Creating flavorful low sodium recipes can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced cook. Achieving flavorful low sodium recipes can seem impossible for the new cook. Someone who is just learning how to cook and now is told to cook without salt may feel hopeless. What to do? Just know there are many ways to add flavor to low sodium recipes.
Using this one cooking tip actually a cooking technique will help conquer bland and turn low sodium recipes into more flavorful food. This amazing cooking technique is called browning or caramelizing.
Learning to brown your food, is so important to cooking rich, flavorful, low sodium recipes. It doesn’t matter if you are browning meats, vegetables like onions, even fresh garlic or tomato paste. Browning also adds a sweetness to vegetables and helps mellow out any sharp tastes. Taking the time to do this one step will make a huge difference with the richness and depth of color and flavor, especially with regard to low sodium recipes.
Browning for the best results means using a heavy or medium-heavy pan, Dutch oven, or skillet, over a low to medium-low heat. It’s not cooking over a medium-high or high heat for this process, (at least not until you gain some cooking experience). Take your time. Most folks tend to brown too fast over too high of a heat and burn instead of brown. We are not searing here, we are trying a slower, richer, browning technique. You want a nice rich caramelized effect for the best, richest flavor.
If your browning starts burning, stop. Take the pan off the heat, off the burner. If what you are cooking is burnt, even if just slightly burnt, you may need to stop and start over. This includes wiping out the pan with a paper towel and if using oil, get fresh oil. Don’t just pick out the burnt pieces. The burnt taste will still remain in the oil. After all, what you have started to burn is probably just some onions, or a little garlic. This is not too expensive to throw out and start over. Don’t try to save anything burnt here as the cooking process will only magnify the burnt taste.
When you are cooking without salt, you really need to pay attention to flavor and not risk jeopardizing the flavor of the dish with a slightly burnt or scorched taste. It’s just not worth the risk of ruining the recipe. Start over.
Try to brown meats really well, especially before starting a soup, stew or even before adding to a crock pot or pressure cooker. The browning adds a tremendous amount of richness and a nice depth of flavor to the broth or sauce, especially in low sodium recipes.
This browning technique also helps the food look extremely rich and appetizing. When food looks good it will taste better. Many folks have trouble with their appetites on a low sodium diet. They complain that the food doesn’t taste good. So many times it’s simply because the food doesn’t look good, they don’t want to try it. They know it isn’t going to taste good because it is pale and unappetizing. Taking the time to do this one cooking technique will make such a difference in both appearance and flavor.
Remember to let your food brown and take your time when browning. This is one of the most basic and one of the most important of all cooking tips and will make a big difference towards more flavorful low sodium recipes.