Common home cooking mistakes that are easily avoidable

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 18 Aug, 2022 12:00 | 3 mins read
A person adding spices into a cooking pot. PHOTO/Pexels

Given the recent hike in food prices, for some Kenyans, this means that cooking is no longer something they would just enjoy exploring.

Why do you ask? First, the price of cooking flour is double what was a few months earlier, just do some math, it means for you to continue practising your culinary skills, you will require many ingredients.

In short, you will need to make a whole investment just so you enjoy a delicious meal. Let’s agree that cooking isn’t hacks that make you a better cook, it’s experience.

A group of women cooking outdoors. PHOTO/Pexels
A group of women cooking outdoors. PHOTO/Pexels

So what are some common cooking mistakes that you should be keen on moving forward? Check out them below:

Stirring much too often

You probably wonder why restaurant food looks so good and still yummy, one hack is that they avoid over-stirring food. Usually, in a restaurant kitchen, there are many things going on at the same time and you can’t be standing there focused on one pot. The result is invariably superior to standing over something.

Adding ingredients from afar

Being scared of sputtering of hot oil and hence, adding vegetables from far away. It is going to splutter more if you do so. Therefore, add the vegetables or cooking ingredients as near as possible

Cooking eggs right after getting them out of the fridge

They need to come to room temperature before you cook them. Otherwise, let’s say you are making egg fry it is going to stick to the pan a lot and it will not cook well.

A chef preparing a meal. PHOTO/Pexels
A chef preparing a meal. PHOTO/Pexels

Not kneading the wheat dough well

For soft chapatis, the secret is in kneading it with an adequate amount of water. I also add a tiny amount of milk cream, the top layer of milk till the dough is non-sticky and soft.

Crowding pans

Home cooks typically put far too much food in a single pan for their wimpy home stove to handle. Use multiple pans to scale things up. Your stove is not capable of delivering enough heat to sear 5 kilograms of meat at one time.

Relying on bottled sauces and manufactured products

Although a lot of bad restaurants also do that these days, nothing will ruin your food.

Various cooking ingredients on the kitchen table. PHOTO/Pexels
Various cooking ingredients on the kitchen table. PHOTO/Pexels

Following the recipe of an unqualified person

That could be a celebrity’s book or someone on YouTube who presents themselves as qualified. About 95% of the videos on YouTube and other online sources are laughably bad to any actual professional.

Failing to try and improve

This is like someone who learned to fingerpaint in kindergarten and continues to be proud of that as an adult. Something to remember: Narcissism is the enemy of progress. I’ve been cooking every day for half a century, and I still find ways to improve constantly.

Using little, to no fat while cooking

Failing to use enough butter or fat because you are trying to be healthy. Fat is flavour. If you want tasty restaurant food, don’t scrimp on the fat, be it butter, oil, mayonnaise, or anything else.

Two ladies preparing ingredients for a meal. PHOTO/Pexels
Two ladies preparing ingredients for a meal. PHOTO/Pexels

Understanding what knives to use

You can spend a fortune on a knife and while you get what you pay for to an extent you don’t need to spend a lot of money. You also don’t need fifty billion types.

You can work with a chef’s knife, or a paring knife and those are the two that are still used most widely today. Take care of them, hone them properly on a regular basis, and don’t let anyone use them for cutting boxes open.

Not having a plan before cooking

If you are making something familiar then just get in there, but if it’s something new or you will have a lot of dishes on at once, it pays to think ahead. 

Have a thought experiment or two and imagine the steps, you may realize you won’t have the oven space at some point or you may need to jiggle your order to make things work