Expectation vs. reality: 5 home cooking fails every Malaysian can relate to

We’ve all had our moments in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes or taking on a cooking project and finding out later that we bit off more than we can chew.

Some of us think that cooking is a piece of cake but in reality, even cooking something as simple as an egg takes a lot of knowledge and attention. Malaysians face quite a few common cooking fails and we admit we’ve been through some too, like these ones listed below:

1. Gourmet instant noodles

EXPECTATION: a 5-star bowl of ramen

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When it comes to instant noodles, we’re free to experiment with extra ingredients. We could add prawns, veggies, meat, special sauces and other condiments. To some degree, we always expect our bowl of instant noodles to look and taste like a full meal.

REALITY: Bland, soupy noodles with too much MSG

ramen 2

Unfortunately, this is how it usually turns out, with the broth looking and tasting almost like water because the most common mistake is adding in too much water. Sometimes, we even end up with no broth at all since it all evaporates from boiling too long while we’re preparing other ingredients. No matter how many extra ingredients you put in, there’s just not enough to compensate for the lack of flavour. Adding more packets of seasoning might help with the taste but you’re also adding more MSG to your ramen.

2. Cooking eggs can be quite tricky

EXPECTATION: Perfectly cooked eggs

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Getting your eggs cooked just right, whether it’s a sunny side up with runny yolk or soft and fluffy scrambled eggs, is easier said than done. For the particularly skilled, preparing poached eggs without breaking the whites encasing a melted yolk makes for a super satisfying breakfast.

REALITY: An overcooked egg that’s mostly burnt

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But eggs are actually quite tricky to cook if you want to get it right. Most times, we don’t have the patience to cook eggs over a low flame and they either get cooked to a crisp or sometimes burnt entirely. It’s pretty subjective though, and we won’t judge if you prefer crispy eggs.

Undercooked eggs, on the other hand, could be bad for your health too as they may contain Salmonella, a bacteria harmful to humans.

3. Making home-cooked food look as pretty as possible

EXPECTATION: Dinner with fancy plating 

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You’ve watched a ton of cooking videos on YouTube and have a recipe book and all the kitchen cookware for preparing a fancy home-cooked meal. The meal is also presented in a way that will surely impress your date for the night.

REALITY: The dish looks like it was arranged by your 5-year-old sibling

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Just when you thought you had prepared a 5-star meal, the plating looks painfully basic and Gordon Ramsay would be sorely disappointed. There are also those who use too many sauces and unnecessary garnishes that make the entire dish a lot more unhealthy. But hey, at least your date will appreciate the effort.

4. Cooking perfect nasi goreng

EXPECTATION: Flavourful and aromatic fried rice

ramen 7

Fried rice is a way to spice things up with your leftover rice from the day before. When done right, you get a rice dish with so much taste, you hardly need anything else on top except maybe a telur goreng or some shrimps.

REALITY: Mushy and super oily fried rice

This is quite a common mistake made by Malaysians when cooking fried rice. Some who are in a rush to make fried rice tend to not let the cooked rice cool first before throwing it in the wok and the rice, fresh from the rice cooker, might still be wet or damp. This makes the rice come out mushy when you fry it and you might have tried to compensate for the water by adding more oil to the pan, making the dish super oily and unhealthy. The best way to prepare rice to make fried rice is to store it overnight.

5. Getting your pasta cooked just right

EXPECTATION: Perfectly cooked, al dente pasta


There’s a sweet spot when cooking pasta and that is knowing how long to boil them in the pot. When you get it right, your pasta will be soft but retain some texture that is pleasant enough to enjoy when you chew.

REALITY: Overcooked, undercooked or over-salted pasta

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It’s easy to forget your pasta boiling away in the pot while you prepare the other ingredients. This usually causes your pasta to be overcooked and you’ll end up eating a mushy spaghetti dish that might as well be baby food covered in Bolognese sauce. Many people also tend to over-salt their pasta so it won’t be so tasteless, but the sauce might already have enough salt and adding more salt to the pasta will only give excess sodium, which is bad for health.

Or, you might be in a hurry to cook and you drain the pasta before it’s properly cooked and everyone ends up feeling like they’re eating pencil lead. It’s best not to rush pasta to get the best results but if you’re really rushing, you might want to consider shopping for instant pasta.

Source: World of Buzz


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