Essential knowledge 19: Rescuing Dishes (補救須知)

須知單::補救須知
名手調羹,鹹淡合宜,老嫩如式,原無需補救。不得已,為中人說法則:調味者,寧淡毋鹹;淡可加鹽以救之,鹹則不能使之再淡矣。烹魚者,寧嫩毋老,嫩可加火候以補之,老則不能強之再嫩矣。此中消息,於一切下作料時,靜觀火色便可參詳。

List of Essential Knowledge::Rescuing Dishes
A chef of the utmost calibre can create a dish with every element seasoned and cooked to perfection, never needing to rescue any dish from failure. However for the sake of the common cook, we shall speak about how to save a failing dish. When seasoning a dish, one prefers to fail on making it too bland rather than too salty. A bland dish can be rescued by adding more salt, but an overly salty dish cannot be made less salty.[1] When cooking fish, one rather that it be undercooked than overcooked. An undercooked fish can further cooked to doneness, while an overcooked fish cannot be made less cooked. In regards to how to figure this out, one simply needs to carefully watch one’s cooking technique when preparing a dish.[2]

Random notes:
[1]: Actually, this is not completely true. For stuff like stews and soups you can just add more stock and ingredients.

[2]: I think the term “此中”, is probably comes from the term “此中三昧”. This this case it means roughly to either “reveal the truth” or “to figure out”. Is this right?

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