Quick Fixes for Common Cooking Fails


You accidentally added too much salt on your stew—now what? Do you have to start from scratch again? Don’t panic. Whether you’ve made this mistake or similar ones—adding too much spice or overcooking the vegetables—there are quick solutions you can do to salvage your dish.


Problem: Food Is Too Salty

For stews and soups, simply add more of the main ingredients. You can also add pureed chickpeas or white beans to counteract the saltiness without affecting the flavour. For an over-salted meat, serve it with an unsalted grain or starch, such as plain white rice, quinoa or potato puree. As for overly salty vegetables, pair them with mild cheese, like mozzarella or ricotta. No time to prepare for extra ingredient? Pop a bottle of Champagne and serve it with your dish. The bubbles cleanse the palate, thus refreshing the taste buds after every sip.

Problem: Food Is Too Spicy

There are several ways to salvage a fiery food. Sugar is one unobtrusive way to tone down spiciness, especially for soups and stews. Gradually add in ½ teaspoon increments, and taste every single time. You can also add more of the main ingredients to dilute the spiciness. For a stir fried dish, adding more meat will intensify the meaty flavour and mask the sharp, intense aroma of the spices.HD-fw200510_cockles

Problem: Sauce Is Too Runny

When the sauce is too runny, reduce it by simmering, which allows some of the liquids to evaporate. Another way to add thickness to a sauce is to make a paste out of cornstarch and cold water. Whisk the mixture into the sauce, but be sure to do a little at a time so the sauce won’t taste cornstarch-y and the sauce doesn’t get too thick.

Problem: Meat Is Overcooked

If you’ve overcooked your meat, there’s really nothing much you can do about it except make it seem intentional. With steak, slice the meat very thinly and serve it with chimichurri sauce or shred it and use it for another recipe. With pork, you can shred the meat and then drench it in barbecue sauce to create barbecue pulled pork.

Accidents can happen in foods as well—too much of certain ingredient can cause unbalanced flavour. However, such accidents don’t have to mean wasted food. All it takes is just a few tweaks, and you’re recipe is good to go again.