Whether you’re a regular home cook or a casual hobbyist, mistakes happen in the kitchen. But there’s no need to panic as there’s often a simple solution. We’ve gathered 6 quick fixes for common cooking mishaps and some tips on how to avoid them in the future.
You’ve added too much salt
If you’ve over-salted a soup or a dish with gravy tastes too salty for your liking, simply dilute it with some water, low-sodium stock or a little sugar. You can ladle out some of the liquid to keep the same consistency and adjust seasoning accordingly.
On a similar note, you can also turn to dairy by adding cream to suitable dishes. For example, a salty chicken stew can be transformed into a creamy chicken stew. If it’s a dry dish, you can mask the saltiness with a touch of acidity by adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a few drops of vinegar.
Your dish came out too sour
Besides diluting the recipe, the best way to counterbalance acidic ingredients is to add some sweetness. You can use sugar, honey, fruits, or condiments, like caramelised onions. For really severe case, you can add a pinch of baking soda as a last resort to alkalinise the dish, but don’t add too much as the taste of baking soda can be unpleasant.
Your chicken is still raw in the middle
The obvious solution is to keep cooking, but the key is doing it right, so you don’t dry out the meat. Once you cut into the chicken, a lot of its juices would have already been lost, so it’s important to do some damage control by searing it on the cut side to seal it up.
A possible way to avoid this mistake is to invest in a meat thermometer – it should measure 75°C in the thickest part of the thigh or breast.
You can’t achieve a nice sear on your steak
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to salvage the steak, except cutting it into strips and adding it to a stir-fry. However, there are plenty of ways you can ensure your next attempt would be successful. Here are the three basic steps to getting the perfect crust on steaks: get your meat to room temperature before cooking, make sure your pan is hot, and pat your steak dry.
To help you develop more confidence in handling steaks, start with the less expensive but equally tasty skirt steak, which is much more forgiving, before graduating to fancier cuts, like tenderloin.
You’ve burned your dish
If it’s only burnt on the outside, you can scrape off the charred surface with a knife or cut off blackened edges. If you’re still cooking your dish, switch it over to a new pot to mellow out the burnt odour. You can add peeled potatoes to burnt soups and stews to absorb the odour. Alternatively, tinker with the flavour by adding vinegar or spices to mask the taste.
To avoid future mishaps, make your dishes to continue cooking in your Thermos® Shuttle Chef® as its reinforced base ensures that food does not get overcooked or burned.
Your melted chocolate is crumbly
Even for seasoned home cooks who are confident enough to work with chocolate, things can still go wrong. If your melted cocoa starts to lump together into a dry mess when you stir it, it’s simple because it has come into contact with water. As counterintuitive as it sounds, all you need to do is add a bit of boiling water at a time to smoothen it out. Unfortunately, you will not be able to temper it or use it as a coating anymore, but it is still perfectly good for most baking needs.
Next time be doubly sure your hands and tools are completely dry before working with chocolate.