It’s the time of the year again when we all start contemplating life and setting up new goals for the next year. This coming year, why not focus some of your personal achievements around home skills, particularly in the kitchen?

Being able to prepare your own meal is a mark of independence, maturity, and financial stability (ingredients cost money too!), not to mention a handy skill when it comes to schmoozing.

Here are some essential cooking goals that we’ve rounded up for you to benchmark your abilities in the kitchen. How many have you accomplished?

1. Instant noodles

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Read: Basic survival. This skill will come in handy during a zombie apocalypse,or when you’re in between jobs.

2. Lavish omelette 

There are too many possibilities with omelettes for you to keep making the same ol’ plain ones. Try this Omelette Provencal.

3. Spicing up canned food 

Because making a sambal out of canned sardine is still technically cooking.

4. Cook at least one Western meal

Grill something, and serve it with a side of blanched french beans sauteed in butter and a serving of mash potato. Ta-dah! Try this rack of lamb recipe.

5. Cook at least one Asian dish

If you master this, you’ll be guaranteed to earn bonus load of brownie points from your mum. Here’s a fairly simple Thai Squid Salad to try.

6. Master the classic Chicken Curry

Because you’ll never truly impress a Malaysian until you can make a great curry.

7. Turn your meal into ash

baking disaster

If you have not burnt a dish yet, it means you’re not trying hard enough. Get out of your comfort zone, try a new recipe, and wear your failures like a badge of honour.

8. Make one dip from scratch

These are handy for chips, vege sticks, or french fries when you host a movie night. Try this flavourful Tomato and Coriander dip.

9. Make one salad dressing from scratch

Because Kewpie is awesome, but so is variety.

10. Bake a cake

Baking a cake is an essential life skill that renders useful especially for birthdays, loved ones, anniversaries, and sorries. By your 20s, you should know how to at least follow a recipe from scratch. Here’s a Moist Chocolate Cheesecake to begin with.

11. Make a no-bake dessert

Whether it’s using whipped cream, chocolate, honey or cinnamon, a no-bake dessert recipe, such as this heavenly Chocolate Cream Pie, can come in very handy for last-minute treats.

12. Frost a cake on all sides

It’s not easy to get an beautiful even frosting on the sides and the top of any cake. If you’ve done this before, pat yourself on the back.

13. Master a dessert without chocolate

Dessert with chocolate is a sure-hit. If you want to test yourself properly, try going sans cocoa in your dessert, like with this Sweet Banana Dessert.

14. Make roast chicken in the oven

You can’t really call yourself a cook until you can make a basic roast chicken in an oven.

15. Host a luncheon or dinner party

Bonus points if you have more than two courses in your meal line-up.

16. Have a good-quality kitchen utensil

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For me it’s my beloved garlic press. In two seconds, I can have fragrant, mashed-up garlic frying in my pan.

17. Stock up more than three dried herbs


Just so you can finally sing “Parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme” without feeling incomplete.

18. Make a meal completely from leftovers

Whether it’s the leftovers from Raya or Christmas, churning out meals with remainder food are an excellent way to reduce wastage.

19. Master creme brulee

This delicate little dessert can be a challenge for young budding cooks to master. Bonus points for a torched caramel crust.

20. Get chilli in your eyes


This is a right of passage for Asian / Malaysian cooking. No matter how many times you’ve been warned, your chilli-soaked index finger will make its way to your eyeball. Yikes.

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