Cooking is the most versatile form of art. The way we cook speaks a lot about our background, culture and more.While eating/feeding is a necessity to survive for all species, only human beings endeavour to transform food into something more. But before becoming culinary artists, it is imperative that we learn and master basic cooking methods first. These commonly used cooking methods can be divided into two general groups.
Dry Heat Cookery Methods:
In dry heat cooking methods, the food being cooked does not use water to cook the food. The food is left dry and heat is applied to cook the food.
In baking, the food is cooked using convection heating. The food is put into an enclosed area where heat is then applied and the movement of heat within the confined space, acts on the food to cook it through.
Some quick tips that will help you become a better baker are:
- Use room temperature ingredients. Buy good quality bakeware.
- Always use the correct consistency of butter.
Keep your ingredients ready before you start baking.
- Make sure you measure and weigh all ingredients accurately.
Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below. Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat quickly.
For better grilling keep in mind the following tips:
- Always pre – heat your grill 15-20 minutes before you start grilling to make sure it reaches the right temperature.
- Use a long-handled wire grill brush on your grill rack to clean off charred debris from prior meals when the grill is hot.
- Oil your grill to avoid food sticking.
With roasting, direct heat is applied to the food. The heat seals the outside part of the food and the juice inside the food cooks the food. Roasting is one of the simplest techniques, since it requires little or no attention during the cooking process. It’s the preferred method for large, juicy cuts of meat, starchy, sugar-rich vegetables, and even fresh fruits.
- Start by pre heating the oven by 425*F (convert this to degree)) .
- Cut the vegetables shorter so that they take shorter roasting time.
- Roast until they turn golden-brown and tender.
Microwaving is cooking food in a microwave oven. It is often quicker and more convenient than equivalent methods such as boiling or baking. Many vegetables, for example, can be microwaved instead of boiled or steamed.
Tips to keep in mind when you plan to use this method:
- Always cover your dishes in the microwave.
- Arrange our food carefully so that they cook evenly.
- Don’t try recipes that require a lot of water since they won’t cook well.
- Stir your food frequently.
Moist Heat Cookery Methods:
This is the most common method of cooking and is also the simplest. With this method of cooking, enough water is added to food and it is then cooked over heat. The action of the heated water makes the food tender.
Tips for boiling foods better:
- While boiling, water lost by evaporation must be replaced.
- Any scum that rises must be removed
- The cooking liquid must be drained away as soon as the food is boiled to prevent over-cooking.
When food is fried it is important that you observe some rules in handling oil or fat.
- Make sure there is enough oil or fat put in the frying pan or a deep frying pan.
- The food to be cooked must not have water dripping from it. This is because when water comes into contact with hot oil, you will have the oil sizzling and spitting out of the pan, which could burn your skin if you are not careful.
- The oil should be heated to the right temperature before putting food into the pan to be fried.
The method of cooking food by barbequing is usually associated parties and picnics. It is most suitable to cooking meat cutlets, fish or chicken pieces through this method of cooking. The food is usually marinated with spices and tenderizers for some time before it is cooked. The key to a delicious barbeque is the precise mix of time and temperature. It takes patience and concentration. You need to wait for the flames to die down, that’s the right time to start cooking.
Blanching is a cooking process where the food, usually a vegetable or fruit, is scalded in boiling water, removed after a brief interval and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water to halt the cooking process. To blanch food prior to cooking, put water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove the scum if any. Put the veggies in the boiling water for a brief period. Remove the veggies with tongs or drain the hot water. Immerse blanched veggies in cold water immediately to prevent veggies from further cooking.