I love Thai food, there is no question about it, but I usually find it somewhat overwhelming to cook at home because there’s just a lot going on. Enter my friend Pai, who wrote a book called “Hot Thai Kitchen“, and also has a YouTube channel—Pailin’s Kitchen. Her and I did a collab video wherein I provided some tips about how to keep your kitchen clean while cooking, and she gave us some hacks that you can use to reduce mess and clean up. So, here are my 5 tips to keep clean while cooking!
Start Off Clean!
Whenever I cook, I always start with a clean sink and an empty dishwasher. I’m telling you guys if these two things are not done, there is a Mount Dishmore to deal with at the end of your cooking.
Have A Trash Bowl Nearby
When you cook, you make a mess, not only with pots and pans but also with the ingredients that you’re cooking with. So, for me, I always keep a bowl (or better yet, a small compost bin) on the counter beside me as I prep everything for cooking. That way, anything that I discard, trim, or peel, is all in one convenient spot. I can literally just take one bowl and dump everything right into the garbage (or for us, the compost bin) and I’m done! As a bonus, it frees up space on your cutting board as you’re working through your prep.
Avoiding Oily Splatter
A splatter guard, while not the most beautiful item you have in the kitchen, is very functional. Whenever you’re frying something simply rest this on top of the pan and it completely covers it, trapping in all of those oily splatters. One other tip to avoid oil splashing all over the place is to ensure whatever you’re cooking is dry. Let’s say you have some oil heating in a pan and you’re going to pan fry some veggies or some meat—make sure that you pat these items dry with a cloth or a paper towel before you cook them. By removing moisture, you drastically reduce the amount of oil splatter.
Clean As You Go
Once everything has started cooking, this is your golden hour to get a bunch of cleaning done. Think about it. If you’re using your time efficiently—I mean, you have to be in the kitchen anyway—you might as well use that time to do some cleanup. Clean (or throw in the dishwasher) any prep dishes and/or untensils, wipe counters and cutting boards down, that kind of stuff. This clean-as-you-go concept will save you time after your meal is over.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of pre-treating, befriend it. Pre-treating is amazing for keeping it easy while you cook so that cleanup is a breeze. What I like to do is keep a mixture of 2 cups water and a teaspoon of dish soap (basically a DIY all-purpose cleaner) in a spray bottle under the sink. I use this to pre-treat pretty much anything as soon as it’s cool enough to do so. If a dish, or pan, cools off too much, things can start to cake on and become really tough to clean. So, give these items a good spritz (be generous!) with this solution and let them soak while you eat. If there’s something that you know is really gritty, you can throw a little bit of baking soda in, along with that solution, and that will help provide some extra abrasion you might need to make cleanup easier.