Mealtimes can quickly become boring if you’re cooking the same boring recipes every week. If you don’t make dishes you enjoy, you won’t enjoy the process of cooking. Turn your dull, tasteless meals into something you look forward to cooking by improving the flavour. Follow these tips for adding more flavour to your meals.
Try Different Cooking Methods
Different cooking techniques will yield different results. The way you cook something can completely change the flavour and texture of a dish. Potatoes, for instance, will taste different if you steam them, deep fry them in oil, or roast them in butter.
Experiment with different cooking methods, such as broiling, grilling, poaching, stewing, caramelising, and braising, to create something original. Instead of chopping your carrots into rounds and boiling them, try roasting them whole in a maple mustard glaze or stir frying them with some other veggies. You should also be careful not to overcook your ingredients. Food can become mushy if it is boiled for too long and you are guaranteed to burn something if you forget it in the oven.
Use Fresh Produce
Fresh produce will always taste better than frozen produce. When you cook with frozen food, you run the risk of ending up with something dry and freezer burnt or something that isn’t as nutritious as it could be. Rather than buying the same produce at the supermarket year-round, head to the market and shop for locally grown fruit and vegetables. Ripe food that is in season will more flavourful and have greater nutritional content compared to produce that has been artificially ripened with ethylene gas.
If you can, try growing veggies in your garden. That way you’ll have the freshest produce to cook and prepare meals with. There’s nothing more delicious than a salad made with homegrown tomatoes and lettuce leaves.
Use Herbs and Spices
Whether you choose to use fresh or dried herbs and spices, they will bring a uniqueness to each dish you make, so make sure your cupboard is well stocked. The varieties of each herb and spice will have different uses. For example, while kosher salt, sea salt, and table salt are ultimately the same thing, but they are used at different stages of cooking and for different types of cooking. Similarly, cracked black pepper or coarse ground pepper will alter the flavour and texture of your dish, as will fresh chilis, dried whole chilis, chili flakes, and chili powder.
Seasonings can change the flavour profile of a dish if they’re smoked, toasted, infused in oil, or are used to marinade the ingredients before cooking, and you can try using classic spice blends or mixed herb seasonings to flavour your food as well. Taco seasoning would be perfect to flavour the filling in taquitos dorados.
You don’t have to add all the seasoning at once. You can add them at different stages of cooking. Fresh herbs and spices can be used to garnish a dish too. Grow fresh herbs in your garden or in small pots on your kitchen windowsill so you’ll always have them at hand.
Don’t Stick to the Recipe
Think of a recipe as more of a guideline. You don’t have to follow it to the letter. When you find a recipe you like, try cooking it a few times with some variations. The more you cook it, the more you will alter it to create something innovative that you’ll love.
You also shouldn’t be put off if you see a recipe with ingredients you don’t like. Substitute them with things that you do like and create a whole new dish. Deviate from the steps in your recipe books and be imaginative with your cooking. And don’t forget: if a recipe calls for one garlic clove, it is never enough.
Taste the Food Before You Serve It
If you’re not tasting your food when you add new ingredients, then you won’t know if the dish is delicious or bland until you plate it up. You should always taste your food before you serve it so you can adjust the seasoning. Tasting a dish will allow you to improve it, so that when you’re making the same recipe again in the future, you know whether it will need a little something extra to elevate the flavours.
Image Credits: Zahrin Lukman