Mastering Different Cooking Methods
Master the art of various cooking methods to elevate your culinary skills. Explore techniques like roasting, sautéing, grilling, and more, unlocking a world of flavors in your kitchen creations.
Believe me! Cooking is not as difficult as you imagine it to be. Just invest some time and effort in understanding the methods, and you are good to go. The more cooking methods you know, the more dishes you can make.
Every day we go online to search for cooking recipes for our favorite foods, but we often get confused with the cooking terminologies. This can sometimes be frustrating and lead to a total lack of interest in cooking. But don’t you think that we are forgetting something? Well, let me tell you for free that understanding all cooking methods will help you get the desired results from your recipes. And in this article, I’ll try to explain these cooking methods in an easily comprehensible way.
Understanding Cooking Methods
Cooking is simply the art of using heat to make food more palatable, digestible, nutritious, or safe for eating. Therefore, Cooking methods describe the techniques a chef uses to cook food using heat to bring out unique flavor and texture. This is what distinguishes the best restaurants from the rest. Cooking methods are grouped into two categories: dry-heat cooking methods and moist-heat cooking methods.
Dry-Heat Cooking Methods
This method does not require water to cook the food. Even if you use water during the preparation, it will evaporate during the heating process because heat is applied directly to the food by way of convection (i.e., the transfer of heat), therefore allowing the movement of air around the food. Examples of such cooking methods include baking, steaming, grilling, and roasting.
- Baking:- you can see this at every restaurant nearby. It is a method of cooking that involves convection heating. Here the food is placed in a confined area (e.g., an oven), where heat is applied, and the movement of heat within the enclosed space acts on the food to make it get cooked.
- Steaming:- This cooking method is very good for vegetables and moi-moi. Here, water is added to a pot, and then a stand is placed inside the pot. (Note that the water level should be under the stand and not above it.) Then the Food is placed on the stand, and heat is applied. The hot steam rising from the boiling water will act on the food as it gets cooked. The hot steam cooks the food, as there is no direct contact between the food and the water inside the pot.
- Grilling:- This happens when food is cooked over hot charcoal on an open fire. Most cooking recipes will ask that the food is placed on top of the burning charcoal or wire mesh. But the effective method is using grills that are inbuilt in stoves. Here the griller, which has a tray, is heated up, and the food is placed on the grill tray to cook. The heat can either be electric-generated or gas-generated, depending on the type of stove used.
- Roasting:- this method is mainly used when cooking fleshy foods like chicken, meat, or fish. When heat is applied to the outer part of the food, it seals it up with all the juices inside. Then the action of direct heating will heat up the juices inside the food, which then cook the food. There might be a little loss of nutrients, but the flavor is intact. This method has helped me a lot, especially when I go camping and no restaurant is nearby.
Moist-Heat Cooking Methods
Unlike the dry-heat method, this method uses liquid as a medium to cook the food. Such a medium could either be water or oil. The liquids can be added to the food before heat is applied, or sometimes heat is applied to the liquid before the food is added to the cooking utensils, depending on the food you want to cook. The moist-heat cooking methods include: boiling, stewing, and frying.
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- Boiling:- This is the most common cooking method and the simplest. You don’t need cooking recipes to tell you how to boil your food. Here, enough water is added to the food, which is then cooked over the fire. When cooking, the liquid is usually thrown away after the food is cooked. A very good example of this method is rice. You will notice that all the water is absorbed by the rice grains during heating. But in the case of yam, the water is being poured away.
- Stewing:- This is a method of cooking that requires a lot of liquid. It also requires food to be cut into uniform pieces and completely submerged in liquid. With this cooking method, all ingredients and spices can be cooked together simultaneously in one pot. An example is tomato stew or pepper soup. The flavor, colors, shapes, and textures of the different ingredients that are used make up the stewing method of cooking. Knowing this technique can get you a job in any of the best restaurants in town.
- Frying:- This is a method of cooking food in hot oil or other fat. Frying can take several forms, from deep-frying, where the food is completely immersed in hot oil, to sautéing, where food is cooked in a frying pan with only a thin oil coating. Frying is considered the fastest way of cooking because it is the most efficient way to transfer heat into food. Examples of fried food are doughnuts, plantains, pancakes, etc.
How to Master Different Cooking Methods
You don’t have to own the best restaurants before you can master the cooking methods. To master all types of cooking methods, all you need is time and, of course, an informative guide. These techniques below allow you to work with various ingredients, kitchen tools, and equipment to achieve consistent, flavorful dishes.
- Know your ingredients: it is very important for you to understand how your ingredients will behave when subjected to different cooking methods, like steaming, boiling, roasting, and baking. This way, you will be able to adjust your cooking recipes accordingly. Also, practice using fresh and high-quality ingredients, as they can add more taste to your food and boost your palate and ego.
- Familiarize yourself with basic cooking skills: understanding the cooking techniques is fundamental to success in the kitchen because sometimes recipes can be so confusing, but with proper cooking skills, you can always find your way around the kitchen. You can begin with knife skills, how to chop an onion, poaching, etc. So that when the cooking recipe asks you to sauté or braise an ingredient, a lack of knowledge won’t jeopardize your chances of producing a delicious meal.
- Equip yourself with the right tools: knowing the right utensils to use will not only save you a lot of time (and tears), but it will make a world of difference to your cooking skills. Also, knowing which category of pot or pan to use for a particular food is very important; this will go a long way in preventing your food from burning. For example, if you are using a frying pan, you need to apply oil to prevent your food from sticking to the pan. You can visit any restaurant nearby to enquire about the latest cooking tools.
- Keep practicing: nobody acquires their cooking skills overnight. Before you can perfect anything, it will take lots and lots of practice, so just keep going, and you will definitely see some steady improvement. Even if you end up cooking something you’re not happy with, just use it as a lesson to learn from so that you can have a better option to cook that food next time. And once you get more confident with your basic cooking skills and become more familiar with different food ingredients, don’t be afraid to give it your best shot. Who knows? You might own the best restaurants in your neighborhood.
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