Techniques of Cooking
Techniques of cooking are basically the different methods of exposing the food to the heat; each type of exposure lends a different texture, aroma and taste to the cooked food apart from making it easily digestible in our system.
Roasting of food stands for exposing the food to dry and indirect heat at lower temperatures. The food is cooked slowly for a longer period of time. Slow cooking softens the food – vegetables and the meat – by breaking down the constituents like the Collagen, the protein which imparts strength to the structure of the food. Roasting also helps retain the moisture content in the food.
Barbequing, grilling, searing and broiling are different types of roasting. Barbequing involved exposing the food to low temperatures for very long periods of time. The food is evenly cooked from within and the surface. Grilling involved roasting the food over a mesh of wires, at higher temperatures where in the source of heat is placed below the cooking food. Broiling involves exposing food to the heat source from above it.
Cooking food at higher temperatures for a shorter duration of time hardens the outer surface by a process called caramalization, lending it a brown colour, whereas the inside remains raw to some extent. All these techniques imparts a different taste , aroma and texture to the food.
Baking involves passing the heat over the prepared dough by convection mostly inside a closed oven. It hardens the surface retaining the soft core. Sometimes yeast is used in the dough to induce fermentation for more softer and porous final product.
Cooking food by boiling means exposing the food to the heat of a boiling liquid, by placing the food directly into the liquid, liquids used generally are either water or milk. Boiling at lower temperatures is known as simmering . Blanching , another variation of boiling involves throwing the food to be softened in the already boiling liquid and removing from it after a short interval, and immediately throwing it in ice cold water. This helps soften the food and altering the seemingly harsher tastes of certain foods.
Braising , poaching and steaming are other types of boiling methodologies , wherein the food is exposed to different types of heat- dry or moist – for obtaining different results. All the methods involved in boiling generally alter the look of the food to a great extent. Adding salt while boiling raises the boiling point of the liquid the food is being boiled in.
Frying is a technique of cooking , wherein the food is exposed to the heat of the boiling oil or any kind of fat in place of water as in boiling . Fat can reach much higher temperatures than water imparting an altogether different flavour to the cooked food. This method also sears or caramelizes the surface of the food keeping it much harder and crisper. Fat also seeps into the food imparting it its aroma and flavour.
Thus different techniques of cooking food impart different characteristics to the food as appreciated by varying cultures across the world.