Five ways to gain cooking inspiration

Running out of ideas on what to cook at uni? Here are some new ways to find inspiration.

Szuyi Lu
20th February 2024
Image credit: Pixabay, kalhh
Living without family, the first challenge everyone faces is cooking. It is initially challenging to turn ingredients into meals. Here are five tips to find inspiration for cooking.

For cooking beginners, the easiest way is to follow simple family recipes. These not only provide sustenance but also evoke a sense of home. Taking Taiwanese cuisine as an example, a simple dish is stir-fried eggs with carrots, requiring only a carrot and two eggs. The instructions are straightforward: cut the carrots into thin strips by hand or using a cheese grater, beat the eggs with forks until smooth, heat oil in a pan, fry the carrots until the sauce emerges, then add the eggs, salt, and pepper. It pairs well with rice.

This colourful, flavourful meal is a delight to the senses.

Those with some cooking experience can try swapping meals with flatmates for inspiration. I discovered the combination of beetroot and onion when I tried my Indian flatmate's meal, a home-style dish. This meal is also easy to prepare: cut the onion and beetroot, fry the onion until transparent, add the beetroot, and season with salt. This colourful, flavourful meal is a delight to the senses.

Watching cooking reels is suitable for every cooking skill level. Joe Wicks on Instagram, among other influencers, teaches viewers how to cook healthy meals in short, one-minute videos. While the audience may not be interested in the specific meal, the videos can provide ample inspiration. For example, I found a recipe for bacon mushroom pasta where you add milk as a sauce, offering flavour with fewer calories than using cream.

For those seeking show-stopping dishes, trying to reproduce meals from movies or TV shows is a great option.

For those seeking show-stopping dishes, trying to reproduce meals from movies or TV shows is a great option. Numerous YouTube videos teach audiences to replicate food from Korean and Japanese series'. Some recipes, like Korean zucchini pancakes, are quite simple. The best part after cooking is enjoying the meal while watching the series!

The last approach is money-saving and tastes delicious. I like to buy the vegetable of the season and the meat on sale and then ask the vendors for recommendations on how to cook those ingredients. Normally, they love to share their own recipe and it becomes one of my home made meals.

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