Since visual appetite has become a vital part of enjoying food in the age of Instagram, how about mastering the art of plating at home? Turn your meals into Insta-approved works of art with these plating tips!
You know why meals at a fine dining restaurant feel like such an exquisite experience? It's not just about the taste and complexity of the dish - it's a lot about how it looks too! Chefs refer to the art of presenting food aesthetically as plating. Food Blogger Neha Mathur of Whisk Affair shares a few handy plating tips in this video:
Of all the plating tips, this is the first and most important. Be mindful of the kind of dish or plate you choose to serve the meal. Opt for a colour that either compliments the meal's colour or contrasts it. White works the best in most cases.
Wipe away any unseemly stains or splashes that may have happened while you were spooning or pouring the meal into the dish or serving bowl.
3. Garnish Ready
Plating tips go beyond just the serveware. Drop your herbs and lemon wedges in a bowl of ice-cold water and refrigerate for one hour. This helps to keep them crisp and fresh. India's hot and humid weather often accelerates the wilting and drying of herbs like mint and coriander. Since these ingredients are frequently used for garnishing, they need to look attractive. Add lemon wedges or slices to the same bowl to freshen them up at the same time.
4. Accessorising Your Meal
This is one of those plating tips that most people forget about. Always remember to garnish with ingredients that are appropriate to the meal you have prepared. If it's an Indian dish, don't use foreign herbs like parsley or rosemary. Always use ingredients that have actually gone into the making of the dish. This ensures that the garnish pairs well with the meal. You can also use sauces and chutneys to create a flourish of colour on the serving plate. You may need a brush to do that.
Plain, steamed or jeera rice can be made to look fancier if you sprinkle some golden fried onions on top. Always keep some handy in the fridge so that if you have guests come over unannounced, you can easily impress them. Besides, the fried onions don't just look nice but also add to the taste of the rice.
6. Prep for Garnish
Set aside useful ingredients for garnish while cooking. Don't start thinking about the garnish after you finish cooking. For instance, when preparing lemon rice, set aside a few peanuts and curry leaves after roasting. You can use these for garnishing the final serving bowl.
7. Odd One Out
Chefs also suggest serving odd amounts of food in case of dishes like pakoras or prawn sukha. This creates the illusion of being served more food.
8. Balance is Key
Another useful idea is to balance the plate with a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and raw foods for better nutrition as well as presentation.
9. Shape of You
For Indian meals like rice, upma and halwa, using a small bowl to pat the portion into shape also helps. Simply pack one person's portion into the bowl tightly and then upturn over the serving plate for a perfect dome. Top with nuts and dried fruits for a pleasing presentation.
10. Invest in Tools
If you're serious about perfecting the art of plating, invest in some professional tools like precision tongs, piping bags and spouted sauciers. Precision tongs help you place herbs, individual food items and just about anything in the shape you want, without getting your hands dirty. Piping bags can be used to garnish the plate with any creamy substance like potato puree. Saucier spoons are used to drizzle sauces over the dish.