What to do to immediately fix extra salty food ? Part 1
This article explains various tips which help to correct extra amount of salt we accidentally add while preparing food. Instead of throwing everything in garbage, we can patiently make use of these tricks to save time, efforts and large amount of food prepared.
IntroductionWe spend hours together in the kitchen in preparing meals for us, for our families and sometimes for our guests. Our preparation and everything seem perfect initially and we eagerly wait for our guests to arrive anytime and thus we keep food on simmer. We dip our finger or a spoon for a quick taste and then realize that we have gone too overboard with addition of salt. It may be because of our carelessness or mistake of loosened salt shakers or may be simply an error because of some wrong measures. Whatever may be the cause we feel that we have sailed open mouthed through a wave into the sea. If it is some other day, we might want to reconsider cooking it again. If it is a busy day or like said earlier we have cooked especially for guests and are expecting their arrival anytime then repeating everything in a haste almost seem impossible. Over salting may take a little extra efforts to rectify but still not impossible. We all have been there. There is no need to get paranoid and toss prepared food in garbage. There is no need for any meltdown, get confused, develop regret or panic. This is because simple tips and tricks can correct extra added salt and bring back original taste and aroma of dish.
What to do to correct over salting ?There is no reason to get disheartened and think that dish has been spoiled completely and now there is no way that it can be corrected. There are certain tips and tricks which if implemented patiently can create the magic and help us come out of the disappointing situation.
Following are the tips which immediately help to fix extra salty food-
- Water comes to the rescue : Too salty soups, sauces, curries, vegetables dishes etc can all be rescued by adding some amount of water to them. Add small amount of water and then taste the dish. Keep adding it until required result is obtained. Though it will change consistency of the dish a little, but it will save the hard work and efforts we have put in to make it. Consistency can also be corrected by adding in more amount of solid ingredients required for that particular dish. For example, suppose a tomato soup if becomes over salty and we correct it by adding some water to it. Now its consistency has become too runny. All we have to do is to add some pureed tomatoes to correct the consistency. One can also add more pasta, rice and vegetables which are non-salty to the recipe to correct consistency. It is better to have leftovers which can be consumed in next meal rather than throwing the whole thing in garbage. Salt free broth can also be added instead of water which will not only reduce excess amount of salt from the recipe, but also gives it a fine taste. Some times non-vegetarian food which was kept for marination become too salted and simple thing one can do is just rinse it under running water and pat it dry with paper towel. One can also rinse extra salt from the vegetables too which were left in salty brine for too long. If soup is chunky then one can get rid of half of the broth. Remaining ingredients can be left as it is. Same amount of water or salt free stock can be added to correct over saltiness. If flavors of other ingredients seem to be dull then one can simply add them up to get back the desired result. One can leech out the extra salt from bacon or pork too by soaking them in water for couple of hours.
- Try adding milk, curd and fresh cream : Addition of milk will not only neutralize excess amount of salt that is added, but also gives recipe a smooth texture and thereby the whole taste gets balanced. Similarly, one can add some amount of curd to both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes to reduce the amount of excess salt added and provide a subtle taste. Cream on the other hand not only helps to get rid of excess saltiness from the recipe, but makes it more creamier in taste as well as in consistency. Flavor of dish too becomes mild. Imagine a tomato soup tasting sour due to excess addition of salt to it. Adding a small amount of cream to it will create a magic cause not only it reduces that extra saltiness, but also provides that creamy texture to the dish giving it a rich taste. Before adding dairy to the recipe, just mentally visualize whether addition of any dairy product can enhance the taste of it. If so then do not hesitate to do so. It may be curd, milk, sour cream or heavy cream. Just add them and see the magic that takes place. One can also correct over saltiness of the dish by serving it with a dollop of sour cream or curd on top of each serving
- Add acidic ingredients and acidic foods : Try adding acidic ingredients like white vinegar or lemon juice to extra salty dishes. Just splash of these acidic ingredients can cut the salty taste and remedy the whole situation. Though adding of any acidic component can be a high risk proposition. This is because salt and acid go hand in hand and enhance each other. If more amount of acidic ingredients are added then they can make salty dish even more salty. Just add a splash and do not overdo it. Small amount can create magic whereas carelessly adding more amount can only bring disaster. One can add other citric juices too like orange juice, tomato juice etc which add a little amount of sweetness and a little amount of tartness. If tomatoes can be made a part of the recipe then do not hesitate to do so and add them in chopped, crushed or juice forms. They mask complete over salty dish and give it a nice aroma and taste. One can even go overboard in case of tomatoes in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes unlike lemon juice or white vinegar
- Counteract over saltiness with sugar : Stir a tablespoon of sugar in soups, sauces and other liquid recipes and correct that over saltiness. If dark sauce is been made then one can even opt to add some brown sugar to it. Addition of sugar will balance out the whole taste. Both sugar and salt balance out each other very well. Small amount of imbalance caused in any dish can be corrected by a pinch of sugar. In case dish is too salty then do not just keep adding sugar mindlessly cause then dish will taste a little weird due to too much sugar. Add some amount of sugar only and then taste it. If still dish tastes too salty then try different tips to mask off that taste and bring saltiness down. Not only sugar, but honey, jaggery, fruit juices, fruits and all those sweeteners too can correct an aggressively salted recipe
- Just add bulk to the dish : It is just a simple tip where one needs to add every other or most of the ingredients already added except the salt. This is more of a balancing act where balance is created between salt and other ingredients. Bulk out a dish by adding more amount of vegetables, rice, noodles, broth, water, pasta, spices, herbs etc and create a balance. Increase the quantity of all those ingredients in the dish which are non-salty, but keep a hold on salty ones. This decreases concentration of salt and helps round off the flavor
- Leafy vegetables : Green leafy vegetables like parsley, spinach, fenugreek leaves, mint leaves etc absorb excess amount of sodium and work wonder when it comes to taste. They not only enrich the taste, but also provides additional health benefits as they are rich sources of many vitamins and essential minerals. Whether it is a vegetarian dish or a non-vegetarian dish, take a handful of leaves and sprinkle them just straight away over the prepared dish or if desired then one can chop them finely before adding. They can also be pureed before adding. This will also give dish a nice color and aroma at the same time.
ConclusionEven the most seasoned chefs can make the mistake of adding too much salt to a given dish and this is because it is a very common kitchen mishap. We cook our recipes with lots of love and efforts. However, when we add a little more salt to it then it becomes over salted and tastes horrible. If we do not panic then definitely we can get rid of that extra salt which we added and balance everything well. Too much salt completely changes taste of whole recipe. At that moment it just does not matter how well we have prepared our dish cause everything changes and the cause is over sprinkling of salt. Salt is a dominating ingredient. It not only masks the whole taste but even aroma of the prepared dish. Over sprinkling of salt is not a tragedy and there are tips and ways to salvage a recipe. Do not just throw away everything that is cooked. Simple tips and tricks if adopted in the kitchen can help us save our recipes and relish them. To know more such tips and tricks read What to do to immediately fix extra salty food: Part-2.