10 Cooking Mistakes We Often Make Without Noticing
Are you more of a skilled cook, or more like the kind of person who blames the stove when things go wrong? If you chose the second option, you should know that you are not alone. Often, habit, speed, or even some myths that we have believed when it comes to preparing something, makes your dishes not as tasty as you expected.
But since at Bright Side we’re really into food, we wanted to lend you a helping hand even if we know that sometimes culinary habits are hard to change. So we came up with a list of the most common mistakes people make when cooking. Take a look and let us know what you think!
1. Cooking meat fresh from the freezer.
It’s very common to see people taking a piece of meat out of the freezer and putting it on the fire, in the oven, or on the grill. This is a big mistake, since the meat, although it may appear to be cooked on the outside, will be raw on the inside. It is advisable to take the meat out of the freezer the night before you want to cook it. You can place it in the fridge up to 24 hours before cooking so it has all the time it needs to defrost.
2. Using the same knife to cut all foods.
Those who think they are saving work by using a single knife to prepare any dish are wrong. Using the right knife for each cut makes the whole process easier and faster. To cut meat, opt for a large knife; for vegetables, fruits, and even boning poultry, opt for a small knife; for cutting bread, a serrated knife is ideal.
3. Stirring fresh-made rice.
Sometimes less is more. Well, to see how it is or even to taste it, some people make the mistake of stirring the rice but the only thing they achieve is to leave it even wetter. This is because the simple fact of stirring the rice releases starch, and also the grain breaks.
So, to keep it loose, you should avoid stirring it while cooking. On the other hand, you should use the right amount of water — generally one cup of water for every 1/2 cup rice, depending on the type of grain — and wait for the cooking time without stirring it, that is, an average of 15 to 25 minutes for white rice, and about 45 minutes for brown rice.
4. Slicing your steak as soon as it’s ready.
In addition to seasoning the meat as soon as we take it out of the refrigerator, another very common mistake is to cut it as soon as it is finished roasting. It is recommended to let it rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven or fire since the heat inside the meat helps it to finish cooking and guarantees it’s juicy.
5. Using the wrong type of oil.
Not all cooking oils are the same. Some are perfect for frying and sautéing, while others take on a rancid flavor if used at high temperatures. Pure olive oil is darker in color and stronger in flavor and is ideal for preparing sauces and sautéing at low temperatures. However, it’s not the best to use for temperatures higher than 375ºF (191ºC).
Vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil, are best suited for frying, roasting, and baking. Corn oil is softer and is used for baking, roasting, and deep-frying. Canola oil derives from the rapeseed plant and can be used for baking, grilling, stir-frying, and searing.
6. Placing the ingredients in the saucepan while it’s still cold.
Another common mistake is to put the food in the pan when it is still cold, which makes it absorb more fat. The ideal is always to heat the utensils first, put oil in and, while it is heating, add the ingredients. You can wait 2-3 minutes until the pan is hot.
7. Not tasting the food during preparation.
There’s nothing wrong with tasting the food while you’re cooking, as long as there are ideal hygienic conditions. It’s important to check if the dressing is good, or if the meat, pasta, or whatever you are preparing, is at the right point and texture. This allows you to avoid mistakes and gives you time to correct and fix your recipe.
8. Adding oil (any oil) to the water in which you are going to cook pasta.
This is a myth that needs to be debunked right away. Adding oil to the pasta water not only does not prevent the dough from sticking to the pan, but it can also make the pasta heavier, making it harder for the sauce to stick. This is because the fat does not mix with the water.
9. Discarding the water in which the pasta is cooked.
We usually throw away the water in which the pasta was cooked. This is a big mistake, because this water is used to make the sauce more consistent and tasty. It is therefore recommended to transfer this liquid to a container and mix it with the sauce, which will become thicker.
10. Cutting the onion in the wrong way.
Do you get teary-eyed just thinking about slicing onions? This happens when we cut it into slices, thus breaking its cells, and causing it to release gases that, when combined with tears, cause burning eyes.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this: slice it with a sharp knife following the direction of the onion’s fibers. That’s the stripes that run from the root to the stem. The ideal is to cut it into strips (julienne). This will guarantee less production of irritating aerosols.
Do you know any other cooking tips to make your dishes tastier? Don’t hesitate to share them with us here in the comments section!