Wonders of Cooking!

Cooking techniques vary across the world and they also reflect the tradition of the region. These cooking techniques help in creating delicious and mouthwatering dishes. So here are some cooking techniques that will help you create exquisite dishes! Don’t forget to check the online dictionaries for the correct pronunciations

  1. Flambe
    Originated in the 19th century, flambe is a cooking technique in which alcohol is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames. Flambeing is used for certain liqueur-drenched dishes like bananas foster, cherries jubilee and coq au vin. By burning off the volatile alcohol, flambeing reduces the alcohol content in the dishes but at the same time keeps the flavour of the liquor. Rum, cognac and other flavourful liquors are considered to be ideal for flambe and cinnamon is sometimes added for show as the powder ignites when added. 

2. Fricassee
A cross between a saute and a stew, fricassee is a procedure in which the meat is first sauteed without adding any liquid, and then a stew is made out of it which contains added liquids. Chicken Fricassee is a classic chicken dish with a creamy thick white sauce which is cooked mainly during the frosty times of the year. 

3. En Papillote
En Papillote, a french term referring to “in parchment”, is a method of cooking where different kinds of protein, vegetables and aromatics are folded tightly into a pouch which is made of parchment paper and is then baked. This type of paper traps the moisture which steams the food and cooks it. As the steam is trapped in a very small pouch, the flavours of the herbs and aromatics permeate through the protein and vegetables and makes it very delicious and luscious. 

Salmon En Papillote

4. Hangi
Hangi is an unusual style of cooking originally hailing from New Zealand. It is a simple process that involves a pit with rocks, leaves and hot ashes beneath it all. The combination of the high temperatures of the rocks and the moisture trapped inside the leaf wrapped food, imparts incredible flavours and smoky aromas. The most important thing about a hangi is that, the meat used should always be marinated with big tubs of soy, mirin and chillies to add strong flavours to the meat. The traditional marinades for pork loins cooked in a hangi are red curry paste and kawakawa (a native herb); chicken is marinated with manuka honey and ginger paste; and lamb is smothered with rosemary and garlic.

5. Kalua
Kalua, a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu or an underground oven is mainly used for the kalua pig or kalua pork which is commonly served at luau feasts. The pulled pork dish is cooked in an underground oven with koa wood and river rocks. To maintain even heating and retain the meat’s moisture, the meat is covered in layers of ti and banana leaves. The flavour of the ti leaves differentiates the kalua pork from other pork dishes.

6. Karaage
Also known as tatsutaage, karaage is a Japanese cooking method used to fry chicken. This cooking style involves lightly coating the meat in potato starch which retains the moisture, and then frying it. The succulent and soft chicken is served with lemon or mayonnaise. This cooking method is similar to the technique of preparing a tempura.

7. Sauté
A form of dry-heat cooking, sauté uses a hot pan and a small amount of oil or fat to cook the food properly and quickly. While sautéing, the food’s surface becomes brown as it cooks because of which complex flavours and aromas are developed. The vegetables and meat that are sauteed are usually cut into small pieces for fast cooking. 

8. Sous-vide
Sous-vide or ‘under vacuum’ is a cooking technique in which the food is placed inside a plastic pouch and is then cooked in a water bath. This method ensures the even cooking of the food items without overcooking the outside and also retains the moisture. Sous-vide ensures unparalleled control over the cooking of any food item from shrimps, lobster, vegetables and steaks to large cuts of meat like pork shoulders and legs of lamb. For extra flavour and aromatics, herbs, spices and oils are added to the plastic pouch along with the meat, seafood or vegetable.

9. Rotisserie
Rotisserie is a style of roasting where the meat is skewered on a long solid rod which holds the meat while it is being cooked over the fire. This style of roasting is usually used to cook a whole chicken, turkey or pig. The rotation of the rod enables the meat to get evenly cooked in its own juices which makes the meat very moist and easy to eat. 

Pork Rotisserie

10. Robatayaki
Robatayaki is an authentic Japanese style of cooking, in which meat, vegetables and seafood is skewered and cooked over hot binchotan charcoal. The binchotan charcoal is free of chemicals and is nearly smokeless and this preserves the true flavours and juices of the food being grilled. To retain the natural flavours, the food items are never marinated before grilling. But the grilled meat, seafood or vegetables are sometimes served with different condiments like togarashi (chilli pepper), wasabi and yuzu kosho (a green paste made from the yuzu citrus, salt, and chili).

11. Maceration
Maceration is a method in which food items are tenderised. This method is mainly used for summer fruits. These fruits are set aside to soften in a coating of sugar to draw out their flavourful juices. This tenderising method is also used for savoury food items, but salt is used instead of sugar. Macerating onions with salt and vinegar will mellow their flavour and deepen their colour. They can then be used as pickled onions for juicy hamburgers and hot dogs.  

12. En Vessie
An unconventional method of cooking, en vessie uses a bladder, most commonly of a pig to enclose meat such as chicken, to keep it from drying out. This method is most common in the preparation of poulet en vessie in which the chicken is stuffed with foie gras, black truffle and white wine, and is then enclosed in the bladder and poached in chicken broth. 

13. Dum Pukht
Dum pukht is a middle eastern cooking technique. “Dum” means ‘to breathe’ and “pukht” means ‘to cook’. Dum pukht uses a heavy-bottomed clay pot in which food is sealed and cooked over a slow fire, enabling the food to retain its natural flavours while infusing it subtly with the aromas and flavours of the herbs and spices that are added to the food in the clay pot. This technique is used to make mouthwatering dishes like kebabs, korma and biryanis.

So this summer, try out some of these interesting cooking techniques and  share these tasty dishes with your family members. 

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