Many people find comfort in spending hours whipping up meals in the kitchen. But what’s supposed to be a therapeutic session of harmless fun can quickly transform into a massive headache when kitchen problems arise. Here are five common problems that can arise during your kitchen throw-downs–and how to solve them.
Too much salt
Too many meals have been ruined by the gratuitous addition of salt. Have you found yourself in this situation? If not, you’re lucky! Still, if you do, take comfort in the fact that all’s not lost. Depending on what you’re whipping up in the kitchen, there’s always a way to repair your dish. Here are some common scenarios:
- Stews and braises: After spending hours slow cooking, you’ve found yourself with a dish too salty to eat! Fear not. An easy way out is to add cut-up potatoes and a bit of water to your dish and put it back on the burner or the oven on low for about half an hour. The potatoes will soak up some of the saltiness and the water prevents the whole thing from being too dry. Fish out the potatoes and now you’re left with a perfectly salted dish. If you want to go the extra mile, broil the potatoes after for a quick side dish. No one will suspect!
- Fried food: Too much salt in the batter? Lemons to the rescue! A lot of people get into this conundrum especially because it’s not always safe to taste the batter especially when you have raw eggs and flour in it. Squeezing some lemon juice on top of your fried food, be it chicken, fish, or whatever you decided to deep fry that day, will help cut not only the saltiness but the greasiness as well. It has health benefits too!Lemon is often served alongside these dishes, but when you find yourself in this situation, go ahead and take the liberty of squeezing them on yourself. Of course, be careful not to overdo it either. In a pinch, you can also always serve an unsalted dip on the side, maybe a garlic yogurt dip or marinara.
Have you torched the family dinner? This one’s very common too. Maybe you’ve failed to call your trusted oven repair technician to fix your unpredictably moody broiler, or you just got distracted by your favorite show and didn’t hear the kitchen timer, it happens. Thankfully, there’s a way out, usually. Here are some tips:
- Burnt rice: When you burn rice, anything on top of the burnt bottom is usually still perfectly edible. The biggest issue is the burnt smell that ruins the whole experience. Fret not. A little known hack is to transfer all the salvageable rice in another pot, put a thick slice of bread on top of the steaming rice, put a lid on, and leave it for as long as you can. You can also place a damp cloth before putting the lid back on. The cloth and bread will soak up the smell. You can do this for stews as well.
- Burnt roasts: Depending on what you cooked, you can usually cut off the burnt parts and still have a significant amount of food left for dinner. For big chunks of meat, you can slice off the outer “crust” and put it back in the broiler, watch it this time. There are times that you may have to rewrite the meal script altogether. Your roast chicken won’t be passable because of the burnt skin, so why not cut off the burnt parts, pull the meat apart, and turn it into a salad! Removing the bitterness of the burnt pieces and adding other flavors to the dish will save your dinner.
Poultry is raw in the middle
They say that medium-rare is the best way to serve steaks, but you definitely don’t want to see pink and raw when you’re dealing with poultry. Chicken can be tricky to cook as it can get very dry fast. If you’ve found yourself with the pink in the middle problem, don’t worry. You can still probably save this dish. The only way is to keep cooking the poultry.
To prevent moisture loss, you’d want to add some sort of liquid like a low sodium stock (to keep oversalting at bay) or maybe even some cooking wine to keep the cooked parts moist while the insides are taking their time. Next time, check the doneness of the chicken with an instant kitchen thermometer instead of cutting it to avoid losing juices while checking.
Of course, there are times when you can’t really do anything about the meal anymore. Take the loss and call for takeout. If you have the time, maybe you can save the day with a second round in the kitchen.