Even if you don’t particularly enjoy cooking, it’s still something you have to do either on occasion or even every day. But if you want the results to always meet your expectations, you should make use of simple pieces of advice that would make your dishes taste much better. Very often, it’s just one simple step stands between “good food” and “amazing food.”
Enlighten gathered non-obvious tricks that really work. How do we know? The author of the article has tested them herself.
1. Let yourself enjoy the fifth taste.
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In the 19th century, French chef Auguste Escoffier invented the fifth taste that complemented all known types of taste (sweet, salty, sour, and bitter). Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda proved this fact scientifically. “The fifth taste” is what soy sauce tastes like; its taste is hard to explain but easy to recognize. It’s also called umami; it’s rich in glutamate which creates the “meat” aftertaste.
This peculiar feature is often used by famous chefs. Add several drops of soy sauce and it will open up the full taste of a stew, rice, soup, and other dishes.
2. To make your pastries taste amazing, add salt and another nonobvious ingredient to dough.
When used in small amounts, salt has a beneficial effect on the quality of your baked goods. Here’s what you’ll notice if you add salt:
- Yeast dough will rise more quickly;
- Baked foods will have a yellow-golden color;
- The dough will become light and airy.
Dough (except for dumpling dough, sponge-method dough, cookie dough, and puff pastry) can also be improved with a pinch of semolina flour. 1 tsp mixed with 2 cups of water will make your buns stay fresh much longer. It also works really great with cinnamon rolls, pies, and pancakes.
3. Cornstarch will make your omelet fluffy.
All kinds of fried eggs (except for sunny-side ups) will be softer and fluffier with a pinch of cornstarch. Besides, it makes the whole process of cooking much shorter. Chefs say it should take no more than 15 seconds.
Just add 1 tsp of cornstarch for every 3 eggs.
4. Pay attention to oil to know when your frying pan is hot enough.
The use of well-heated oil when frying influences the look and the taste of a dish. That’s why it’s crucial to bring the oil to the right temperature. Even if you don’t have a food thermometer, it’s pretty easy to know when it’s time to fry: add vegetables if little bubbles appear around a wooden spatula and add meat products when you see light steam billowing off the oil.
5. If you want to make golden buns, use black tea.
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A bit of strong black tea will color the dough to a light brown and the buns will have a nice golden crust. If you add flavored tea, the buns will acquire your favorite exotic flavor. Go here if you want to learn how to make bright multicolored bakery products.
Make sure to use only high-quality flavored teas to bake “aroma” buns. Otherwise, regular tea bags might spoil or change the dough’s taste and structure.
6. Vanilla goes well with vegetables too.
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Vanilla extract is a great supplement that opens up a full taste of sweets and pastries. It can also add unusual tastes to an ordinary salad as it goes really well with any vegetable.
Try this curious trick the next time you make a garden salad to surprise your family.
7. Vinegar will help you make rice white and crisp.
How to make crisp non-sticky rice? It’s easy! All you have to do is to add 1 tsp of vinegar while the rice is on the stove. Not only will it look better, but it will taste great too!
Use this trick only if you’re OK with the vinegar smell: you won’t feel it once the rice is done, but during the cooking process it can have a strong smell.
8. Butter will give coffee a richer flavor.
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If you love black coffee but would like to make it taste a bit softer without adding more water, use a small piece of butter. Add it right to your beverage a minute before it’s done and enjoy the soft rich consistency of your coffee.
9. Bacon will give fish a spicy flavor.
To get rid of the pungent fish smell while cooking, put a slice of bacon on it. Bacon will absorb the unpleasant smell and will add its rich smoked aroma to the dish. It’s better to use this slice of bacon as an absorber and not to eat it when the dish is done.
If you need to fry fish, put several pieces of peeled potato in the frying pan, it will quickly absorb the fish smell.
10. How to make yeast dough rise more quickly:
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In a situation when you don’t have a minute to waste on waiting, you can use a little trick: put the dough in a plastic bag and place it in a bowl filled with warm water. Approximately in 15 minutes, the dough will rise and you can use it right away. To make your dough really puffy and airy, add a grated potato to it (use a small raw potato.)
11. Chocolate sauce, icing, or mousse will taste better if you use a bit of orange juice.
Make use of a classic combination of chocolate and oranges to shake up the taste of chocolate toppings and desserts (like mousses or cakes). Add orange juice to sauces and icing, and orange peels will taste good in dough.
12. If you add some water to fried eggs, they will be very soft.
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Cook perfect eggs using not only oil but some water, as well. Crack the eggs on a hot frying pan and add water when the egg whites fasten. Your eggs won’t stick to the frying pan and the taste will be very soft and rich.
13. A chicken will be juicy if you cook it in baking paper.
The best way to cook a whole chicken (or a turkey) is to wrap it in baking paper. The meat would be juicy on the inside, but not crispy on the outside. It’s believed that meat absorbs more spicy flavors when cooked in baking paper.
Another secret: make a mix using soft butter with garlic, spices, and herbs and carefully apply it to the skin of the chicken or the turkey before cooking.
14. A banana peel will make meat very soft and tender.
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When you make stew, add a banana peel to the pot to make the meat soft and aromatic. Don’t forget about your favorite herbs and spices: banana makes the meat softer and opens up its full taste but it doesn’t add any specific flavor to the dish.
Do you know and use any interesting tricks when you cook? Share them with us in the comments section below!