As a child, you knew yelling “Mom, I’m hungry” was a foolproof way of getting something delicious to eat. But now you live on your own and have to take charge of your own meals. And even the best PG for boys and girls in Karol Bagh might not always come close to your mum’s recipes. Or perhaps you do like the fare but sleeping through the breakfast service means you now have to make yourself a snack.

Or maybe you’re trying to perfect your culinary skills now that you’re an adult living on your own. Whatever the case may be, you’ve now been spending some time in the kitchen. But how good of a cook are you really? Would your culinary creations live up to MasterChef standards? Or are you still a novice with a long road to travel? If you want to reach your goal of culinary perfection, here are some of the common slip-ups that you need to stop making.

You overcrowd the pan

How many times have you tried to do a quick stir fry, only to notice there’s a lot of water at the bottom of your pan and your ingredients have gone soggy instead of crisp? If this happens quite frequently when you cook, you’re guilty of overcrowding the pan. In order to fry something until it crisps up, you need to give it enough space to make direct contact with the pan.

That means your ingredients need to be in a single layer so that the maximum surface area can turn golden and delicious. If you crowd the pan or add too many things in at once, the ingredients will clump together and bring down the overall temperature, leading to the formation of steam (and sogginess).

You save the seasoning till the end

We blame too many years in college eating instant noodles for this basic mistake. If you cook your meals and save seasoning them with salt, pepper or other spices till the very end, you’re not getting the most out of your dish. In order to get the true flavour and fragrance of your spices, it’s important to add them to the hot oil at the start of the cooking process.

The oil and the heat allow them to release their flavour and adding them, in the beginning, will ensure that they are absorbed by all the ingredients while you cook. And when it comes to salt and pepper, season every layer as you go, rather than all at the end. It’ll lead to a better balance in flavours and ensure that you don’t end up under-seasoning or overseasoning your food.

You use dried or old herbs

Yes, we know that there are several kitchen items that you can use beyond an expiry date but unfortunately, herbs aren’t one of them. Dried herbs just don’t have the potency and strong flavour of fresh ones, even before their expiry dates. Using old herbs in your dish won’t actually add any flavour but using fresh ones can elevate your dish completely.

And fresh herbs are quite inexpensive, so you can easily buy some fresh coriander, mint, basil and thyme when you need it or even grow an indoor herb garden. Trust us, once you’ve tried fresh herbs you’ll never turn to the dried stuff again.

You skip the long waits

Cooking is all about patience. A lot of recipes involve stages of long intervals between steps. You need to proof your bread dough, rest your meat, marinate your ingredients, slow cook your stew or chill your dessert. And if you try to skip these waiting stages, you just won’t get the results you want.

Because each of these waiting stages has an impact on the texture and flavour profile of your food. Proving a yeasted dough will develop its gluten and lead to a better crumb texture in the bread, just as marinating your meat will make it tender and juicy when it is cooked. Skipping out on time will lead to skipping out on quality.

You don’t read the full recipe

We get it. Most of the meals you enjoy in your Stanza Living residence are healthy and delicious treats cooked up by professional chefs. So, when you do eventually venture into the kitchen to try your hand at cooking, you could be out of practice. But not reading a recipe in its entirety before you start cooking is a huge no-no.

The last thing you want to do is start your prep only to realise you had to marinate your ingredients the previous night or chill your cheesecake for eight hours. Nor do you want to realise halfway through the dish that you don’t have any of the remaining ingredients. Read your recipe carefully (perhaps even multiple times) before you start, to avoid any errors.

These are the five most common cooking mistakes that home cooks tend to make. How many have you been guilty of? Well, now that you’ve learnt what not to do, you’re on the right track to achieving your culinary goals. So, get cooking! Visit Technos Daily again to read more relevant articles.

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