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Chapter: 11th Home Science : Chapter 3 : Food Science

Methods of Cooking

1. Moist Heat Methods 2. Dry Heat Methods 3. Combination Method 4. Innovative Methods


Cooking has been practiced since times immemorial. The ancient man ate only raw food.Once a piece of meat fell into the fire accidentally and got roasted. The ancient man ate this piece of roasted meat and liked it. Thus began the process of cooking. It has evolved a lot since then.


Cooking offers a wide variety of foods. For example food items like roti, puri, paratha, rice, pulao, pulses, vegetable, salad, chutney, pickle, curd, butter milk, fruits, etc.are prepared from different food.

Boiled rice tastes different from jeera rice or pea pulao because these are cooked differently. Similarly, a chapatti tastes different from a puree or paratha, again because all these are cooked differ-ently. Generally, vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber and fruits are best eaten raw while wheat, rice, pulses, potatoes and other vegetables must be cooked. Cooking providing variety and the main objectives of cooking are:


·        Improves the taste and food quality.


·        Cooking food to the required tempera-ture for a required length of time can destroy all harmful microorganisms in food.


·        Cooking improves digestibility.


·        Cooking increases variety.


1. Moist Heat Methods



Boiling is cooking foods by just immersing them in water at 100°C and maintaining the water at that tem-perature till the food is tender. It does not require special skill and equipment. It is time consuming.




·           Simple method, does not require skill or any particular equipment.


·           Uniform cooking can be achieved.




1.     Continuous boiling damages the struc-ture and texture of food.


2.     There is a loss of vitamins B and C if the cooking water is discarded.


3.     It is time consuming and may lead to increased use of fuel.


4.        Loss of colour —Water soluble pig-ments may be lost during cooking.


ii) Simmering

When food is cooked in a pan with a well fitted lid at a temperature just below the boiling point 82°–99°C, it is known as simmering. It is a useful method when foods have to be cooked for a long time to make it tender. (eg) vegetables.




1.     Food can be cooked with less chances of burning.


2.        The flavour of the food can be enhanced.

3.     Does not require any skill or specific equipment.




1.     Takes a long time for cooking the food.


2.     Precaution must be taken to ensure that the food does not get burnt.


iii) Poaching


This involves cooking in the minimum amount of liquid at a temperature of 80°– 85°C. Foods generally poached are eggs and fish.




1.     No special equipment is needed.


2.     It is a quick method of cooking and thus saves fuel.


3.     Poached foods are easily digested as no fat is added.




1.        Poached foods may not appeal to ev-erybody as they are bland to taste.


2.        Foods can get burnt if not monitored closely.


3.        Water soluble nutrients may be lost if they are leached into the water.


iv) Stewing


This is a gentle method of cooking in a pan with a tight fitting lid, using small quan-tities of liquid to cover only half the food. The liquid is brought to a boiling point and then the heat applied is reduced to maintain the cooking at simmering temperature ie., 98°C. Apples can be cooked by this method.




1.        Loss of nutrients is avoided as the wa-ter used for cooking is not discarded.


2.        Flavour is retained.




·           The process is time consuming and there is wastage of fuel.


v) Steaming


This method requires the food to be cooked in steam. This is generated from vigorously boiling water or liquid in a pan so that the food is completely surrounded by steam and not in contact with the water or liquid. Here the food gets cooked at 100 degrees.




·        Less chances of burning.


·        Texture of food is better, as it is made light and fluffy.


·        Saves time and fuel.


·        Steamed foods like idli and idiappam have very negligible fat and are easy to digest, and are good for children, elderly and therapeutic diets.




1.     Steaming equipment is required.


2.     This method is limited to the prepara-tion of selected foods.


vi) Pressure cooking


In pressure cooking escaping steam is trapped and kept under pressure so that the temperature of the boiling water and steam can be raised above 100°C thus reducing cooking time. Foods cooked in pressure cooker are rice, dhal, vegetables and meat.




1.     Cooking time is less compared to oth-er methods.


2.     Nutrient and flavour loss is minimized.


3.     Conserves time and fuel and different items can be cooked at the same time.


4.     Less chance of burning.


5.     Constant monitoring is not necessary.




1.        The initial investment cost may not be affordable by everybody.


2.        Knowledge of the use, care and main-tenance of the cooker is required to prevent accidents.


3.        Careful watch on the cooking time is necessary to prevent over cooking.


vii) Blanching


In meal preparation, it is often necessary only to peel off the skin of fruits and veg-etables without making them tender. This can be achieved by the method of blanch-ing. In this method food is dropped in boiling water for 5 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the texture of food. This helps to remove the skin without softening the food.


Blanching can also be done by pouring enough hot water on the food to immerse it for some time or subjecting foods to boiling temperatures for short periods and then immediately immersing them in cold water. This process causes the skin to become loose and then can be peeled off easily.




1.        Peels can easily be removed to improve digestibility.

2.        Destroys enzymes that bring about spoilage.


3.        Texture can be maintained, while im-proving the colour and flavor of the food.




Loss of nutrients if cooking water is discarded.


2. Dry Heat Methods

In this either air or fat is used as the medium of cooking.


Air as a Medium of Cooking

i) Grilling


Grilling consists of placing the food below or above or in between a red-hot surface. This results in the browning of the food.




·        Quick method of cooking.


·        It improves the appearance, texture and flavour of the food.


·        Minimum oil is used.




·        Foods can be burnt due to carelessness.


·        Grilling denatures the proteins reduc-ing their availability.


ii) Pan broiling or roasting


When food is cooked uncovered on heated metal or a frying pan, the method is known as pan-broiling, (e.g) chapathis.




·        Quick method of cooking.


·        It improves the appearance, texture and flavor of the food.


·        Minimum oil is used.


Spices are easily powdered if they are first roasted.




·        Foods can be burnt due to carelessness.


·        Grilling denatures the proteins.


iii) Baking


Here food gets cooked by hot air inside the oven. Foods baked are generally brown and crisp on the top and soft and porous in the centre, (eg) cakes and breads. The temperature that is nor-mally maintained in the oven is between 120°C–260°C.




·        It gives a unique flavour to food.


·        Foods are made light and fluffy – cakes, rolls, custard, bread.


·        Certain foods can be prepared only by this method – bread, cakes.


·        Uniform and bulk cooking can be achieved.


·        Flavour and texture of the food is en-hanced.


·        A variety of dishes can be made.




·           Special  equipment  like  oven  is  re quired.


·        Baking skills are necessary to obtain a product with ideal texture, Flavour and colour characteristics.


·        Careful monitoring needed to prevent scorching.


Fat as a Medium of Cooking


i) Sauteing


This method involves cooking in just enough of oil to cover the base of the pan. Foods cooked by sauteing are generally vegetables used as side dishes in a menu.




·        Takes less time.


·        Simple technique.


·        Minimum oil is used.


·        Constant monitoring is needed to pre-vent scorching.




Constant monitoring is needed to pre-vent scorching.


ii) Shallow and deep fat frying

Here food is cooked on a tava with little oil (eg) chapathi, cutlets, etc. Deep fat frying Food is totally immersed in hot oil and cooked. The temperature maintained is 180°–220°C (eg.) Samosa, Bajji, etc. The taste of the food is improved along with texture.




·        Very quick method of cooking.


·        The calorific value of food is increased as fat is the medium of cooking.


·        It gives a delicious flavour and appear-ance to the food.


·        Taste and texture are improved.




·        Constant monitoring is needed to pre-vent scorching.


·        The food may become soggy due to too much fat absorption.


·        Fried foods are not easily digested.


Repeated use of heated oils will have ill effects on health.



3. Combination Method


i) Braising

Braising is a combined method of roasting and stewing in a pan with a tight fitting lid. Meat is cooked by this method.


Examples of foods cooked by braising are:

1. Uppuma : Roasting and boiling

2. Cutlet : Boiling and shallow frying.

3. Vermicelli payasam : Roasting and simmering.


4. Innovative Methods


i) Microwave Cooking

Electromagnetic waves from a power source called magnetron are absorbed by the food and food becomes hot at once. Microwave cooking enhances the flavour of food because it cooks quickly with little or no water and thus preserves the natural colour of vegetables and fruits.




·        Quick method – 10 times faster than the conventional method. So loss of nutrients can be minimized.


·        Only the food gets heated and the oven does not get heated.


·        Foods get heated uniformly.


·        Leftovers can be reheated without chang-ing the flavor and texture of the product.


·        Microwave cooking enhances the fla-vor of the food because it cooks quick-ly with little or no water.




·        Baked products do not get a brown surface.

·        Microwave cooking cannot be used for simmering, deep frying or stewing.

·        Flavour of all ingredients do not blend well as the cooking time is too short.


ii) Solar Cooking


Solar cooker works on solar energy. Solar cooker consists of well insulated box, the inside of which is painted dull black and is covered by one or more transparent covers, the purpose of which is to trap the heat inside the solar cooker. 

The temper-ature maintained is around 140°C. Cost of the cooker and the maintenance cost is low. It takes longer time and special ves-sels need to be used.




·        Simple techniques – requires no spe-cial skill.


·        Cost effective as natural sunlight is the form of energy


·        Original flavour of food is retained


·        There is no danger of scorching or burning


·        Loss of nutrients is minimum as only little amount of water is used in cooking




·        Special equipment is needed


·        Slow cooking process


·        Cannot be used in the absence of sun-light-rainy season, late evening and night



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11th Home Science : Chapter 3 : Food Science : Methods of Cooking |

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