January 2nd 2020
The secret of making food that always tastes good: Putting in love is not enough. You need to understand the science behind it.By Patcharin Smith, Pad Thai Chef
Aside from using good ingredients and following recipes, the final stage before serving every dish is tasting. What can happen at this important stage is the miss taste! Throughout my training years, I’ve noticed many cooks taste their food by sipping the sauce at the tip of their tongue. What’s wrong with that? The tip of the tongue is only sweet sensitive, and that part of your tongue alone won’t be able to activate the savory taste or “Umami”. Especially in Thai cooking, the flavour of each dish is very complex, so a good chef needs to know how to layer the flavours that will make each dish shine for its true character. In order to improve your tasting skills, I recommend that you use the middle part of tongue to taste your cooking every time from now on. I reference a picture of the tongue map for you to see where to land your tasting spoon on the part of Umami. Also, note not to taste food that is boiling hot because the heat will kill your receptor and create the blind spot in your brain. The best temperature for tasting is room temperature or slightly warm. When you get the savory taste, your eyes will dilate and your brain will sense the satisfaction (Head nod and “Yes” expression). Let me know if you receive more compliments from your cooking after learning this.
TIPS: Thai food also has spicy flavour. When eating spicy food, open your mouth widely to avoid the food touching your lips and the tip of your tongue because they are very sensitive to the heat from spicy food. After a spicy meal, the sweet dessert will cool down the palate, not iced water.
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