There is no secret to superb cooking – but there are a few techniques to master. The art of creating flavorsome delicious food can make all the difference in honing your skills in the kitchen. If you are finding your dishes to be somewhat bland, consider the following ways to add flavor to meals when you cook.
Cooking is easy, but cooking well takes time and skills. Fortunately they are easy to learn. The following is a list of ways you can add more flavor to just about any dish you want to prepare for yourself or your family.
Add Spice Before Liquid
Suppose you are cooking with spices and really want to bring out all of those flavors. You should be adding your seasoning and spices before you add any liquids. When you add the liquid first, it dilutes the flavor from the spice. For instance, when you make this healthy taco salad, you do just that. The peppers and white parts of the scallions go in, and impart flavor, before you add the water.
Keep this method in mind when making pretty much anything, to make the flavors more pronounced and create delicious food that has gusto.
Use Salt Before The End
Salt is a flavor enhancer, and its effect varies according to how it is used. For instance, adding salt to veggies while sautéing them in fat encourages them to release moisture. This moisture helps prevent the vegetables from browning, which is beneficial if you want pale sautéed cauliflower but detrimental if you want toasted seared zucchini.
Salt meat a day or two before cooking penetrates the meat, imparting a more flavorful flavor. Season potatoes or pasta while they cook with generous amounts of salt in pans of simmering water. A final sprinkle of salt adds a burst of saltiness.
Use Fat to Add Flavor
Along with being tasty on its own, fat imparts taste. The majority of the flavor in meats, for example, originates from the unique lipid composition of the animal’s fat. The muscle fiber is simply muscle fiber, whereas fat comes in an array of tastes. Numerous volatile flavor and scent chemicals are fat-soluble, which is why garlic and onions are fried in a small amount of oil, and turkey is basted with butter.
Brown Your Food
Consider the following scenario: you are presented with two steaks. Both have been cooked to the same internal temperature, but one is crusty, brown outside with grill marks. The other is uniformly grey due to steaming.
Browned food has a stronger flavor. This is not a case of perceptual prejudice; this is science. Browning occurs as a result of two distinct responses. When food browns, amino acids, and carbohydrates undergo complex chemical reactions that form new, more complex flavor and fragrance molecules. These are referred to as the Maillard and caramelization reactions.
Use Freshly Ground Herbs
Spices lose their potency the most quickly when exposed to heat and air. When spices are ground, they are exposed to significantly more surface area, which causes them to age much more quickly. To extract the maximum flavor from your spices (and ensure their longevity), begin with whole seeds or pods and ground as you go.
Some spices are a headache to grind as you go. As with turmeric, therefore, for those spices that are considerably more convenient to purchase pre-ground, ensure that you purchase in quantity from a reputable source and replenish your own stock regularly.
Practice these things regularly when creating your meals and enjoy improved taste and texture. The more you keep these rules in mind, the more natural they will come to you down the road as you gain practice and experience.