Common Recipe Problems and How to Fix Them
Even with the simplest method to follow, now and again, recipes don’t quite go to plan. Perhaps your mixture isn’t binding together properly, or your crispy coating doesn’t have quite the right amount of crunch. We’ve all been there!
Sometimes you try to prepare a trickier dish that’ll impress at the dinner table, only for it to turn out delicious, but less than perfect. Whether it’s a soggy mixture, a crumbly finish or a burnt ingredient that’s scuppering your dish, there are a few trusty tips you can use that might fix the problem the next time.
Why is my recipe falling apart?
Onion bhajis are a tasty, reliable way to bulk out your favourite curry dish. Traditionally they’re deep-fried in spiced batter until they’re golden and crisp. Our slimming friendly Onion Bhajis are made with onions, spices, sweet potatoes and eggs – no nasty surprises here!
Bhajis can run into problems if the mixture won’t stay together. The best fix is to make sure your onion is as finely sliced as possible – the finer the mixture, the better it will bind. If your bhajis are still falling apart in the oven, we’d recommend trying a muffin tray lined with low calorie cooking spray to separate the mixture into 12 individual moulds.
You can use a spatula to flip the bhajis while they bake. Make sure you refresh them each time with a spritz of low calorie cooking spray, just to reinforce the mixture. The coating should be crisp and yummy by the time they’re baked!
Ingredients don’t have to crumble to fall apart. In some recipes, dairy products can break down and create a grainy texture. Our Chicken Tikka Masala Curry is a go-to Fakeaway favourite – it’s rich, spicy (if you’re not shy with the chilli powder!) and SO tasty served with onion bhajis.
To get a zesty, spicy kick, we’ve created a homemade marinade for our chicken using lemon juice, spices and fat free Greek yoghurt. To avoid grainy bits of yoghurt in the tikka sauce, reduce the heat right down after you’ve cooked the chicken and peppers. As long as the heat is low, the remaining yoghurt won’t separate as you add it.
If you feel you want a little more sauce, you can add a little more chicken stock or a small amount of yoghurt. Be wary of adding too much yoghurt – you don’t want to mellow your flavours!
No-one wants a burger that’s overcooked, dry and crumbly! The blend of eggs, halloumi, mint and couscous we use for our Halloumi Couscous Burgers with Salsa can go awry if it’s heated too quickly. Overheating can make your mixture crumble and leave you with a disappointing (but tasty) pile of halloumi and couscous on your plate.
So that the burgers don’t fall apart, it’s important that you keep them on a low heat until a solid crust has formed. Once a good crust is there, you’ll be able to lift and flip them without an issue.
We love how tasty this veggie-filled couscous mix is served in a flatbread. Don’t forget a dollop of fat free Greek yoghurt for dipping!
Why is my recipe losing its shape?
We love a fusion of flavours, and this golden, cheesy dish with a chilli kick is no exception. Our Enchilada Lasagne is a recipe that will impress at any special occasion. Using tortilla wraps instead of lasagne sheets, it’s lighter on calories and full of flavour.
The tricky part comes when you’re serving it – dishes with layers aren’t the easiest to serve without making a mess. We’d recommend oven baking your lasagne in a springform cake tin. It’ll release the lasagne much easier than a casserole dish and it’ll bake it nicely too.
The key is making sure the lasagne is left to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Once the ingredients have had time to firm up a bit, run a knife around the edges before you unclasp and lift the tin away. It should stay together and look delicious!
This lasagne recipe is a rich, satisfying meal all on its own but you could plate it up with a fresh side salad.
Sometimes, it’s not the recipe itself, but the method you’re using that can cause a problem. Our Chicken Kebab uses a simple hack to make sure the chicken is moist and full of flavour.
To recreate the kebab cooking style at home, we use a potato or onion as a base with 3 skewers inserted. You can then skewer your marinated chicken, ready to be oven baked.
To make this one even easier, some members of our Facebook Group prefer to use a potato baker rack. It’s a lot sturdier than the wooden skewers, so it’ll never topple over mid-way through.
Coated in spices and yoghurt, we really think marinating and skewering your chicken is worth the effort. It’s an Everyday Light dish that’s so much healthier than the late-night takeaway alternative!
Why is my recipe going a bit soggy?
Who doesn’t love pizza? We created our Hash Brown Pizza to satisfy our pizza cravings in a slimming friendly way. In some veggie recipes, the doughy base is swapped out for a cheesy, cauliflower alternative. So that we didn’t have to compromise on gooey, cheesy goodness as a topping, we’ve not added it to our base – we’ve used hash browns instead!
If you don’t get this quite right, the base can go a little soggy. Removing any excess water or starch from the potato mixture will fix the issue before it can happen. Make sure to squeeze the grated potato really hard over a bowl or sink before it’s combined with the other ingredients.
Oven bake until the cheesy topping is golden and the base is cooked through. We love to throw ham and a bunch of tasty veggies on top of ours!
Our Ham and Mushroom Calzones are another tasty go-to that’ll satisfy you when you’re pining for pizza. We use a tortilla wrap as our firm, bread-like ‘dough’ because they crisp up really well. Packed with flavour and cheesiness, the wrap can sometimes go a little soggy if it isn’t firmly sealed or the ingredients aren’t chopped finely enough.
After the wrap is folded, press down hard on the edge without the filling to create the seal (we like to use a fork!). Make sure to brush all over, including the edge, with the beaten egg so that it’ll dry with a firmer seal and a crustier finish.
Bake until golden brown and the tasty filling is piping hot. Why not serve with a pot of homemade Coleslaw for a filling dinner that’s stuffed with flavour?
Ingredients going soggy can be a problem even where pastry isn’t involved! We love a luxurious creamy recipe, but getting the balance right can be trickier than it seems. With a Spaghetti Carbonara, you don’t want your classic combination of bacon lardons (we’ve used chopped gammon instead) and veggies in a cheesy sauce to end up as a soggy mess.
The trick is to make sure that the whisked eggs, Pecorino cheese and Quark are stirred in slowly and gradually while the pasta and vegetables are off the heat. At this point, your veggies will be soft but not soggy.
Let the warmth from the spaghetti do all the work as you stir. Then, instead of scrambled eggs, you’ll be left with a rich, cheesy pasta dish!
Why is my recipe burning?
Fluffy, cream-filled and drizzled with chocolate, our Profiteroles are a top notch sweet treat for only 30 calories per pastry. As exciting as they are, it’s really important that the oven isn’t opened before they’re finished baking. They need at least forty minutes until they’re golden brown.
If the oven is opened before they’ve risen, there’s a chance you could be serving them deflated. Ten minutes or so before the end of baking time, you can leave the oven door ajar so the heat leaves them gradually. Without this release, your delicate pastry treats may burn.
This is the same for Churros, another chocolate-dipped dessert that can be tricky to get right at the end. With the oven door open, they’ll get a delicious, crispy texture without burning.
You’ll also want to make sure your churros batch is nice and even. We use a piping bag with a star nozzle to divide up our homemade mixture.
While disposable ones might be convenient, a silicone one is cost effective and easy to rinse out for reusing. Winner!
Sometimes we cook a recipe that turns out to have more problems than we expected. This can happen whether you’re new to the kitchen, or if you’ve been cooking for years. Don’t let one imperfect batch put you off! Figuring out when certain recipes need a bit of special attention can be trial and error.
If you’re new to the kitchen and you’re looking for a place to get started, we’ve got plenty of beginner friendly recipes you can hit the ground running with.
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