholesterol levels and lowers good cholesterol levels and raises the risk of heart disease, stroke and other chronic conditions.


Trans fat - primary sources include:



Packaged snack foods such as crackers and chips



Stick margarine



Red meat such as beef and lamb and chicken skin.



Whole-fat dairy products such as milk, cream and cheese

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats”. It’s good for your heart, your cholesterol, and overall health.


Monounsaturated fat - good sources include:



Olive, sunflower, palm, and sesame oils



Avocados



Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, kembung and sardines



Tofu and soymilk


The Complete Guide to Storing Food in the Kitchen

Storing your groceries at the right place can make your food last longer!

The Door

• Avoid storing highly perishable foods at the door because it is the warmest part of the fridge.


• It’s the most convenient place to store sauces, condiments, soft drinks, juice and cold water.

The Freezer

• Freezers should be kept at 0°F (-18°C).


• It is perfect for frozen meat in airtight packages and ice-cream.

Upper Shelves

• Upper shelves are usually constant in temperature.


• Best for food items that you want to be able to see first when you open the fridge such as dairy products, drinks or ready-to-eat food.

Bottom Shelves

• This section is the coldest spot in the fridge.


• Good to store raw meat and poultry that’s wrapped and placed on a plate and even eggs in a carton.

Crisper Drawers

• Crisper drawers tend to retain some moisture which is good for fresh produce.


• Good for storing certain fruits and vegetables that produce a gas that can cause other produce to become spotted or soft.


• Designate one drawer for meat.

Click on the to learn more on what goes where.

Pantry: Top Shelf

• Store canned goods here because it can last up to 2+ years. Make sure the temperature is at about 37°C.

Pantry: Middle Shelf

• Mayonnaise and peanut butter can be stored in the pantry. Store mayo in the fridge once the bottle is opened.

Pantry: Bottom Shelf

• You can store potatoes here because it’s cool, dark, dry and well ventilated.


• Store onions separately because potatoes and onions release gases that will cause the other to spoil faster.


• Some fruits ripen at room temperature.


• Tomatoes ripen well and doesn’t lose its flavour when placed out of the fridge.

Click on the to learn more on what goes where.

Keep all items as orderly as possible for more storage space and easier access.

When adding in cooking aids (sauces, mixes and flavour enhancers) to your cooking,

taste the dish before adding in salt.

Store leftovers in clear containers or bags so you easily find it.

Discard food that is spoiled or has been stored past the recommended storage time.

Clean the fridge out frequently to prevent odours, dirt and fungus.