Mar 02

Different cooking methods

Frying: This method involves using oil or fat to cook. Usually, the oil is heated to high temperature to allow it to cook the food. Food may be deep or shallow fried. Deep frying involves using a large amount of oil and submerging the food in the hot oil. Deep frying is known to be unhealthy because of the high use of oil and the cholesterol and calories that the food is rich in. My favorite deep fried preparation is poori. Here is a post where I have spoken about poori and its accompaniments.

Shallow frying, or pan frying involves using a lesser amount of oil, and allowing the oil or fat to cook the food. This usually takes longer than deep frying. Sauté is another technique which is similar to pan frying but uses less oil and frequent tossing of the food. This usually uses higher heat than pan frying, which uses moderately high heat.

Slow cooking: This method involves providing sustained heat to a preparation, often at lower temperatures. The temperature is high enough to kill bacteria and cook the food over a prolonged period of time, however allowing it to remain tender and become more flavorful than stove-top cooking. Especially when cooking meat, slow cookers will produce tender yet flavorful results. My favorite recipe for the slow cooker is for dal makhani. This is a dal that was originally meant to be slow cooked in order to get the best flavors.

Baking: This method involves using an enclosed space and heating the food in a metal, glass or ceramic container at high temperatures. Some preparations may need temperatures as low as 250 degree F, but most baking is done at higher temperatures, up to 550 degree F. Baking is great for making lots of desserts such as cakes and pies, and some entrée preparations also cook great when baked. Here is a great recipe for baking a pie.

This cooking method (baking) is a healthy alternate to a lot of fried preparations, since it maintains the high heat element without requiring oil. Taste may vary slightly but it is fairly close to the fried effect.

Steam: This is a method that uses water to cook food. The water is heated to a very high temperature, till it begins to evaporate and the water vapor or steam cooks the food that it comes in contact with. This requires special utensils, since the food does not get in direct contact with the water before it evaporates. My favorite steamed preparation is dumplings. Idli is another great steamed preparation, very healthy and delicious. This is an easy recipe. There are many other methods of wet cooking or cooking with the use of water such as blanching, boiling, simmering among others.

Roasting: This is very similar to baking, wherein food is cooked with indirect heat and uncovered. Much like baking, the outer crust is cooked to become crisp and brown. The difference lies in the temperature at which the food is cooked- while baking will require longer cooking at lower temperatures, roasting

required the food to be cooked faster and at higher temperatures. This is used entrees usually, though roasted ingredients make part of all courses of a meal. Flambe: This term comes from the French word meaning flaming. The process requires the food to be cooked directly in fire by adding liquor to it. This provides for a great visual effect and also enhances flavors without having to add alcohol to the food. This can be used to make anything, from salads to desserts.

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