Is writing a recipe for a cookbook or a food blog an easy task? If you say yes, this is how you will write a recipe – list the ingredients and write the recipe steps.
If you think that writing a recipe is not an easy task, and you need to learn “How to write a recipe” then you are going to read a lot in next few weeks to really acquire the art of writing a perfect recipe.
Earning from your food blog is the rage in food industry but its an art which involves the technicality of SEO and if you are not able to earn then don’t blame SEO (Search engine optimisation ) as
Before you learn the art of Search engine optimisation (We are also sharing SEO tips weekly) you need to learn “How to write a recipe”.
Here are the 7 most important steps which you can’t ignore if you want to “write a recipe” on your Food blog perfectly for your foodie readers.
- Research and Draft your recipe
- Know your Audience
- Ingredients of the recipe
- Measurement and precision of the recipe
- Steps involved / Method/ process to make the
- Description of the recipe
- Notes/Tips/ Mistakes
- Food Images/ food Photography
- Credit to the recipe owner.
And We would be writing about each of these important Steps for the next 9 weeks so that you can improve on “Recipe writing”. If you like what we are sharing do comment and if you have questions – Again Comment and ask…We will help you.
Here is the TIP for Week # 1
Research and draft your recipe – Here is the most important and most ignored step.
The moment you decide to make “Chicken Recipe” you just rush to your kitchen and put oil in the pan. Hold on, Its time to research and find what other recipe bloggers have to say. Do your research to find out –
a) What tips and tricks and cooking techniques are involved,
b) Are there any special ingredients which you need to buy?
c) Always keep an old-fashioned recipe card or recipe cookbook for yourself. Note down what others, who have already tried that recipe have to say about it.
d) Prepare the draft in your own words. Imagine yourself cooking the ingredients (Sounds like a movie) and then write it down because when you enter the kitchen and make the recipe, you are actually testing it and then tasting it for the first time.
You will find your own mistakes if you have already written the recipe and are exactly following it.
A lot of Home chefs/Chef/Food bloggers first make a recipe and then write about it. Most of the time when you make a recipe and click pictures a lot of time is spent in completing these two activities. And usually the writing part is postponed for the next day. There is a huge possibility that one might not remember about minor measurements like – 2 tablespoons or 3 tablespoons of oil that you used. And that makes a huge difference for a perfect recipe.
“Research| Draft| Test| Taste – Repeat (The Best recipes are tried several times before they come out).”
Here is the TIP for Week # 2
Know your Audience – When you think of the recipe, think of your audience for whom you are going to make the recipe.
a) Is the recipe for busy parents then it has to be few ingredients, within 10 minutes, eg Casserole recipe.
b) Is it for Vegan then check the non-dairy substitute.
c)If the recipe is for fussy eaters then it has to be visually appealing.
d) If its a bachelor recipe it has to be very easy and simple.
e) If your recipe is traditional and authentic then don’t think it will target a college-going student. In this case, your audience is professionals or expert cooks. Always consider your audience on these 3 parameters –
a) Budget constraints,
b) Time constraint
c) Access to special ingredients.
So next time when you decide to make a recipe think about your audience and then write for them and not to boost your ego.
Here is the TIP for Week # 3 –
List your Ingredients-
Ingredients, which you need to put in the recipe should be in your pantry and if not then you need to buy them before starting a recipe. When you draft your recipe for the first time think about all the possible ingredients and how much would each of the ingredient be required. Doing so will help you to plan well in advance. and you don’t have to run to the supermarket as 1 teaspoon of baking soda is less for the cake. Few pointer to ponder –
a) Seasonal Ingredients – Make seasonal recipes because if you make a recipe for which procuring the ingredients are difficult at that particular time of the year, there are chances that people might read your recipe but never try it. e.g. if you make a Winter Squash soup in summers you lose your audience. Similarly, Christmas cookies and plum cakes are more popular during Christmas holidays rather than summer holidays.
b) Put ingredient in order of use – For a Pizza recipe, the most important step is making pizza dough and the first ingredient to be used is all-purpose flour. Put ingredients in the same way as you are going to use it while making it. More volume of ingredient goes first followed by lesser volume. Why? It helps your reader.
e.g Wrong – 1 tsp baking soda
1 Cup of All-purpose flour
Right – 1 Cup of All-purpose Flour
1 tsp baking soda.
c) Measurement of ingredients -Do not assume that your audience will know the measurement of the ingredients. Most of the recipes have “Salt to taste” option but imagine a bachelor who is not a great cook. Telling a measurement would help. “Oil for deep frying” the amount can completely vary based on the pan size. So specify it. Always put the measurement.
d) Abbreviation verses full word – Chuck “tsp” and “tbsp”. Use tablespoon and teaspoon. It helps!! While your reader is busy checking the ingredients, Its good to help him with the full word because if not read properly then it can spoil the whole recipe. Take some pain to write the complete word because if you care about your recipe then the world will also do.
e) List the Ingredients separately if required – if a recipe has three procedure, list the ingredients separately under subtopics. eg How to make Homemade pizza involves – How to make pizza dough, how to make pizza sauce and how to add toppings to pizza then list the ingredients as. –
Ingredients for Pizza dough,
Ingredients for Pizza sauce,
Ingredients for Pizza toppings.
f) Use the word divided – if you are listing an ingredient only once but it is used again and again in separate steps use the word divided. eg in the Pizza recipe, “3 tablespoon salt” divided means it will be used several times in the recipe.
g) Find the English word – Traditional recipes might have ingredients which are not known to the audience. Don’t use the local word. Google the English word. Use Google translate app. Use the terminology which is universally accepted.
h) A simple prerequisite in the ingredient list – Simple steps like boiled and peeled potatoes, finely chopped onion, grated ginger, deseed tomatoes can be included in the ingredient list itself.
i) One standard measurement – use one standard of measurement, don’t mix cups and grams.eg wrong – 1 cup all-purpose flour, 100 gram of sugar.
Right – 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup of Sugar.
j) Mention the optional or wishful ingredients – If a particular wine or cheese is used in a recipe which is not easily available everywhere, find a substitute for the ingredient. eg Is there a Vegan substitute? Is there a healthy substitute eg Sugar can be replaced by jaggery. Mention that. If the ingredient is optional eg pecan in a cake is an added ingredient but not really required. Mark it optional.
Here is the TIP for Week # 4 :
Measurement, precision and Time – If a cake is baked for 30 minutes whereas the actual recipe just needs 25 minutes. You burn the cake. If 1 tablespoon of baking soda is used instead of 1 teaspoon you spoil the cake. If the sponge cake is not exactly spongy then you cannot call it the sponge cake.
So Measurement in the case of ingredients, Precision, and accuracy in case of doneness and time required to perform a step is really important for a successful tried and tested recipe. eg, while you bake a bread, mixing the yeast in lukewarm water, shows the precision that water has to be lukewarm and not hot. Measurement of water temperature and the amount of yeast is required. Also, the time of how long the yeast has to be kept is equally important.
Few rules –
a) Always provide measurement in one measurement system. Don’t mix
b) Timing includes
Preparation time – The time when you are mixing the ingredients.
Resting time – When the dish is almost ready but it needs a standing or resting time or
when the ingredients need to rest for sometime before
Prerequisite time – Time involved in soaking etc.
Cooking time – When the Dish is actually cooking, steaming, baking etc.
Time needs to be mentioned in each step with full precision. Calculate the time properly and mention it.
e.g. Saute the vegetables for 2 minutes.
Bake the cake for 25 minutes and let it stand in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Put the Cake tin on the cooling rack for 10 minutes and then put it in the fridge for 1 hour before applying chocolate ganache.
Watch out this space for the next tip which would share next week, Happy Cooking and Happy recipe Writing.