A lot goes into work before a meal is plated. But if you find your creations bland, too salty, or inedible, these 12 cooking rules can help you become a more skilled home cook.
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Use Lemon Juice or Vinegar
“Many times, people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat. But what it really needs is an acid like lemon juice or vinegar,” notes a poster. Alternatively, you can add tomatoes, which are also acidic and blend well with many dishes or buttermilk.
If the food gets too acidic, adding oil or butter and a little sugar can achieve the right balance.
You Can Always Add, but You Cannot Take Away
This rule is especially true with seasonings and flavors. Under-seasoning is much better than over-seasoning. Users also mention, “You can always cook it a little longer, but can’t uncook something.”
Tell People You’re Behind
Clear communication in the kitchen can prevent cuts, spills, and burns and should be a rule in every home.
Hotter Doesn’t Mean Faster
Also, cranking your burners to the highest cooking temperatures doesn’t mean your food will cook faster. Instead, it “will lead to smoke and half-cooked food with a burned exterior.”
Let the Pan Get Hot Enough
And while high heat is discouraged, tossing ingredients in a cold pan ruins a meal. “You will never get a good sear when your ingredients are basically boiling in their own moisture,” notes a cook. So, “Get the pan hot, then add your oil, let it get hot, then toss your food in.”
Always Taste Whatever You’re Cooking
This is because you want to improve or balance your flavors before plating. For instance, if you notice the food is bland, you’ll add salt, spices, or herbs.
“Also, don’t be afraid to poke and prod at it. People think the process is sacred, and you can’t shape, flip, feel, or touch things while cooking. But the more hands-on, the more control you have,” shares a home cook.
Don’t Rely on a Single Recipe
The internet has too many recipes; relying on just one can be disastrous. So, read a few, but choose the one that feels right. Also, read the comments section for suggestions for suitable substitute ingredients.
Let Meat Rest After Cooking
Letting meat rest allows it to cook evenly on the inside and the muscle fibers to reabsorb the internal juices, making your dish more delicious.
Never Add Dry Cornstarch to Hot Liquid
You want to avoid this because cornstarch clumps in hot liquids, and stirring doesn’t make a difference. Prep beforehand by adding cornstarch to cold water, stir, and mix, then add this mixture to your dish.
Always Salt Your Pasta Water
Salted pasta water also makes a huge difference in your dishes. “When you salt the pasta water, the pasta itself is infused with salt,” says a user.
Don’t Use Wet Towels
You might think, “If I wet a towel, the water will negate the heat.” However, water conducts heat, and you are more likely to burn yourself using a wet towel than a dry one.
A poster explains, “The water just heats up to the point it can turn into steam, and then instead of holding a towel, you’re holding a towel that is just as burning hot as what’s inside the pot.”
Never Put Out a Grease or Oil Fire With Water
Instead, cover the pan to cut off the oxygen supply or add baking soda to the fire. The bicarbonate in the baking soda releases carbon dioxide when heated, acting as a retardant. Also, don’t add flour to a fire, as its small particles can explode.
Source: Online Forum
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