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Ask the Chef

In this kitchen series, food expert Yvonne Maffei answers all your burning questions

Q. How do I keep food processors completely colour and aroma-free after using them to process pungent and strong Eastern spices? I’m forced to use two different processors/blenders for my sweet and savoury preparations.
A.To keep appliances like food processors and spice grinders free of pungent spices you’ve just ground, place a piece of bread or a few tablespoons of rice into the grinder and pulse or grind it up to clean and absorb any of the spices and the smells they leave behind. Repeat, if necessary.




Q. I’m planning to make the switch from non-stick cooking to traditional metal ware cooking. Please advise on the best types of pans to invest in and also, if I need to modify my cooking methods. I’m dreading the thought of food sticking to the bottom of the pan.
A. One of the best type of pans to use that actually become non-stick over time are the cast iron or enameled cast iron ones like Le Creuset. Just season properly before the first use and care for them well, as they could last a lifetime, insha Allah.

Another alternative is to use high quality stainless steel cookware such as Calphalon or All-Clad. A good sauté pan and a large pan with deep sides allows for cooking pasta or rice dishes. A great way to keep foods from sticking is to add salt to the sauté oil when you begin the cooking process, which loosens up food that would normally be problematic (i.e. fish, eggs and more).




Q. What are the best and healthy sweeteners/sugars to use in cooking and baking as an alternative to refined white sugar?
A. All natural unprocessed sugars are great alternatives to white and other refined sugars. Try using raw cane sugar (also called turbinado), honey or agave nectar in your baking and cooking recipes that normally call for sugar or some sort of sweetener. Measurements are typically the same except for baking with honey, which will have to be adjusted, depending on the recipe.