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Too spicy, too salty, too acidic: How to save over-seasoned dishes


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People who are passionate about cooking are usually passionate about seasoning - and giving their cuisine an individual character. However, once the seasoning gets out of control, the enjoyment is not over either: read here how to make dishes that are too spicy, too sweet or too salty ready to serve.

Has it ever happened to you that you experimented with different spices and suddenly found that the balance was lost? With sweat beading on their foreheads, many now aimlessly try to add other spices to balance the taste and end up with a totally over-seasoned dish in the kitchen.
We’ve all had those culinary adventures where the chillies, salt shaker or sugar bowl get out of hand. But even then, you don’t have to surrender. There are simple ways to rescue over-seasoned, over-salty, over-sour or over-sweet dishes. And at best, you can even use them to enhance your dishes!

Bye bye, spice: Time to put out the fire

Have you been a little too generous with chillies, cayenne pepper and the like? If you taste your chilli or curry and have to stop for a moment because your taste buds are on fire, don’t panic. It’s usually enough to add mild components to tone down the spiciness. Try yoghurt, sour cream or coconut milk first, but keep in mind that certain dishes need different components. Another very useful tip is to add a couple of raw potatoes to your dish. They could help a big deal with soaking up any excess spice. You can either leave them as part of your dish or remove them and use them up later. And if that’s still not enough, resort to sweeter ingredients like honey or sugar to soften the spiciness. As a general rule, only use as many of the mentioned ingredients as you need – start with a little and increase the amount until you are happy with the taste.
Coconut milk in soup

Madly in love: when all you taste is salt

We actually like the image of the chef in love whose thoughts turn to things other than the right salt ratio – so we have nothing against love, but we do have something against saltiness. So if your soup or sauce is too salty, the first step is to add more liquid, like water or a bit of milk.
Potatoes also soak up the saltiness: Just add a few slices of raw potato and cook them, as they absorb the saltiness. You can simply remove them before serving!
If you just want to set the scene for the saltiness differently, you can also add acidity, i.e. lemon juice or vinegar, or sweetness with sugar or maple syrup. Again, don’t add more than a teaspoon at the beginning, taste again and again and increase the amount in very small steps until you are satisfied. And when you are satisfied, it can become a dish to fall in love with (but be careful, despite being in love, don’t add more salt!).
Salting a dishSqueezing fresh lemon

Oh, how sweet!

Can life be too sweet? Not really. But it can happen with food. If too much sugar has found its way into your dessert, a few small tips can help. The most important one: now acid has to come into play. You can compensate for the sweetness with lemon juice, sometimes also with vinegar (make sure to use a mild and sweet one). Start out with just a tiny bit and progress from there. Depending on the dish, you can also add bitter elements that break through the sweetness – dark chocolate with a high cocoa content or espresso, for example. For creams, simply use more yoghurt or cream cheese to make the taste more neutral.
Mashing Avocado

How much fun is sour?

Acidity is an important ingredient in many different dishes. But when it gets too sour, your taste buds are quickly overwhelmed. To restore balance, sweetness is the first choice: add a teaspoon of sugar or maple syrup to a sour curry or sauce and increase the amount until you are entirely happy. Fat is also good for softening acidity. For example, a small piece of butter works wonders when a tomato sauce is too sour.
If you follow our tips, you will realise that you are not only saving your dishes, but sometimes even giving them a special flavour that makes them even more unique. And, who knows, you might even stick to the method you once considered a “mistake” in the future. Good luck with your cooking!

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