Cooking Tips: 5 Common Mistakes To Avoid While Cooking Grains

It is a well-known fact that cooking is an art, and it requires certain skills to master it. From adding the correct amount of salt to choosing the best method, there are many points that should be kept in mind while preparing any dish. Most of us pay special attention to certain dishes that we feel are complicated to cook, such as cakes and chicken curries, and take the rest of them lightly. But it’s always the simplest foods that end up badly due to our negligence, and the best example is grains. 

Being an essential part of our daily diet, grains are very nutritious. They are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that lower the risk of diabetes, control weight, and keep the heart healthy. There is a wide variety of grains available in India; some common types are rice, quinoa, corn, barley, oats, and bajra. All of them are extremely versatile and are used for making plenty of dishes like porridge, desserts, bread, and salads. But have you been cooking them correctly?

Here are five common mistakes you must avoid while cooking any grain: 

Not Adding Salt 

When it comes to boiling grains, most of us never add salt to the water. But it really affects the taste. Whether you are cooking pulao, biryani, or any other dish, always add salt and other seasonings to the water for a better flavour. It will not only elevate the taste but also give the dish a natural aroma. 

Treating All Grains The Same 

This is the biggest mistake anyone can make. Each of the grains is different and must be cooked accordingly. From the liquid-to-grain ratio to the correct cooking time, everything is different. For example, barley must be cooked in a ratio of 3:1 (liquid: grain) and requires approximately an hour on heat. On the other hand, quinoa’s liquid-to-grain ratio must be 2:1 and can be cooked within twenty minutes. 

Cooking On High Heat 

It’s true that grains take a lot of time to cook, but using high heat will surely ruin your dish and your efforts. This is because cooking them over high heat causes too much evaporation of the liquid, leaving the grains undercooked. The right way is to bring the mixture to a boil on high heat, then lower the temperature and let it simmer. Also, keep stirring in between to prevent it from sticking. 

Leaving The Pan Uncovered 

We have heard a lot of times that cooking with a lid helps save time and energy, but did you know it also helps enhance its texture? Covering the pot prevents excess evaporation of liquid, which helps the grains cook properly. All you need to do is, after it comes to a boil, cover the cooking pot and reduce the heat to get tender and evenly cooked grains. 

Overcooking The Grains

As discussed earlier, cooking time differs depending on the type of grain you have in the pot. But this doesn’t mean you leave them on the stove for hours without checking. If you cook regularly, then you might have an estimation of time, but for beginners, it's better to keep an eye on the pot and switch the stove off just until they turn soft and tender.