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When going to restaurants, do you take notice of how their pasta tastes? Texture wise? Taste wise? Doneness?

Living here in Indonesia, I have tasted the worst pastas to a small number of good ones. Maybe because it is not in our Asian culture.

My aunt lives in Nice, France, and Milano, Italy. So I get to visit her every now and then, and that was how I realized that I had been eating crappy tasting pasta my whole life in Asia.

Pasta is one of the most loved dishes around the world. In Italy, eating a plate of pasta is like a daily ritual, it’s like breathing. Naturally and simply cooked, but resulting in a good properly cooked pasta dish.
Unfortunately, many people eat improperly cooked pasta for most of their lives. That includes me hahaha..

As a chef, I challenged myself to learn how to cook it the right way. It may seem simple, but oh so crucial.
Even though cooking pasta is perceived by many to be very simple, I think you’ll be surprised to find out how many mistakes most people make, including yours truly here, in her early days of cooking pasta.
I am glad I got to learn this in Chef school.

To cut a long story short, here’s how.

Start with a large, straight-sided pot. A tapered pot will restrict past from moving around freely, hence clumping your pasta.

Tapered Pot

Tapered Pot

Always have lots of water on hand. Start by adding cold water to the pot.

Bring water to a rapid boil

Add salt to the water

Add pasta to the water

Stir pasta

Test for doneness. For commercial dry pasta, it has to be cooked to al dente or to the tooth, as the Italians say. When you bite into it, there has to be some sort of resistance. Not mushy.

Reserve some of the pasta water, just in case you need for thinning sauces.

Drain the pasta and DO NOT wash with cold water, because it will wash away the starch in the pasta and make it difficult for your sauces to stick/ blend in with the pasta.
Exception for Gluten free pastas though, in my opinion, it is better to rinse with water after pasta is cooked.


Adding oil when cooking pasta will prevent it from clumping. Wrong. Adding oil does not have anything to do with clumping. If anything, it will make the pasta not stick to your sauce when you toss it later. An abundance of cold water at the start is the key to not get clumped pasta that stick togther, because pasta can move freely in water.

Okay, I hope this post helps you to cook pasta and do tell me if you see the difference! Tag me on instagram @nourishingnavita (Sophie Navita)


MATCHA: Not your everyday green tea.

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Not just your ordinary green tea. I take the time to write this, as I sip my warm Matcha Almond Milk with some strawberries. Bliss ❤️❤️

When it comes to buying matcha, it’s worth learning the real differences between a quality matcha and one that is just so-so.
We simply think that looking for matcha described as “Ceremonial Grade,” versus “Food Grade” or “Ingredient Grade,” ensures we are buying good matcha, right? Wrong. Here are my tips:

1. The more vibrant the green, the better the quality. This is because Matcha is grown in the shade, so the tea leaves are forced to OVERPRODUCE chlorophyll, hence the color. Lower quality matcha, tends to be made up of leaves that have not been properly shaded, or that may be older . More Chlorophyll, means nutrient dense to me:))

2. Higher quality grades deliver a smoother taste, a better mouth feel, and are generally less bitter. Why? Because high grade matcha contains L-Theanine. L- Theanine is an amino acid that gives matcha it’s nice clean taste and sweet smell. Low quality Matcha will have a bitter taste because it lacks the L- Theanine

3. Anything less than $30 per small tin is usually NOT high quality. I remember I got mine for $70 in a small but pretty tea store when I was visiting Canada, where the owner knew each and every tea she served from around the world, like a mother would know her child. Pricey! But worth every dollar. My matcha tastes SOOOOOO GOOD!

4. High quality grade Matcha powder is very fine and silky, imagine eye shadow! A lower-quality grade has a bigger particle size, which results in a coarser feel.

5. KNOW where your Matcha comes from. Yes JAPAN! China and Taiwan, also produce matcha, but believe me, not worth it. Also, in Japan itself, these two regions, Nishio city in Aishi and Uji City Kyoto, produce the best ones!

So I hope now you know, that going into your regular coffee shop to get a matcha tea or matcha latte, usually means you are getting a low grade one. This is because it wouldn’t make sense for your regular neighborhood coffee shop to sell high grade Matchas, then sell them for cheap.

My Matcha knowledge is purely through my observation, high intensity of travel, articles I’ve read and stories from sophisticated tea store owners who sell Matcha.

Last but not least, Make Your Matcha Right!
Add hot water to the powder and then whisk with a bamboo implement called a chasen. Proper whisking adds to the smoothness of the beverage. There should be no lumps on the side of the bowl.

I do not own a Chasen yet. I whisk mine with a battery operated frother. Hmm.. Probably high time I visited Japan just to buy a Chasen? 😁

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