Classification of Cooking Methods
The methods of cooking are classified as given in table 1.1
In this method, food comes in contact with moisture either by water or steam under pressure. Some common ways of cooking food by moist heat are described below.
Boiling is cooking foods in a liquid (water, bouillon, stock, milk) at boiling point. Boiling is a method of cooking foods by just immersing them in water at 100 ºC and maintaining water at the temperature till food is tender. Rice, egg, dhal, meat, roots and tubers are cooked by boiling method.
· Boiling is a safe and simple method of cooking.
· It is suitable for large scale cooking. Boiled food is also digested easily
· While boiling, water soluble nutrients are lost if the water in which the food is boiled is discarded. Some people may not like boiled food as they find it bland.
When food is cooked with the heat from water vapors, it is called stewing. This method requires the food to be cooked in steam. Stewing is a long and slow cooking method where food is cut into pieces and cooked in the minimum amount of liquid, water, stock or sauce. The food and the cooking liquid are served together. In this slow method of cooking the liquid is heated to boiling point and heat is reduced to maintain simmering temperatures (820 ºC – 900 ºC).
· In stewing, the juices of the food are retained and the food tastes good.
· The nutrients are also conserved better.
· Food takes longer to cook.
· The process is time consuming and there is wastage of fuel.
It is a method of cooking food in steam generated vigorously from boiling water in a pan. The food to be steamed is placed in a container and is not in direct contact with the water or liquid. Idli, custard and idiappam are made by steaming. Vegetables can also be steamed.
· Steaming shortens the duration of cooking and helps to conserve
· nutritive value, colour, flavour and palatability of food.
· Steamed food is light, nutritious and easy to digest. Such foods are good, especially for people who are sick or people with weak digestion or for the elderly. Young children can be served with steamed food.
· Steaming equipment is required.
· This method is limited to the preparation of selected foods.
When steam under pressure is used, the method is known as pressure cooking and the equipment used is the pressure cooker. In this method the temperature of boiling water can be raised above 100 ºC. Rice, meat, roots and tubers are usually pressure cooked.
· Pressure cooking kills all bacteria and hence the food is safe and hygienic to eat.
· The food gets cooked faster i.e. almost 1/3rd time than boiling.
· Saves fuel, time and energy.
· Several foods can be cooked together in the pressure cooker by using separators.
· It is not necessary to immerse food in water while cooking and this reduces the loss of water soluble vitamins and minerals.
· If food is cooked for very long, it loses its texture and may even burn.
· Knowledge of the usage, care and maintenance of cooker is required to prevent accidents.
· Careful watch on the cooking time is required to prevent over cooking.
This involves cooking in minimum amount of liquid at temperatures of 800°C – 850°C that is below the boiling point. Foods generally poached are egg, fish and fruits. For poaching eggs, the addition of little salt or vinegar to the cooking liquid lowers temperature of coagulation. Eggs get cooked quickly by poaching.
· A variety of liquids can be used (stock, wine, milk, syrup).
· Liquid can improve flavor.
· Food becomes more digestible.
· Ideal for high-protein foods, eg. Fish
· Requires constant attention.
· Range of suitable foods is limited.
· Foods overcook quickly.
In meal preparation, it is often necessary only to peel off the skin of fruits and vegetables without making them tender. This can be achieved by blanching. eg. tomatoes can be blanched in this method, food is dipped in boiling water for 5 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the texture of the food. This helps to remove the skin or peel without softening food.
· Peels can easily be removed to improve digestibility.
· Destroys enzymes that bring about spoilage.
· Texture can be maintained while improving the colour and flavour of food.
· Loss of nutrients if cooking water is discarded.
Dry heat cooking gives a crisp texture, brown colour and pleasant flavor to the foods. Some common ways by which you cook food by dry heat are described here.
This method of cooking food by dry heat is roasting. While roasting, the food is subjected directly on a hot tava or girdle or sand or fire and cooked. Eg. Groundnuts
· Food is tastier when cooked in this way. It also adds variety to a meal.
· It improves the appearance, flavor and texture of the food.
· Spices are easily powdered if they are first roasted.
· It is a relatively slow method of
· cooking. Roasted food sometimes become too dry, therefore, it may be served with a chutney or sauce.
· Roasting denatures proteins reducing their availability.
Grilling or broiling refers to the cooking of food by exposing it to direct heat. In this method food is placed above or in between a red hot surface. Papads, corn, phulkas, chicken can be prepared by this method.
· Grilling like roasting also gives nice flavor to the food.
· A variety of dishes can be prepared using this method.
· Constant attention is required to prevent charring.
This is a method where food is kept between two heated elements to facilitate browning on both sides. Bread slices are cooked by toasting.Eg. sandwiches.
· Easy and quick method.
· Flavour improved.
· Special equipment is required.
· Careful monitoring is needed to prevent charring.
In this method, the food gets cooked in an oven or oven like appliance by dry heat. The temperature range maintained in an oven is 120 ºC - 260 ºC. The oven has to be heated slightly more than required temperature before placing the food in it. Foods prepared by baking are custards, pies, biscuits, pizzas, buns, bread and cakes. The same principle is used in tandoor ovens were you get tandoori chicken, tandoori meat and fish.
· Food cooked using this method adds a variety to the texture in our plate.
· Baking lends a unique flavor to foods.
· Foods become light and fluffy. Eg. cakes, custards, bread.
· Certain foods can be prepared only by this method – bread, cakes.
· Uniform and bulk cooking can be achieved. Eg. Bun, bread.
· Variety of dishes can be prepared.
· Special equipment like oven is required.
· Baking skills are necessary to obtain a product with ideal texture, flavor and colour.
This method involves cooking in just enough of oil to cover the base of the pan (greasing the pan).The food is tossed occasionally or turned over with a spatula to enable all the pieces to come in contact with the oil and get cooked evenly. Sometimes the pan is covered with lid, reducing the flame and allowing the food to be cooked till tender in its own steam. The product obtained by this method is slightly moist, tender but without any liquid or gravy. Foods cooked by sautéing are generally vegetables used as side dishes in a menu. Eg. poriyels in Indian cuisine.The heat is transferred to the food mainly by conduction.
· Takes less time.
· Simple technique.
· Minimum oil is used
· Constant attention is needed as there is chance of scorching or burning
In this method, the food to be cooked is brought into contact with a large amount of hot fat. Frying is of two types namely deep get frying and shollow get frying.When food is totally immersed in hot oil, it is called deep fat frying. Samosa, chips, pakoda are examples of deep fat frying. In shallow fat frying, only a little fat is used and the food is turned in order that both the sides turn brown. Eg. Omelets, cutlets, parathas.
· The calorific values of fried food is increased since fat is used as the cooking media.
· Frying lends a delicious flavor and attractive appearance to foods.
· Taste and texture are improved
· Fried food especially deep fried food is difficult to digest and has high calorific value. Excessive
· consumption of fried foods are bad for health.
· Can be a risk factor to develop life style diseaces.
Braising is a combined method of roasting and stewing in a pan with a tight fitting lid. Flavourings and seasonings are added and food is allowed to cook gently. Food preparations prepared by combination methods are :
Microwaves are electromagnetic waves of radiant energy with wave lengths in the range of 250 x 106 to 7.5 x 109 Angstroms. It is a comparatively new method of cooking and gradually becoming popular. In this method food is cooked by microwave radiation. Water molecules in the food vibrate rapidly due to microwaves. The heat generated in the process cooks the food.
· It is a quick method of cooking.
· Cooking time is reduced
· significantly as compared to other methods of cooking.
· It uses electrical energy and therefore may not be useful in
· places where continuous electricity supply is not available.
· It may dry up the food products.
A solar cooker is a device that changes the light energy of the sun to heat energy to cook food. There are three main types of solar cooker:
A hybrid of reflector and box-type solar cookers, using both a curved reflector and a cooking container into which the food is placed. This combines the reflective properties of a curved surface with the heat retaining properties of a container.
A solar cooker that uses reflective surfaces to collect, concentrate and direct the sun’s rays onto the food being cooked.
A solar cooker that uses plane reflectors (such as mirrors) to reflect radiation through a glass or plastic window into an insulated cooking container. The container normally has reflective sides and a black metal base.
· A solar cooker does not produce
· smoke. It has low maintenance and practically no running cost.
· It is an environment friendly method of cooking food.
· Solar cooking can be successfully done in many parts of India.
· Solar cooker is used outdoors and works only when there is plenty of sunshine.
· Slow cooking process.
· Cannot be used in the absence of sunlight’s in rainy seasons, late evenings and nights.