10 Cooking Mistakes That Even the Most Experienced Chefs Make

10 Cooking Mistakes That Even the Most Experienced Chefs Make

The art of cooking is a challenge, as it requires a lot of skill, time, and focus. The ideal goal is to prepare a meal that delights the palate, does not stick to the bottom of the pan, and does not burn. Unfortunately, not all of us do well in the culinary arts, even if we try our best.

1. Cooking pasta in very little water.

Preparing pasta seems simple, but in reality, it is not. You have to consider some factors so that the cooking reaches the right point. For example, it is necessary to use a sufficient amount of water. Otherwise, the pasta may become too dry, caked, or stuck to the pot.

The solution to these potential problems is to calculate approximately four liters of water for half a kilo of dry pasta. Or, ensure that the water level is well above the pasta even when cooked.

2. Not considering the cooking times of each ingredient.

Before stewing, many of us start by sautéing the garlic, then the onion and other seasonings. Then we add the garnish or the higher protein foods. However, we are making a mistake: the garlic, for example, being in small pieces, cooks and even burns before we add the other ingredients.

It is, therefore, advisable to sauté the onion first and then the garlic before the other ingredients. On the other hand, as we gain experience, it is also convenient to learn which vegetables cook quickly and which take longer. This way, we will perfect the order in which we have to cook each ingredient.

3. Salting at the end and overdoing it.

In some old recipes, you could read, “Add salt to taste when done.” If we followed this advice, the food would probably be saltier in some parts than in others. We must also be careful not to add too much salt because it could spoil the dish.

The right thing to do is add the salt as we add the ingredients and taste from time to time. This way, we ensure that the flavor is absorbed and enhanced, but above all, it is uniform.

4. Breaking the eggs into the same container.

It is very common that when in a hurry, people break the eggs one after the other in the same container. But that could be a costly mistake. If one egg turns out to be spoiled, you’re running the risk of messing up all the others, or pieces of shell remain trapped inside the finished dish; you know how difficult it is to get them out later.

To avoid these risks, break the eggs into small bowls and put them together in a larger bowl before using them for cooking.

5. Using a spoon to disband ground meat.

It’s common to use a spoon to stir any dish; however, when it comes to ground meat, the process becomes slow and tedious. On the other hand, the meat may not be as separated as we would like it to be.

That is why it is advisable to use a potato masher to break the meat. Then, with a wooden spoon, you can scrape the remaining meat from the masher. This way, the meat will cook evenly.

6. Forgetting to have the ingredients prepared and chopped before starting to cook.

People often heat their frying pans while chopping the ingredients they will use. But that’s probably not the best way to do things. You can end messing up the recipe because when you finally cook the ingredients if they weren’t cut in the right order. The pan can be so hot that not only will you burn them, but also you may hardly have time to add other stuff such as seasoning or more ingredients.

The idea is not to have all the ingredients chopped before putting the pan on the fire, but prepping the ones you have to use first and then chop the rest while these cook.

7. Using a dull knife.

A dull knife is much more dangerous than it looks, as it can easily slip and damage meat or vegetables. Or injure your fingers.

The best thing to do, according to culinary expert Mark Bittmanes, is to have a sharpening tool on hand. And if this is not possible, find a specialized person who can fix your knives.

8. Ignoring the correct way to store avocado halves to keep them in good condition.

An old belief states that leaving the pit inside a halved avocado will prevent it from oxidizing and changing color. Unfortunately, this does not work. It is true that the pit helps slow down decay, but only of the parts around it; what is farther away turns dark anyway.

The truth is that we can’t stop avocados from oxidizing. But one way to delay the process is to spread a little olive oil on the part we didn’t eat and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This way, you’ll create a barrier preventing certain enzymes in the avocado from being released.

9. Overloading the frying pan or pot.

Although it seems obvious, we do not usually consider it very important to have enough space in the pot or pan. Overloading them can have several consequences. For example, the meat can become tightly packed and full of moisture. In addition, as the temperature drops, steam is generated; therefore, the food ends up cooking by boiling instead of browning or frying. On the other hand, it is difficult to stir the preparation so that it cooks evenly.

Therefore, a smaller amount of food in the pan is advisable. If we do not have a pan of adequate size, it is best to cook in parts. It is convenient to wrap or cover in aluminum foil what is being prepared to maintain the heat.

10. Not knowing the amount of flavor you can get from garlic.

Garlic is a condiment with a powerful smell and flavor, but few know that its flavor can change depending on how it is prepared. For example, if you grate it, the flavor will be more penetrating; if you chop it very finely, it will be easier to fry it, but you will also be able to take better advantage of its properties.

On the other hand, if you want to keep just a little hint of garlicky flavor, just add a few whole garlic cloves to the recipe.

Do you have any cooking tips that could help people avoid mistakes or make their lives easier?

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