Common Cooking Mistakes
Cooking is fun and all - however, even if you have the best ingredients available and all the tools you need to make a great meal, a few missteps along the way can make all the difference. From the waiting time before serving to utilize the space on your pan, here are some of the common rookie mistakes people make while cooking.
Crowding the Pan
As Redditor Dbaofdoom pointed out, crowding the pan is often one of the most common mistakes people make in the kitchen. Reason? When you're frying or sauteing, you have to reserve enough room on the pan for the moisture to escape, otherwise, you're simply steaming the room and won't get that nice, seared brown.
No Metal Utensils on Non-stick Pans
One of the most overlooked inventions from the last century, non-stick pans, made our life much easier and allows easy and effective cooking. However, as Redditor Emathis29 pointed out, do not use metal utensils on non-stick surfaces, as they will scratch the coating, rendering the pan useless after a while. Well, you can always go for cast iron pan and not having to worry about it.
Cold Oil While Frying
While fried food might not be the healthiest out there, it is hard to resist a bucket of fried chicken wings sometimes. However, should you decided to do that at home, make sure the oil is hot enough when you're frying something, as Redditor PutYourSeriousFaceOn pointed out. If the oil is not hot enough, the food is simply soaking up the oil; alternatively, having the oil too hot can burn the food too. Make sure the temperature is just right before dropping the food into the frying oil.
Get Everything Ready Before Cooking
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, this is a mistake we often make when we're in a hurry, by cooking different things at the same time while preparing other ingredients. As Redditor HorribleTroll pointed out, "Don’t turn on any heat (except for perhaps preheating a grill or oven) until everything is chopped or otherwise prepared to go in. It might take a little more time to cook this way than flying by the seat of your pants trying to stir fry and chop the next ingredient at the same time, but you’re going to end up with more consistent and balanced cooking if you plan it out first."
If you do not season your food in general, you most definitely should - this is where you get the taste from. While this sounds like common sense, a lot of people don't pay attention to seasoning in general. Another issue is insufficient seasoning, giving the food a plain and bland taste. Oh, and on that note: taste the food as you go, and make sure the taste is just right before serving.
Using Dull Knives
Yes, a dull knife probably still cuts, but you end up spending way more time cutting than cooking - also, preparing ingredients with a dull knife also gives them an inconsistent texture, which might not be something you want. If you feel like the knife is not cutting through properly, consider sharpening your knife, perhaps.
Moving the Food Around While Searing
Want that crispy brown sear on your steak? Stop moving the steak around! To get a good sear, it goes without saying that the pan has to be hot enough, but it also has to stay in the same spot for some time for the heat to do its trick. So next time when you're searing your food, just let it sit there for a while.
Walking Away While Cooking
Yes, as Redditor leftisrt pointed out, don't leave the stove unattended when you're cooking. We probably think it's alright if we just walk away for a minute or two while cooking, but more often than not, that minute or two turned into 10 minutes or longer after a few YouTube videos. Then we come back to the kitchen and discover the food was burnt, leaving a lingering smell in the kitchen. Seriously, do not leave the stove unattended.
Not Cooking the Ingredients Separately When Needed
We all want to finish cooking as soon as we can so we can savor the food as soon as possible. However, there are some steps we should not try and skip - especially if the recipe calls for cooking the ingredients separately. As Redditor DerHoggenCatten pointed out, this step is essential in developing the flavor, especially for things like soups and curries.
Inadequate Heat Level
This is a skill that is acquired over time, understanding the needed temperature for different dishes. However, you should follow the recipe if it calls for certain temperatures for certain ingredients. Take meat as an example, as Redditor stereoroid pointed out - too much heat can burn it on the outside and leave it raw on the inside, while the lack of heat will not give you sear, and it would take way longer to cook.
Let the Meat Rest!
Now, you took your steak off the pan and cut it open; all the juice comes squirting out... sounds good, right? No, it doesn't, as you are supposed to leave the meat cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving in order to preserve the juice, as Redditor Gemmabeta pointed out. If you really want to savor that juicy piece of meat, let it rest for some time first.
Using a Small Pot to Boil Pasta
Redditor avlas claims that he's from Italy, and he has something to say about making pasta. One of the points he made regarding pasta is the pot you use to boil the pasta - make sure it is big enough with sufficient water. While a smaller pot comes to a boil much faster, it might not hold enough water for the pasta.
Let Cool Before Decorating Cupcakes
Baking is fun, and you should definitely try it if you haven't already. However, here's a tip from Redditor Akitiki regarding decorating cupcakes/other stuff - let it cool down first before you start decorating, or else the icing will melt and it will look entirely different than what you might have expected.
Taste as You Cook
As a cook, it is also important to taste the food as you cook, as Redditor Werealldudesyea pointed out. Cooking is a trial and error process sometimes, and it is important to understand what works and what doesn't. By tasting as you're cooking, you can tell the difference between the amount of seasoning you put inside, and the combinations of various spices. You'll begin to understand what works and what doesn't.
Overcooking Scrambled Eggs
For a lot of people this might appear as common sense, but some people still turn the heat all the way up while making scrambled eggs. To achieve that creaminess, make sure you turn the heat down instead while making scrambled eggs so that it is not overcooked. On that note: take it off the pan as soon as you can after you're done cooking, as the heat from the pan will keep cooking it if you don't take it off the pan.
Here are some of the common cooking mistakes people make - we hope you learned something new today. Did you know any of these before? Or have you made any of the mistakes above? If you know someone who enjoys cooking, why not share this with them?