If you are too sure and confident with doing all things right in the kitchen, here are 33 cooking mistakes we make in the kitchen according to chefs. Here are some good guides and lessons.
1. Egg cracking
You’ve been cracking your eggs the wrong way. Instead of cracking them on the side of a bowl or pan, crack them on a FLAT surface.
Knives should never be out under soapy water… ever. Someone’s hand got sliced quite badly and deep by one.
3. Pasta water
Pasta water should be salted generously. Good idea not to add oil to the water unless you want sauce sliding off the noodles.
4. Peeling hard boiled eggs
After eggs are hard boiled and done, best to toss them in ice water – this will make the eggs easier to peel.
5. Cooking at the right temperature
Cooking too hot to get things done faster is not a good idea. If instructions say that the right time and temperature is 1 hour at 280 degrees, don’t substitute it for 350 degrees at 30 minutes.
6. Cutting peppers
Cutting peppers – as seen on the Food Network, chefs are seen cutting the top off and then seeds are pulled out. Since bell peppers are cube shaped, slicing the top down on all 4 sides will lead to pieces that are much easier to chop or slice. Only when you need rings from bell peppers, chop the top off.
7. Not the salt
It’s not the salt that’s needed in the dish – more likely its acid from citrus or vinegar that’s you need.
8. Garlic and onions
Best practice is not to sauté garlic and onions at the same time. Onions take 8 minutes to get done while garlic only takes 30 seconds. You won’t want burnt and bitter garlic if added together.
9. Chopping onions
Use its natural anatomical structure. Most of us hack it till kingdom come which will only cause it to look sad and well, it’ll make you cry.
10. Recipes are to be practiced
Don’t stick to one risotto you like and never try making a different one. Great idea to cook 10 different ones 2 to 3 times over a long period. This will make you understand the basics of making a risotto allowing you to spot bad and unusable recipes, choose the good ones without any option of improvising.
11. Burger patties
Never press/smash them down when cooking them on the Barbecue. This will make them drier by squeezing out all the tasty juices.
Table salt – or iodized salt isn’t the same grade as kosher salt. Table salt makes thing taste metallic and very salty.
Don’t buy them when they’re pink and without any smell. Fresh tomatoes should have a distinct smell, red or soild yellow. Don’t ever go for the horrible looking ones that are lacking any flavor and unripe most of the time.
14. Stir frying
Or frying food – aromats like ginger, garlic, chili, etc should not be added into blistering hot oil. Fry them gently first or you’ll burn them instantly. An obvious and unpleasant burnt and bitter aftertaste is what you don’t want.
15. Adding salt
Must be done in stages before and when you are cooking and not from the salt container or shaker after the food is cooked and served.
16. Knives in drawers
Don’t put them in there. This will spoil their edges. Having a blunt knife is actually dangerous. Struggling to slice through food can result in injury.
17. Frying eggs
Best to cover the pan when you are frying eggs resulting in a perfect sunny side up.
Use fresh lemon and not the one you get in a bottle or a lemon shaped plastic thing.
19. Cooking a steak
Leave it alone to cook. Don’t go fiddling with it, poking and prodding, flipping it and moving it. Leave it to cook. The heat has its purpose, so let it be. Trust your heat source. This is an over violated rule.
Raw onions should not be put in a casserole or meatloaf expecting them to be cooked properly inside.
Use a good slicer (mandoline) for all your vegetables and not the low quality cheap plastic ones. It usually takes 45 minutes to fine dice carrots, garlic, ginger, bell peppers and red onion. Always be sure that the finger guard is always used and be cautious until you’ve honed the skill of handling the slicer or mandolin. The ones with the V configuration are the best. Enjoy faster preparation time and achieve the paper thin tomato slices. Get the one with the handle knob.
22. Cutting board
Get a huge one, the biggest you can get your hands on that fits your counter top. This makes it easier for you to place other stuff to prepare on top of a cutting board.
23. Let meat rest.
Not using a thermometer when cooking meat. By using a thermometer, even a novice cook can be sure that they are cooking their meat to the desired level of doneness. You may not need to use a thermometer after you’ve cooked a certain cut of meat a few times, but for new recipes and types of meat, a meat thermometer gives you confidence and precision.
The fat carries the flavor. Put the herbs and spices with the oil or butter in the skillet before you saute something – not into the flour you use to bread the food.
Not thinking of hygiene by not sanitizing your hands after touching and handling raw meat – chicken especially. Chopping veges/salads on the same board as raw meat is a big no no. Running your hands under cold water for a quick rinse won’t help when done before taking stuff out of the fridge or kitchen drawer. Same goes for using the same sponge (used for everything else) to scrub the cutting board you used for the slimy raw chicken. The sponge needs to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized with hot water and soap.
27. Keep away sharp knives.
28. Roasting vegetables
To roast them, toss with olive oil, salt (more than you think) and other herbs or spices – curry spices are best for cauliflower. Lay cut side down on a baking sheet, and place them into a 200C/400F oven until it’s visibly browned. Depending on the veggie (e.g carrots) you’ll probably want to turn over to the other side and continue roasting for a bit. Once they’re done you can toss with pepper or fresh/delicate herbs before serving (e.g. mushrooms with tarragon or parsley). Just because it’s fork tender and cooked through doesn’t mean it’s delicious. Yet.
Just finished that awesome, wholesome, home cooked and hot delicious meal? Don’t put it on a cold plate from the cabinet. Some ovens have a warm plate setting or even keeping a stack in hot water and drying them off right before plating can keep a hot meal hot.
30. Be ready
Have things ready in place. This is when you realize you need to grate cheese and its not done yet. This causes minor panic while everything else is put on hold (over cooking too) while you grate the cheese. Having everything ready to go at the start lets you add the things when they need adding and helps put dishes out at the appropriate time
31. Don’t ever microwave a steak or eggs to cook it.
32. Roasted potatoes
If you want perfect roasted potatoes (oven roasted, chopped pieces) with crispy outside and fluffy insides then boil them for about 5-10 minutes in salt water first. Then roast them.
33. Clean as you go.
Always remember, no matter how busy you are, throw trash in the bin, wipe up what you spill, get unnecessary utensils, plates and everything else out of the way.