Temperature and cooking time are key factors in determining the nutritional value of your final product. Vitamin c, for instance, is destroyed when heated to a higher temperature than the recommended point.
There are two main categories of cooking methods.
- Dry heat cooking is when food is cooked in an Oven/ flame, without the addition of water. This involves baking, sauteing, and roasting.
- Moist heat cooking is covered cooking, or cooking that contains liquids. This involves steaming and boiling.
Stir-frying and sauteing help retain nutrients and crunchiness to a large extent. This involves quickly sauteing food on a hot pan with a small amount of oil.
Sauteing makes food more appealing and preserves its flavours. A pan with a thick, dense bottom is the best for perfect saute. It spreads heat evenly and doesn’t leave any hot spots. Olive oil is best used to cook Mediterranean dishes. However, sesame oil may be better if you’re making Asian dishes.
Grilling gives your food a wonderful charring and browning effect. Broiling requires heat to come from the top of an oven. A grill exposes food directly to flame. Barbecuing is the best way to get a smokey flavour.
High-temperature grilling poses a health risk because of the presence of carcinogenic chemicals. This can be avoided by marinating the meat in advance and turning it during heating.
Roasting refers to the process of browning the outside of individual ingredients of a recipe, without compromising its inner cooking. This method of cooking has the added benefit of a crispy, crunchy skin and the concentrated juice. This method is used to cook meat. Despite the fact that it can destroy vitamins, it preserves minerals.
Deep-frying is the process of cooking food in hot oil. Deep frying gives the food a crisp exterior and soft, moist inside. Oils should have high smoke points, such as avocado, peanut oil, and refined sunflower oil.
Boiling can be used to cook a variety of foods, while poaching is used to slow cook food in hot liquids. High temperatures can destroy the nutrients in the liquids so it is important to keep the stove at a moderate temperature. To maintain the pressure and temperature, water is first boiled. Then food, lentils and vegetables are added to it.
Steaming refers to the cooking of food in a steamer. The steaming process ensures that the food doesn’t touch the boiling liquid. A lid is placed over the pot to keep the steam from escaping into the container. This is a great way to cook vegetables and sprouts with very little or no loss of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
How we prepare our food speaks volumes about us and our eating habits. Food is intimately linked to memories and occasions. Make sure you choose the right cooking method to make your family happy.