Cooking is considered by many chefs and gourmets as a creative art! Retaining the perfect aroma in recipes, while enhancing flavor and taste, differentiates a finer chef from the rest. It may sound easy, but a majority of the aspiring chefs take a long time to understand this, while many others fail to make sustained efforts to capture this finer nuance of cooking.
Thankfully, the traditional cooking methods practiced by our mothers and grannies, are good enough to start on this journey of mastering this fine art of great cooking. For example, I learned from my mother that one of the most important aspects of keeping the flavor (as well as essential nutrients), is to master the art of covered cooking.
Slow cooking – Cooking vegetables and meat in low flame retains their maximum benefits and better taste. It’s true that it takes more time to cook the food, but it always enriches the aroma, taste and flavor of the recipe. It allows you to use the ingredients in measured quantities, in time, which produces the best results by augmenting the richer taste in your cooked food. When you cook on a low flame, the food doesn’t get burnt and doesn’t necessitate nurturing much.
Covered Cooking – Covered cooking retains moisture in your primary ingredients, which in turn retains the original taste and flavor. While cooking, when you cover the pan, it also uses lesser oil and retains softness, so that the items are juiciest to relish. This method also adds a better dimension to your cooking.
The best part of slow and covered cooking is that when the food is getting cooked you can engage yourself in some other work and let your food cook gently without tending.
Sautéing is another cooking method, in which very less amount of oil is used to cook – although at relatively high temperatures. This method allows the food to cook very quickly in the sauté pan. Sautéing yields best result when clarified butter is used instead of regular cooking oil. The clarified butter is usually kept at room temperatures for about 30 minutes before the process of sautéing. This type of sautéing allows the food to retain flavor and aroma, while adding a unique taste of clarified butter.
Sautéing can also be done with little or no oil, which is very healthy especially when you need to keep your calorie counts to minimum. When doing “no-oil sautéing” the best practice is to use low-medium stock, broth or even soya-sauce on a flatter frying pan. The vegetables also need to be sliced in smaller sizes and kept in room temperature for sometime before cooking; this practice allows the chopped vegetables turn golden brown quickly too.
Sautéing requires a larger space to cook, so always make sure of using a large pan for sautéing. When the pan gets hot allow the butter solid to take its liquid form in the pan before starting the sautéing process.
Deep frying is a faster cooking method where you submerge the food in hot oil. You won’t require water to cook your food when you are using this cooking practice. If executed properly in an optimum flame, deep-frying doesn’t make your food extremely fatty, since the moisture in the food deters the oil. It’s however important to know how fast you should keep the food in oil before you take it out. Let your hands do the talking with this method, especially while cooking your favorite crispies at home.
Deep frying gives a different and richer aroma, flavor and taste to the items cooked. Many of the Indian cuisine have their signature rich taste and aroma, thanks to waterless and deep-frying.
Half-Boiling is another faster way of cooking, which retains the original flavor and taste of vegetables. This process of cooking also retains the nutritional value to the maximum! To get the best nutritional value and flavor out of half-boiled cooking, the vegetables need to be cut in bigger slices – or better still, “knifeless slicing” or hand-broken into pieces, as practiced traditionally. Larger sizes also retain the vitamin content.
So these are the 5 distinct ways to get retain flavor aroma and taste in cooking at home. With the ever-increasing rise in various diseases especially diabetes and high cholesterol the food doesn’t need to be tasteless at all!
Watch this space for more such ideas in the future.
- Cooking Techniques
- The Slow Cooker Challenge
- Grilled Lobster with Lobster Jus
- Choose the Right Cooking Oils – for Great Taste and Nutrition