The Most Important Chef Tip for Working with Sticky Foods

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

This tip is short and sweet but will change how you prep some foods for life.

Repeatedly, when I was working with any type of stickiness on my hands, the chef made a note to wet my hands before touching it as to prevent sticking.

For recipes like matzo balls, falafel, meatballs, and potato pancakes, using wet hands to roll into shapes worked to prevent any from clumping into large globs on my fingers.

Fill a medium bowl with water to repeatedly dip your hands in to prevent sticking, or do as I do and keep the kitchen faucet on while you’re prepping the food.

Cooking Secrets from Immigrant Kitchens

While working on my latest cookbook, Queens: A Culinary Passport, I chatted with cooks and chefs from diverse ethnic backgrounds (Himalayan, Cuban, Cypriot, Szechuan, and more). As I learned how to replicate their dishes in my own kitchen, I amassed a slew of tips from them that I began using in my everyday cooking life.