Food getting burnt is common with seasoned and juvenile cooks alike. The simple answer would be to throw it all together. But, there are instances when food like sauces, gravies, ribs, rice, or cake are slightly burnt and have a burnt smell.
Neither you can eat it with that awful smell nor do you want to throw it. Here are a few tips below that could be helpful. One of the immediate things that have come to the rescue is adding some milk. Milk has a great capability to hide the most burnt taste and smell from food.
Below are specific ways how to handle specific food, if accidentally burnt.
Tips to avoid: All of us have been through those bad days when you've burnt the cake from the top or bottom.
- Invest in an external oven thermometer. These are cheap gadgets that can tell you an accurate temperature to save you from high temperatures in the first place.
- Always stay close to the oven when trying a new recipe.
- Check the cake 5-10 minutes before the mentioned baking times. This will give you an upper hand in baking.
Let the cake cool enough to handle. If it is burnt from the top, you can grate some burnt crumbles with a grater or use a serrated knife to scrape the burnt layer of the cake.
If it cake is burnt from the bottom, then turn it, and with a serrated bread knife try to remove the burnt layer. You need to run the sharp edge of a serrated knife over the bottom of the cake and remove the burnt crumbles from the cake until you have a brown unburnt layer visible.
The scraping tip works with slightly burnt toast too.
Burnt food like gravy, sauce, or curry
Tips to avoid: If you cook your gravy on high heat or do not stir a thick gravy for long it can easily get burnt.
- Use a thick-based pot for cooking. You may put a griddle (tawa) under the pot if it is not thick-bottomed.
- Always cook thick gravies or sauces on low heat.
- Do not leave the pot unattended for long. Set an alarm if you have a busy day. Or turn the heat if leaving the kitchen for even a while as that's when people tend to forget about the food.
- Add a little water if needed as you cook.
Since there is no way to completely undo the burnt effect but you can save the food with a few tips. Remove the pan from heat and submerge the bottom of the pan in water to stop further burning.
If a sauce or gravy is slightly burnt from the bottom, the first thing to do is to change the pot. Very carefully transfer the unburnt part of the sauce or gravy to another pot. Make every possible effort not to scrape the burnt portions of gravy. You can try any of the following tips to remove the burnt smell from food.
- You can also add a little milk, yogurt, or coconut milk. These have amazing capabilities to cover the burnt smell. Depending on the taste of the gravy, you can add a few tablespoons of either milk or yogurt or coconut milk to remove the burnt smell. Now, these white liquids can change the color of gravy or sauce so be careful when you use this option.
- Add a raw peeled potato to the pot. And cover the pot allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. Then remove the potato and reheat the sauce.
- Another tip for tomato-based sauces is to add 1 teaspoon of peanut butter or regular butter. Butter helps to hide the burnt flavor without altering the original taste.
- So another option is adding a little sugar to the gravy. So if your making a sweet sauce then sugar is a better option. Start by adding half a teaspoon and increase quantity as needed until most of the burnt smell is covered.
Rice is best cooked in the wide and thick bottom pot as the grain expands as they cook and so gives them ample space. This makes rice fluffy with grains beautifully separated and not mushy.
- Use a thick-based pot for cooking rice. You may put a griddle (tawa) under the pot if it is not thick-bottomed.
- Always cook thick rice on low heat, (if not boiling in water).
Remove rice from heat and transfer rice to a new pot taking great care not to transfer burnt grains of rice. Not even slightly burnt grains. First, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of milk on the rice.
Then put a slice of bread on the rice in the new pot. Cover the pot. And let it rest for 4-10 minutes. Then heat the rice as needed on low heat. Just before serving remove the bread. And serve rice as needed.
Bonus Tip: How to clean a burnt food pan.
If you happen to burn your food
regularly then you might at least learn how to clean your pots and hide the crime like a pro! Depending on the level of burnt you might need to do a few or all steps mentioned below. Follow all steps in sequence.
- Soak the pot for 30-60 depending on how badly burnt it is. (Make some coffee to lift the mood and overcome the guilt of food waste.)
- When the burnt food is soft enough. Scrap as much as possible with a metal spoon.
- Now try to wash with soap and metal wool.
- If the food is still stuck then fill the pot with water, soap, vinegar, and baking soda. Boil for fifteen minutes. Empty the pot and try to wash it. (Do only the above steps for a non-stick pan.)
- If the pot is black and black burnt food is stuck. (like milk burns) Do these steps with caution. (Not recommended for a non-stick pan.)
- We are trying to burn food to ashes to remove from the pot. Put the pot on the stove on high heat. Let the burnt food burn further for 3-5 minutes. Open exhaust fans and ventilate the kitchen as much as possible and the burning will produce some smoke. (This step might trigger fire alarms just stay by the pot when doing this.)
- Let the pot cool again. Wash with soap and metal wool. Repeat the burning on the stove again if needed.
I hope to learn a few tips from this post. Please share your opinion and tips in the comment section. I'm waiting to learn from your experience.
Check my other food tips: