Well, anyone can cook even those ones who have never picked a saucepan before. Whether you are an experienced cook or you are just starting out in the kitchen, the best way to keep on improving your cooking skills is to practice the art as frequently as possible. By following recipes to the latter and reading widely on tips about cooking, you will find that you are quickly gaining more experience and confidence.
Trying out a recipe and eventually feeling less satisfied with your food can sometimes be devastating. You are not the only one in that, even professional chefs sometimes fall victims of such. Nevertheless, perfecting your cooking skills should not be a hard nut to crack. It is generally about learning and internalizing the most important kitchen techniques. Here is a list of the five most common mistakes cooks tend to make in the kitchen and what you can do to avoid them. Check them out:
1. Not watching the pot
You may find that you often overcook the meat, burn onions or even worse end up with a sauce that is lumpy. This is probably your fault, because you may not be giving the task in hand the attention it deserves. It is very easy to be carried away when stressed, tired or when attending to other demands of the house or family. Try to always clear the kitchen of pets and kids if you can and if possible put on a little bit of tranquil music and shift your attention on what is on the stove! You can also use your cell phone timer or oven timer and set alarms as reminders. Additionally, clear up any mess you come across in the kitchen as you go so that you work in a clean and orderly place. You will be surprised at the big difference this will make.
2. Not following the recipe
Always go through the recipe and understand every step before you start cooking. Make sure that you have all the ingredients required on the countertop. There is nothing bad than going through the recipe half way and you find that you do not have an important ingredient! Use cups and metric measuring spoons to measure the quantities of the ingredients correctly. Later on you can increase some quantities or add new ingredients according to your preference.
3. Not tasting as you go
The only way you can perfect your knowledge on flavors is by tasting the food as you cook it. For instance when preparing stew, always taste it at every step. From the time you are frying the onions to the time when you will be adding the last portion of fresh herbs. This will be of immense help in assisting you correct any imbalances you get in the taste whether it is sweetness or little seasoning. Furthermore, this will also give you an insight of how each ingredient affects the flavors of a specific dish.
4. Not building depth of flavor
What makes the difference between a dish that is smackingly delicious and an okay dish is the depth of the flavor. The multi-layered complexity and wonderful taste you find in a good stew or curry is all as result of the depth of the flavor. There is a vast array of ways of flavoring a dish: You can use aromatics like carrots, onions, garlic and celery: Liquids such as lemon juice, soy sauce and wine: all sorts of good quality spices, fresh herbs and cautious seasoning. Stocks are also crucial for adding depth to the flavor of a dish however, they take long to make. This is why you will find Knorr stockpots being used often to add deep flavor to all kinds of meals.
5. Not correctly browning aromatic vegetables or meat
The sticky golden residue that usually collects at the bottom of the pan when frying foods such as chicken pieces, carrots, onions and meat cubes are usually full of flavor compounds. So, it is important that you caramelize them properly. If you take your time and do this, you will be amazed at the difference in flavor it will make on the final dish. Always wait until when the cooking pan is hot and good before you start to fry. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan since this may cause the food to stew or steam in its own juice. For instance when frying chicken pieces, make sure the skin of each of the pieces has a golden crust before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
These are just some of the more common missteps to try and avoid. Amateur cooks like you and me often lose track of what we do in the kitchen because we often have kids to keep an eye on as well as the normal distractions. But some simple keys to keep in mind while cooking can make a world of difference. We can also learn from others who are more skilled than we are. For recipes and other kitchen advice there are a wealth of quality cooking sites that can help us greatly improve our skills in the kitchen.