Help, I ruined dinner! Here’s what to do.

by Kyla Van Heerden

How not to ruin a meal!

Reading the recipe completely is by far the number one rule of cooking! This may seem like a mundane task, but you’ll be so thankful you took the time to do it.

A few common cooking mistakes we make

• Packing your pans to the brim

• Improper preparation

• Adding food and other ingredients too early

• Going rogue

• Overcook or undercook

How to correct a mistake in a recipe

Add something to it. Salt is the most common solution as it enhances the flavours you already have. However, you can also add sweetness, spice, acid, or whatever flavour you’re trying to make the focus of your dish.

Adding herbs and spices to fix the flavour can also potentially save the meal.

Too saltyLet’s dismiss what doesn’t work, which is throwing a potato into the dish to soak up the extra salt. Instead, simply add more of everything else. If its soup, add more liquid and if it’s a stew, add more vegetables or meat. Once the salt is diluted, your dish should be back on track.

Too sourIngredients containing lots of acid like tomatoes, vinegar and wine require a bit of sugar or cream. As a last resort, you can add a bit of baking soda to make the dish more alkaline – not too much since baking soda can be off-putting.

Too sweetAdd a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to a dish that is too sweet. Even a pinch of salt will round off those sweet flavours.

Too bitterSometimes, certain spices can make your dish a bit bitter. Add a spoonful of sugar, cream, or butter to tame that bitterness.

Too blandAdd a pinch of salt because salt enhances the flavours of other spices and herbs. For sour notes to the dish, you can add a bit of vinegar. Remember, with dried herbs and spices, a little goes a long way.

Too spiceyFresh cream or butter reduces spiciness in food. A pinch of sugar is also effective.

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