Sunday, April 30, 2017

Different methods of cooking vegetables



Most principles of cookery may be used in vegetable cookery. Vegetables can be cooked by boiling, steaming braising, roasting, baking, grilling, shallow frying, sauteing, deep frying and microwaving. Different coking methods can also be combined to create an even greater variety of interesting flavor and textures. 

  • Boiling - this method of cooking vegetables is also known as a I' Anglaise or English style.  It is the plain boiling of vegetable in salted or unsalted water.  It is the most common method of cooking vegetables, it is also the most abused, too often, boiling means over cooking. The result is vegetables lacking in flavor, color and nutrients. This method of cooking vegetables requires attention in order to retain freshness, taste and nutritive value.      
  • Steaming - This is an ideal method of cooking vegetables as they retain their maximum nutritional value.  However, it is important that you are familiar with the type of steamer being used in the kitchen as different types of steamers have different cooking times.  Steaming in pressure steamers requires much less cooking time.  Exact timing is vital, especially when cooking green vegetables.  
  • Braising - Braising requires slow gentle cooking because the purpose is to blend the flavors of the ingredients.  Braised vegetables retain their shape but are soft in texture.  The vegetables should not be mushy.  A certain amount of color loss is unavoidable, particularly in green vegetables, but this is quite acceptable. To maximize the retention of nutrients, the braising liquid can be reduced or thickened to make  a sauce which is then served with the braised vegetables.  
  • Roasting - Roasting is not commonly used in vegetable cookery.  The high dry heat required for roasting is too harsh for most vegetables and they become soft and dried-up. This method of cooking is mainly suitable for starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and parsnips. The temperature range for roasting vegetables is 190-200 °C.  
  • Baking - Vegetables suited to baking are those that contain sufficient water to form steam and keep moist when exposed to dry heat.  Whole vegetables are usually baked with their skin on.  The skin hold the steam in while the vegetable cook. Potatoes are the most commonly baked whole vegetables.   Whole vegetables either raw or cooked, can also be hollowed out and filled with a stuffing prior to baking such as stuffed eggplant.  Vegetables can also be cut or pureed and then baked with other ingredients to produce specific dishes. The temperature range for baking vegetables is 180-220 °C.  
  • Grilling - Grilling is the most commonly used for cooking tomatoes and mushrooms.  However eggplant, corn, zucchinis and capsicum can also be successfully grilled. When preparing vegetables for grilling, cut them thin enough to allow even cooking but thick enough to retain their moistness. Fruit vegetables such as zucchinis and eggplant, surface must be score first before grilling, this allows the heat to penetrate evenly during cooking and ensures the vegetables will cook through properly before the outside skin starts to burn. 
  • Frying - This method of cooking includes shallow frying, sauteing, stir frying and deep frying.  All frying methods are conducted at a high heat, so the vegetables need careful preparation ahead of time and constant attention once the cooking starts.  Cut the vegetables into uniform size pieces which are small enough to be penetrated easily by heat.   In some cases, vegetables which require long coking time like potatoes and carrots need to be lightly blanched before frying. Vegetables to be deep fried should be uniformly cut into small pieces so that they cook through evenly without burning.   Potatoes and sweet potatoes can be deep fried without a coating, other vegetables need to be coated with a batter or crumbed to prevent them from drying out or being scorched by the hot fat. 

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