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Cooking techniques: What are they and how to do them? The most used in a kitchen. Tips and tricks

Cooking techniques: What are they and how to do them? The most used in a kitchen. Tips and tricks

No doubt. Cooking is a science . When we cook, a large number of chemical reactions occur that we often do not even realize. This alters the cooked product in different ways depending on the technique we use. Frying is not the same as baking.

Some time ago we explained to you ” the different cooking techniques that you should know to cook deliciously “, today we go a little further, we bring you the most used and well-known cooking techniques, explained in detail , so that you can easily know the differences between one and the other and how they affect food, thus being able to choose the one that best suits you.

Depending on the food we want to cook, we will keep it in the cooking water for more or less time. For this reason, the general values ​​are not applicable for all foods because each of them is sensitive to the effects and types of cooking.

What are the methods and types of cooking

  • Dry cooking, by air or by concentration.
  • Cooking in a fatty medium.
  • Cooking by humidity, in a liquid, aqueous medium or moist heat.
  • Mixed or combined cooking.

Types of cooking and their effects on food

1. Steam cooking

Steaming is the flagship of healthy eating lovers. It consists of the water vapor being responsible for heating and cooking the food in question, something that is done slowly and uniformly.

This method is becoming more and more popular as it seems to be the best option. If you decide to cook them until al dente, the nutrients in the food will remain practically intact. The texture that food acquires when cooked in this way, the flavors tend to please us and it will, therefore, be easier to eat vegetables in greater quantities. The amount of vitamins that are lost is very small since they are diluted in the water. In addition, the fats necessary for cooking are minimal so the final result is much lighter.

A point in favor of this method is the bioavailability that we will obtain of sulforane, antioxidants, folates, glucosinolates and carotenoids. This modality, at the same time, allows us to dispense with the use of oil to prepare our foods, which will prevent the compounds formed by heating the oil from forming.

To steam cook, you should know:

  • Firstly, it is necessary that it is not cooked above 100º C because not as many nutrients will be lost.
  • If we cook al dente we will be able to maintain both the color and texture of the food.
  • For uniform cooking, we will keep the water boiling and cut the food evenly.
  • To prepare steamed foods, the ideal is for them to be fresh and cut in a similar way so that the cooking process lasts the same amount of time for all of them.
  • It is essential that the pot containing the water is covered so that the steam does not escape anywhere and that the food is not in direct contact with the boiling water.

The main foods that are steamed are vegetables, which are very tender, but you can also cook meats and fish, maintaining their original juices and flavors.

If you want to cook this way, we recommend materials dedicated to this type of cooking. Among them we can find both silicone and glass steamers , steamer pots that have temperature control and finally, you have the option of using electric steamers that include a timer and possible programming.

2. Cook or boil

When we try to cook food and to do so we include a lot of water, it is quite likely that a good part of the vitamins are lost. Water at a temperature above 100º C penetrates very easily into food and drags away nutrients.

Among the nutrients that are lost the most, we can find among others; vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid. A good part of these are found in the water in which we have cooked the food, so if you use it to prepare other dishes, you will be able to obtain all those nutrients and not waste them.

This technique consists of putting food in boiling water for a period of time. Cooking prevents food poisoning, helps maintain the flavor of food and makes it more digestible, although if it is cooked too much it can lose its nutrients. Meats for broth, fresh vegetables, legumes, fish and eggs are added to the water while it is still cold, while pasta, rice and some vegetables are added when the water has already started to boil.

Tricks for boiling food to reduce the loss of ingredients:

  • If we soak the vegetables before chopping and/or peeling them, the amount of vitamins they will lose will increase.
  • Use as little water as possible.
  • If we add salt to the water, the nutrients will pass more easily into the water.
  • If you are not going to use the cooking water, strain them quickly.
  • After 20 minutes, half of the vitamin C in the food will have been diluted in the water.
  • It is recommended that the ingredients be cooked without cutting, that is, in whole pieces.
  • If you cook them with the skin, the retention of nutrients will be greater.
  • Add the vegetables when the water has started to boil, not before.
  • Simmering or blanching

It is one of the healthiest cooking methods. It consists of cooking the food for a few seconds and then placing it in cold water to stop the cooking. This water will be very cold, almost frozen, and with this we can achieve the preservation of color, flavor and texture.

If it is boiled for a short period of time, in addition to breaking down the fiber of the food, it is an ideal way to cook vegetables because the nutrients are perfectly preserved and the result is ideal for sauces, creams and broths.

3. Cook with the microwave

We can talk about a subcategory of cooking food , which would be everything we do in microwaves. These emit electromagnetic waves inside the device that cause vibrations in the water of the food, generating heat through friction. These devices do not cook the food directly, but rather they heat the water that the food has inside. And that hot water is actually responsible for cooking the food.

Although it cannot be baked or fried, practically all foods can be prepared in a healthy way in the microwave since it preserves almost all the vitamins. According to the WHO, foods cooked in the microwave are just as safe and maintain the same nutritional value as foods cooked in a conventional oven. The biggest difference is that the heat goes deeper into the food and cooks faster. To cook in the microwave you have to be careful since the cooking times are shorter than in a traditional oven.

Microwave potato omelette

The ideal is to check the degree of cooking a few minutes before to see if it is ready or needs more time. It must also be taken into account that foods placed in the corners or edges may be drier than those in the center, so the best utensils to use in the microwave are those that are round.

With the microwave we can defrost food, heat food directly on the plate on which it is going to be served, prepare sauces, purees or creams, biscuits, melt butter, cheese or chocolate, cook food or gratin if the appliance has that function. Also roast meat or cook fish. A lot of functions in such a small device.

If you know how to handle it well, it can help you a lot in the kitchen. On the blog you also have a lot of recipes made with it, you just have to search for some in our search engine. From a potato omelette , a chocolate cake , some vegetables , a cheesecake , a fish or our famous microwave potatoes .

4. Braise or stew

Here what we are looking for is that the food is cooked in its own juices, thus maintaining all the minerals and almost all the vitamins. Liquids are often added to the stew to make it more watery, such as broths or wines.

It is a cooking process that is below the boiling point in which the bubbling is very slight and the temperature is always below 95º C. The foods we use will be cooked thanks to the juice they give off and for a period of time. long time. In addition, this type of cooking is ideal since it does not lose minerals or nutrients.

The difference with braising is that in that first the bed of vegetables can be cooked, and in the stew everything is cooked from the beginning over low heat, sometimes special slow cooking pots are used such as the crock pot or slow cooker , In fact, a Slow Food movement has emerged , which I love and which produces delicious recipes, I will talk to you in another article in detail about it.

On our blog we have done a special on stews, « Tips for stewing and braising meat. Your perfect stews and stews .” When we talk about stewing or braising meat, doubts always arise. Many of you send me your questions by email and I incorporate them into this Galician recipe book so that you get a perfect stewed meat.

5. Sauté. Sauté as the basis of our recipes

It is one of the most common and is a method used in most traditional cooking recipes of the Spanish gastronomic culture. This cooking will be healthy as long as the food does not brown or burn and the pan or casserole is made of appropriate materials.

To prepare stir-fried foods, little oil will be used and the heat will need to be kept low, otherwise the vegetables may burn.

We share with you some excellent tricks so that the stir-fry turns out impressive:

  • It is vitally important that the temperature is low or medium-low.
  • Poaching should be done over low heat and with a small pinch of salt so that the food juices are expelled.
  • You can add water or broth in order to reduce the cooking temperature and prevent the food from sticking.
  • Short wok stir-fry.
  • The ideal temperature is approximately 200º C and for no more than 5 minutes, using this method of cooking, you will not lose excessive glucosinolates.

And of course, we have an article on our blog to make the best stir-fry in the world in great detail. And three types of sofrito so that you always have on hand to be the base of many of your recipes.

For vegetables, it is one of the healthiest options since the result will be a wonderful dish of vegetables cooked al dente. This way of cooking will vary depending on the vegetable we want to prepare since it will have to remain for more or less time.

6. Roasting, toasting and browning foods. Maillard reaction

This is what should be attributed to the toasted flavor and attractive color of the food. This reaction occurs between an amino acid and a carbohydrate molecule, which gives rise to new molecules. It should occur mainly in the covering of the food, that is, on the outside of what we are cooking and generally this reaction will occur if we cook it in oil or in the oven.

The roasting technique consists of exposing food to a heat source such as embers, fire or hot air from the oven with a minimum of fat. Here cooking is done slowly at a low temperature, so that the heat is distributed evenly throughout the food, keeping the inside juicy but forming a crust on the outside. Normally the roast is prepared in the oven or over embers and fire, although there are also other ways such as spitting or salting.

This cooking method greatly reduces the nutritional value of the food we are cooking, in addition to some of the compounds in the meat we cook will influence both premature cerebral and vascular aging. That is why roasting affects food by eliminating some vitamins and denaturing proteins, so that it is much easier for people to digest. In addition, heat caramelizes the sugars in the ingredients, which increases that characteristic “crust” effect.

It must be taken into account that not all foods require the same time. Meats need a lower temperature and more time than fish to roast well. In the case of vegetables, the ideal is to use those that are more meaty, such as zucchini, eggplant or tomato, but keep in mind that, although it enhances the flavor, almost 25% of the vegetable’s vitamins are lost. when cooking it this way.

If you are going to cook any roasted food, it is best not to pierce it during the cooking process so that it does not lose its juices and become dry. As for the salt, it is best to put it on the plate when it starts to take color, because this way we also prevent it from dehydrating.

6A. Braised or in its juice

It is a technique that derives from the previous one, roasting, although I think it should have a separate section, since it is done in a liquid medium, generally fatty, and a lid is used. On many occasions it is used to cook large pieces of meat such as lamb, poultry or pork. Cooking is slow, thus allowing the meat to be well cooked, tender and shiny.

In the kitchen it is recommended to prepare a vegetable stock (carrot, celery, onion, etc…), which will be cooked with a little fat, wine, water or stocks (broths). A generous amount of liquid should be added as it should last the entire cooking time. It is made in an oven at low temperatures and with a lid, sometimes closed hermetically.

7. Bake or bake. Use the oven to cook

Baking consists of preparing a food inside the oven thanks to the heat that you can use with the grill or with the air. With the grill, the heat comes from only one direction (normally up) and browns the food, giving that crunchy touch. With the air, the heat is distributed everywhere and cooks the food evenly.

When cooking meat in the oven, a crust is produced on the surface of the meat that eliminates part of the vitamins from the meat, making it much easier to digest. Additionally, when the crust forms you ensure that the interior is tender and juicy. As for vegetables, the best ones to bake are meaty ones like tomatoes, zucchini or onions. To bake them without problems, the ideal is to put them whole in the oven to prevent them from drying out.

Thanks to this method, the loss of nutritional value is much lower than in boiling, which is because the fact that it is cooked dry makes it easier for the heat to concentrate on the outside of the food more easily. Whenever it is produced above 200º C, the amount of acrylamides in the food will be greater, which are produced once foods with a high carbohydrate content are toasted or roasted.

Tips for baking well:

  • If you are going to cook with an oven, it is best to always preheat it before using it, because this way the recipe is made at the ideal temperature.
  • If you want to prevent the food from drying out too much in the oven, you can cover it with silver paper once it has started to brown.
  • Or you can even use the papillote technique, which consists of covering the food with silver paper from the moment you start cooking it so that it cooks in its own juices. This way you enhance the flavor and keep the original nutrients intact.

8. Pressure cooker, express or super fast. pressure cooking

These pressure cookers, express or super fast cookers , are a considerably useful tool for cooking whole grains or legumes, that is, dry foods. This will help make the texture softer and smoother. At the same time, a greater concentration is produced and it does not alter in any possible way the nutritional value of the food.

The pressure cooker allows us to cook food very quickly, since it reaches temperatures above 100º C. This technique requires less water than normal cooking and, since it does not take much time, it preserves most of its nutrients. If you are going to cook with a pressure cooker, it is best to cool the lid with water after cooking to lower the pressure and be able to open the pot safely.

All of them have in common that they have  systems that work with a pressure above atmospheric . This difference causes the boiling temperature to increase and the cooking time to reduce. That is the basic secret of all. Yes, in some way  they are all pressure cookers, that is why, and to reduce your doubts, we have written an article on our blog, «Expresso cooker, pressure cooker and super fast. Our allies in the kitchen. Which one should we use? Don’t stop reading it and I’m sure all your doubts will disappear.

9. Frying

Frying is a process of completely cooking food in a fatty medium such as oil at a high temperature. It is one of the fastest ways to cook but also one of the most caloric, due to the amount of oil required.

The ideal is to put the food in the very hot oil so that it creates a crust that prevents it from absorbing too much oil. Frying eliminates some of the food’s own vitamins when cooked at such a high temperature and also affects carbohydrates, lipids and other components. It also eliminates most of the water from the food, giving that characteristic crunchy touch and greatly enhancing the flavor.

To cook with oil, it is best to use olive oil since it is healthier and withstands higher temperatures. To eliminate excess fat once the food has been fried, it is best to let it rest on absorbent paper. If you use a deep fryer, the process is exactly the same, but make sure to clean it after using it to remove any remains that may remain.

Once the oil that we are heating for frying starts to smoke, it is expelling carcinogenic substances that are not healthy at all. This form turns out to be the most harmful, sharing a position with the barbecue, and at the same time, the result of fried foods is a set of proteins and fats that make it difficult to digest.

And if you want to master frying like a true professional, on our blog you have this article, “Frying. How to get your fries to be 10″ and another on ” The perfect batter. If you are going to coat, do it well . With these two articles you will master this technique perfectly. Don’t miss them.

10. Cook on the grill

To cook on a griddle, the best thing we can do is place the food directly on it. If you use oil, it is better to spray it on the food than on the griddle, although if we know that it is a dish that tends to stick a lot, we can spray a little oil on the griddle, but only a few drops.

Generally, small pieces are cooked on a grill at high temperatures, cooking the piece on both sides. If they are large pieces, they must be cooked over medium heat on both sides as well. When cooking food at high temperatures on a griddle, the proteins coagulate, creating a crispy layer on the outside, leaving the inside juicy, although some vitamins and water are lost.

The best foods to cook on a grill are meats, vegetables and fish. If cooking meat, we must make sure that the grill is very hot and that the meat is at room temperature. It is important not to prick the food to see if it is done, as the juices escape and it becomes quite dry.

If you cook grilled fish, the best fish are those with tough meat, such as salmon, cuttlefish or monkfish. The ideal is to cook them at high temperatures and, to know if they are done, you have to see the change in color of the surface, as it is toasted.

When it comes to vegetables, the best are the meatiest ones, such as artichokes, mushrooms, leeks or tomatoes. Always choose the most tender pieces and try to cut them into more or less homogeneous pieces so that they are done at the same time. It is best to spread them with a little oil before they go through the grill and, if you make some cross cuts, they will cook faster.

In summary…

You see that  there are numerous culinary techniques , from the most traditional and used to the most innovative and laborious… I said at the beginning that  we have already incorporated  these techniques  into our vocabulary , but  have we also incorporated them into our kitchens?

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