When we cook, we have this tendency to skip out on some ingredients of the recipe, thinking we know better. In actuality, we are already committing a cooking mistake unless we know what you’re doing. Ultimately, it then leads to our food tasting a little…different.
Cooking itself is a skill that everyone can have, but not everyone can master. Amateur and novice home cooks are aware that there is a particular art to creating food. This is evident especially when we cook something from a restaurant as the taste differs. Despite acknowledging that not everyone is a master chef, we can at least improve ourselves in our little ways. We can forego some habits we do, which may lead to a quality change in our food.
We present you with our 5 common mistakes to avoid in a kitchen. Correcting these mistakes will lead you to become a better home chef, a step at a time.
Overusing a Non-stick Pan
We all love a good non-stick pan. Food doesn’t stick on them and it’s easy to clean so what’s not to love about them?
But like everything else, the non-stick pan has its weaknesses when using it. The first downside is that it can’t sear things well enough instead of other pans. This lack of heat conduction is because the non-stick pans can’t get as hot as other pans. This setback means that you won’t get that beautiful seer for your steak when cooking for your dinner date. Another disadvantage is that the non-stick layer of your non-stick pan can get eroded by acidic foods.
Using Dull Knives
Contrary to what people may think, sharp knives are safer than dull knives in the kitchen. The reason is that dull knives require more pressure to cut. When you apply that added pressure and the knife slips, you may cut yourself.
A sharp knife is preferable in a kitchen. A sharp knife requires lesser force and has a lesser chance of slipping and cutting your fingers. Now it goes without saying that we should keep any knife (dull or sharp) out of reach for children. Any kitchen tool that has a pointy edge can harm children so keep those away from them.
Throwing Pasta Water
When boiling pasta, you might think you have to discard all the water. Throwing away your pasta water is a wrong move.
Your pasta water is key to making a creamy and smooth pasta sauce. Your pasta water contains starch, and this starchy water helps the pasta bind with the sauce. This results in smooth, creamy, and delicious pasta and doesn’t make your pasta look dry.
Overflipping or Overmixing our Food
When cooking our food, we tend to get very anxious about whether the food’s cooked or not. This is another common mistake we must avoid as over-flipping or over mixing can disturb the cooking temperature.
Take pancakes for example. You’d get so anxious about it overcooking so you’d end up flipping only to see a pale brown side. You can flip it again, but its coloration will be slightly off already. Just leave a solid few minutes or so, depending on the instructions of your cookbook, then flip/mix. That way, you wouldn’t get undercooked or an uneven-textured pancake or whatever food.
Adding Ingredients Without Pre-heating the Pan
Warming up our pans to a specific heat is always the go-to when cooking. We cook using a pre-heated pan, not an unheated one, as it can affect how our food turns out.
For example: when cooking stir-fry vegetables, we want to have an evenly heated pan. Adding ingredients to an unheated pan would result in a mushy and soggy-looking stir-fry. No one likes mushy and soggy stir-fry.
When it comes down to cooking mistakes, we believe you have to work on these five first. Working on these five mistakes will give you a solid foundation to make you a better home cook.