If you want to learn how to cook, you should first know about the various forms of cooking methods. In fact, you normally use dry heat, moist heat or even a combination of both cooking methods to cook your food. Here, we will try to see how to differentiate between these and the other methods of cooking that fall under each, as well.
What is Dry Heat Cooking Method?
In this method, what you do is you cook your foods, using the dry heat, air or fat. You do not use any steam, water or other liquids to cook the food. The methods that fall under this includes the grilling, sautéing, caramelising, pan frying, baking, deep frying, broiling, roasting and so on. Above all, foods cooked this way are flavourful as you caramelise and even brown it well. Undoubtedly, it also holds in the vitamins and nutrients of the food item better.
What is Moist Heat Cooking Method?
In this method, you can use steam or water to cook your foods. Some of the cooking methods using moist heat consist of poaching, steaming, boiling and simmering. These methods help to lock in and enhance the natural flavours of the ingredients and the main food item.
What is the Combination Method of Cooking?
As the name obviously suggest, indeed this method makes use of a combination of dry and moist heat cooking. You can see the example of braising and stewing, which use the combination cooking method.
How do you use these cooking methods?
You can see here, the various process of cooking foods using these methods. Applying these techniques correctly to the right type of food will help you to enhance the natural taste of these items and the ingredients that go in it.
To start with dry heat cooking method,
In this, keep the pan on high heat and use very less oil. Once, the oil is hot, you can then add in the ingredients. In this method, moisture of the food item does not escape as the high heat prevents this. In any curry, the base ingredients like the onions and tomatoes are often sautéed well. Same ways, for the tadka this is the method of cooking used.
Tadka or tempering is a cooking method regularly used in Indian cooking. This also helps to further to enhance the taste of your cuisine. For tempering, in a small pan you can heat the oil and add in whole spices or even small onions or garlic, ginger.
For this method put the pan on medium high heat. Add in a bit more oil than usual. Pan-fried fish and chicken breast tastes just yummy.
This method, use convection oven or the OTG conducted heat to cook the food. In this, food is cooked without any direct exposure to flame. Most significant aspects of these methods are the highly accurate temperatures used, as well as the ability to cook evenly for longer controlled time. You can use this method to cook large food items like a whole chicken, or even to cook products that require even cooking, like the cakes, breads, even some meat, poultry items and veggies.
The best way to have your steak is to grill it. You can either use a cast-iron grill pan on your stove, above the flame or go the traditional way of barbequeing that is to cook food outside over burning charcoal on open fire. Some even use wired mesh above this to cook the meat/ corn and so on. You can also use electric or even gas grills to cook.
Caramelising, is a method used to melt sugar until it becomes a golden brown colour syrup. Depending on the consistency, you can also use the syrup in other ways (like for spun sugar decorations and so on). You can also caramelise onions or bacon using fat, further enhancing the taste of your dish. To caramelise onion, cook it on medium heat with butter or oil. Adding salt helps to further release the moisture, thus helping with the cooking process.
You can use the radiant heat from some overheated source, like a pre-heated metal grate to cook the food items. The heat above cooks the food, while the grill will mark it.
A way in which you use direct heat to cook the food. Here the heat, seals the outside part of the meat and holds the juices in. Also, in this basting is used, where you can use the juice from the meat is spooned over the heat to cook the meat, further enhancing the taste. It is best to cook chicken, fish and other meat products.
Use large quantity of oil, enough to cover the food that you want to cook. Submerge the food item in oil and fry it well. Deep fried fish, chicken or there are even snacks like the pakoda (a veggie mix covered in batter), as some of the delicious examples of deep fried food or snack items.
Now, shall we see about moist heat cooking methods?
How many of you have seen that perfectly poached eggs? You must have heard how the key to perfectly poached egg is in the temperature of the water used to cook the egg. Well, it is a fact. For poaching, you need the lowest temperature, that is somewhere between the 71-82 degree Celsius. The water that has to poach the egg should show only slight movement and no bubbles. You can use this method to cook delicate foods like mainly eggs. You can also poach fish.
The key here is to maintain a balanced temperature, between 86 to 96 degree Celsius for the liquid used to cook the ingredients and food items. In this method, you may see some bubbles breaking through the surface of the liquid. This helps to release the flavours into food items like the soups, stews and some meat products.
Here, the water gets to higher temperature by steaming it. Liquid release steam, once it crosses the 100 degree Celsius. This steam is, then used to cook the food items placed in a steaming basket above the boiling water. You can steam veggies, fish and even poultry products. Fast cooking in high temperature is the process used in this moist heat cooking method.
In this method of cooking, you normally use the liquid put on high heat to cook food. This liquid further, reaches about 100 degree Celsius, releasing the bubbles. Simply put, boiling is the best method to cook pasta.
Shall we see what to do in combination method of cooking?
Here, we shall discuss braising and stewing, the most common combination methods. However, for a third there is sous-vide as well.
To start with, you need to first cook a food using the dry heat method, such as pan-frying or sautéing so as to perfectly caramelize the food product. Once, you properly sear the meat, then you can add in the liquid such as water or the stock for more flavor. Pour this liquid to the cooking pot and cover 1/3rd of the meat. Then you can also use the simmering method, or braise it so that the meat becomes really tender and soft.
In this, after pan searing or caramelizing the food product, it is covered with liquid and cooked with the pot lid covered, throughout. This process is stewing. This helps the food to cook to the consistency of a soup.
In this method, you need to maintain the exact cooking temperature. If done well, you will get the food cooked to the perfect quality. In this method, food item is sealed using a vacuum bag or jar and cooked in a bath for a longer than normal cooking time.
This is a guide on some of the major cooking methods. We will keep updating each of these methods in-depth separately under handy cooking. If you have any doubts regarding these methods, you can look back here.