Adding flavor is a component to cooking that is essential. The more we know about how to add, balance, or counteract flavors, the more we have control over what we cook. That’s when cooking gets to be fun.
THE IMPORTANT COMPONENTS THAT FLAVOR FOODS
THE FIVE TASTES:Saltiness—briny, saline, brackish If dish is too salty, add an acid or sweetness.
HOW TO BALANCE FLAVORS WHEN THEY AREN’T QUITE RIGHT
Rich—you can add sweet or sour to cut the richness of the dish. (Fresh limes—lemon juice, a little vinegar.)
Bland—salt can add flavor, bouillon will add a burst of flavor, cheese or strong herbs and seasonings, soy sauce, spicy pepper sauce.
Spicy—sour or sweet will help to tone down overly spicy foods. Adding a spoonful
of plain yogurt and a little citrus also will help tone down the spice.
Salty—sweet or sour will help but may not be enough. If possible, try diluting with water. When salting your dish, do so in intervals and taste as you go. Any dish that evaporates as it cooks will cause the flavors to intensify, especially the flavor of salt.
Sour—sweet, salty, or bitter will help take the flavor away from sour.
Bitter—salty, sweet, or sour will help reduce the bitter flavor.
Sweet—sour, salty, or bitter will tone down the sweetness. Adding other flavors will distract from the sweetness.
OTHER IMPORTANT COMPONENTS
When creating dishes, the texture of food (crunchy, soft, or hard) as well as the food’s temperature (hot, room temperature, or cold) add to how we perceive the food’s flavor and are important to consider when cooking.
Three Flavor enhancers I won’t cook without
When I need “something” to balance out the flavor of what I am cooking there are three items I go to: soy sauce, anchovies, and bouillon.
Nowadays, we generally don’t have all day to create strongly flavored stocks. Using bouillon is a great shortcut to adding that intensity to the foods we cook.
The downside is that bouillon can be very salty. There are three ways I counteract that:
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