Growing up I often asked my dad for tips that would help me improve my cooking. And you know what he always told me?
Not to spend hours chopping onions to perfect my knife skills but to always focus on getting the seasoning right.
He said it is easily the biggest game-changing skill when it comes to cooking.
Sometimes, we spend hours in the kitchen cooking what we hope will be an amazing meal, and then the seasoning is wrong.
Fortunately, a lot of seasoning mistakes can be fixed. It is all about understanding flavours and balance.
There are five basic tastes: salt, sweet, bitter, sour and umami, or savoury. A good dish will have a balance of these.
If you go overboard or underboard on one flavour, it can be balanced by another. So before you throw your dish away, try to fix the mistake.
Below we look at three of the most common mistakes and how to fix them.
Is the food too salty?
Try lemon and lime. The acidic flavours of lemon or limes can revive a dish. You can use these zesty citrus flavours while you’re cooking or once your meal is cooked.
You can squeeze them over fish, chicken, or vegetables. Or use herbs.
Herbs can help boost the flavours of your dish, so you can skip the salt.
You can toss fresh herbs like parsley or basil into a salad along with the greens.
By this, you can use less salty salad dressings. You can even avoid cooking with salt.
Too much salt is not a good thing for anyone’s health, but too little salt is not a good thing for a dish.
Salt has the ability to bring out the best flavour in any food. You need to taste the food and decide for yourself if it could taste better by adding more salt.
Is the food too sweet?
You can add spices. This works best while cooking curries and soups, you can add spices to balance out the sweetness of the dish.
Moreover, the spice can not only balance out but also amplify the taste of the delicacy. However, begin with adding a small quantity and then add some more.
Is the food too sour?
The best way to counterbalance too much sour is to add sweet, salty, or savoury flavours. You can add vegetables to the dish.
Chop up a potato and a carrot. They will absorb that sour taste while adding nutrients to your plate.
Cheese is also a good balancer. The calcium in cheese reacts to acidic vinegar or lemon juice.
This originally appeared on IOL