I don't often have cooking disasters but.........


(John Hartley) #1

We love dosas - the very thin South Indian pancake that usually gets served with a coconut chutney sambhar. But it’s always looked a tricky thing to prepare and cook. So, it was with some considerable pleasure that we saw a packet of ready mix in one of the asian shops. It just needed water adding. As did a packet of ready mix sambhar.

I made a coconut chutney - coconut, chopped chilli and ginger into the blender with a little oil and a few tablespoons of water. A quick whizz turned out something of the right consistency and flavour.

Then it came to cooking the dosas. I’ve watched it being done on TV and the packet explained the process in the same way. A little batter goes into a frying pan and is swirled round with the ladle. It cooks - just on one side. Yeah, well, that’s the theory.

The packet said start with a cold pan and heat a little oil before doing the poury, swirly thing. It sat there like a beige gloop for the three times we tried, even though the pan had got hot. Then it stuck to my very good non-stick pan. So, we looked in a cookbook which said to start with a hot pan, etc - so we did. It did start to crisp up and we thought we were on a winner. Then it stuck before being properly cooked. As did the next two attempts. At which we point we gave up and had some salmon and salad for lunch.

Care to share your latest disaster with the wider world?


(Junior) #2

I never have cooking disasters. Do I screw things up? Sure I do, but when I do I don’t say what it was supposed to be, I say it’s done in the style of…then if people don’t like it I just say well next time I’ll just make…

It’s all about the spin.


(Robin) #3

Agreed - hence my propensity to make molten chocolate brownies. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


(Jimmy ) #4

I’m sure that there are dozens in my past, but I keep them padlocked away in a very dark room in the recesses of my mind.

I do remember the first time I served my family tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I pan fried the sandwiches dark, after slathering both sides with mayonaise. I thought it was a triumph. The other six around the table thought the sandwiches were “vile”.


(Chris) #5

I’ve seen those mixes & been tempted. Always thought it’s not really my forte. Also given the length of dosas I always thought a plancha was needed rather than a pan.

My worst disaster was an attempt was for a Eurovision party , everyone had to make a dish from a different contestant and I pulled Poland from the hat. I tried to make perogi but ended up with more dough on my hands than the board and an unworkable mess that wouldn’t form perogi. I gave up and made a smoked sausage and potato salad. It felt a bit of a cop out until my friend who pulled Israel out of the hat turned up with a tub of supermarket humuus. Though having tasted his cooking it was probably for the best.


(John Hartley) #6

Some are quite decent - look for the unfortunately named “Gits” brand.

On our first Christmas together, Mes H decided to try and match my mother by way of the Xmas lunch. Now, that involves a brandy flavoured white sauce with the Xmas pudding. Mrs H was not an experienced cook back then, so bought a packet white sauce mix to which she added milk and brandy and warmed through. So, it got poured on my Xmas pud and it was vile. Which was hardly surprising at it turned out to be a onion sauce mix. I still like to mention it on occasions - and, no, it still doesnt go down well when I do.


( :@)) :@)) ) #7

Once I attempted to make Vietnamese tapioca and prawn dumplings using recipe on the back of the flour package. The measurements were all off, the dough was disastrous had to throw it out. Plan B for a meal was something from the cupboard.


#8

My disaster was this turnip cake (Lo Bak Go), a Chinese dim sum delicacy. Two weeks ago, I followed a recipe of a 2 star Michelin chef in Hong Kong, after reading the happy comments. After more than an hour of steaming, I didn’t see the mixture becoming “cake like”, I gave up, we just ate them like steamed sliced vegetables, not bad, but since they weren’t not in cake form, I couldn’t fried pan them in slices. I think the problem was the radish I slice was too big and not cooked enough in the beginning, with barely enough rice flour paste, they couldn’t be stuck together. Another problem may be the need to increase time of cooking and the use a more shallow dish to cook.

Another time, I use the Staub cast iron terrine pot and steamed inside another big casserole, in which I covered the terrine pot with the cover so the steaming vapour wouldn’t fall back to the cake. The cake was formed (using another recipe) after maybe 2 hours, but the rice stuck the lid and no way I couldn’t open it, and I tried adding water, using more heat, even knife, taking the risk to destroy the terrine…
In the end, I succeeded and the cake was eaten, but it took me at least half an hour.

Just be careful with rice, it is a powerful glue.

I don’t want to give up, but this dish gave me misery.


#9

One winter long ago in the apartment where I lived at the time, I had made the most gorgeous chicken stock in the crock pot, straining all that chickeny goodness into a large Pyrex bowl. I needed a place to put the full bowl out of the way while while I wiped down counters and made room in the fridge for the large bowl to cool down. So I put the Pyrex bowl in the most open area I had in my small kitchen…a cold stainless steel sink.

KABOOM!!! The hot bowl shattered, sending chicken stock up and out of the sink, onto the counters, the floor, the window behind the sink…and down the kitchen drain.

I didn’t give a crap about the bowl. I only cared about that perfect chicken stock. :::Sigh:::

Kaboom


#10

30ish years ago, I invited someone over that I was trying to impress. I had more ambition than skill, cooking-wise, so I chose an interesting recipe from the New York Times for shrimp patties. Or burgers. Or fritters. Anyway, something that’s supposed to stick together. Long story short, it did not, and I kept trying various binders - eggs! bread crumbs! oil! (remember that lack of skill?) - none of which worked. I ended up with what could charitably be described as shrimp hash, which my guest, to his credit, ate. I never attempted the recipe again, but I still get flashbacks whenever I make falafel or like that.


#11

Making someone else “sick”, as in gastroenteritis. That would be my disaster. Only me so far.

While the hubs was away, I was"sick". Perhaps from oysters I’d bought, but maybe not. I perservered. Must have been something else.


(saregama) #12

Ohhhhh dosa. Yes. @Harters may I suggest uttapams as an alternative at home - not thin and crunchy, but easier and flavorful (and you can vary toppings like an omelette).

For thin & crisp dosa, either you have to be an expert (I am not) in which case you can use any pan, or you have to be careful and finicky - I now use my carbon steel crepe pan, and no other.

Also, the batter needs to be thin enough to spread, and the pan needs to be neither hot nor cold - easiest way to manage this is to keep a bowl of cold water + oil next to you, and dip a wadded paper towel in it and spread over the pan between dosai - this cools down the pan and adds a thin layer of oil.

There are lots of helpful YouTube videos.

And if all else fails, the same batter makes great idlis/dhoklas - spread into a greased cake pan and steam!

Dosai are definitely on my list of past cooking disasters - a nephew once proposed that we never eat them at home again🤣 - we have since recovered from that!


(saregama) #13

I tried to “shortcut” a tres leches cake by using a trusted buttermilk cake recipe… needless to say, it was neither light nor airy, and completely failed to absorb the mixture of milks. Dense as a tyre.


#14

I love the Tres Leches cake but found it very reasonable to just buy it from Costco . Reasonable and taste good and light


(saregama) #15

I was trying to make an indian-flavored one for a festive meal… next time (if there is a next time :joy:) I’ll just buy the angel food cake and then do what I’m trying to do with the milks!


(John Hartley) #16

Good suggestion - thanks. I do enjoy uttapams whenever I order them at a restaurant.


(John) #17

We always go out for Valentines Day dinner. Some years ago, when my kitchen skills were a bit less than what they are now, I tried a new recipe for Valentines dinner. Chicken Mole from an Emeril recipe. Remember when Emeril was on tv every night? Well, I was missing a couple ingredients so I made a couple substitutions. After a lot of work & a lot of cooking the end result was an inedible mess of chicken mole. It was so bad that the dog wouldn’t eat the chicken even AFTER I rinsed off the sauce. So, I said to the love of my life "Wanna go to the Japanese Steakhouse for dinner?’. Which we did and we’ve gone out for Valentines dinner ever since. In memory of that wonderful recipe.


#18

My daughter had some teeth out yesterday, so it’s all soft foods around here. I just spooned out a heap of MSG for the big pot of soup I am making, and proceeded to pour it into the small pan of butterscotch pudding on the other burner.


(DeMarko) #19

Although I’ve been cooking for decades, I still have the occasional disaster. During my home canning mania in September I was making an habanero peach jam that I was cooking down in lieu of using pectin. Due to my multi tasking and inattention, I scorched the crap out of the bottom of it. Being really mad at myself I was getting ready to dump it in the garbage. But I tasted it 1st & it was delicious! So I named it carmelized peach habanero jam. Turns out everyone loves it, so it was a good “save” Luckily there were no black specks in it. I have often turned failures into successes. If you over bake a quick bread, you can turn it into bread pudding & etc.

The other disaster was scary in that I accidentally set myself on fire! I was boiling eggs for Easter & was climbing a stool over the stove to get the food coloring. All was ok until my belly started to feel warmer and warmer, so looked down & realized my thin cotton shirt was on fire. Reacting in panic I pulled it over my head, threw it on the kitchen rug & worked at putting out the shirt fire & the rug that caught fire as well. Poured myself a generous glass of wine & got dressed. Pretty shaken up, but didn’t have a single burn anywhere on my body - lucky! The shirt now resides in the hall of flame & is pulled out & shown to all dinner party guests (joking). Be safe all, kitchens can be dangerous.:upside_down_face: