Right cooking methods for right food facilitate in bringing out precise texture and taste of food. Here are some of them which will not only expand your culinary knowledge but will also contribute in making you a good cook.
Boiling: This comes under cooking with moist heat. Cooking with moist heat means applying heat to food by directly submerging it in hot water or liquid or exposing it to steam. In the method of boiling, food is covered with a required quantity of water and heated to boiling point (100 degrees at sea level). Different food requires different level/ quantities of water and time. For instance — lentils and rice take a longer time than fresh vegetables and need more water to cook.
Stewing: It is a process whereby food is cooked for a longer time in liquid below the boiling point. Once the liquid is boiled, temperature is reduced and food is allowed to cook in its juices. This method works great for meat, vegetables, and legumes.
Steaming: This again is an example of cooking with moist heat. Here, food is cooked in water vapour. Steaming is considered to be a healthy way of cooking as it doesn’t require any oil or fat. Water is heated in a pan, food is placed on a dish with holes and then covered and cooked with steam passing through it. Dim sums, momos, caramel custard are good examples of food being steamed.
Poaching: It is a method used to cook food rich in proteins such as eggs and fish. Water is boiled first and then the temperature is reduced. After the temperature is brought down, the ingredient is then placed in the hot liquid or water and cooked. Eggs cooked by poaching are healthier than fried ones as no fat is used in poaching.
Blanching: Requires food to be put in boiling water and cooked for 30 seconds to 1 and half minutes depending on the food type. It is then drained and submerged in ice cold water. Blanching is an effective way to preserve colour and nutrients in food. Spinach tastes best when blanched. These are some methods using moist heat for cooking and serve to be a good guide for new entrants in the kitchen.