Did you catch dry methods of cooking? Well today we’re looking at the opposite- moist heat methods of cooking.
Strip your skills back to basics for the new year…
We’ll start with braising, because it’s kind of an in between method. You start by browning the meat in a pan (most likely sautéing or pan-frying). Then you take it out of the pan, maybe fry off some veg and then deglaze to get all of those awesome flavours on the bottom.
Next up, liquid… plenty of it. Submerge the meat, then cook on a really low heat for a long time. That’s braising.
This method is perfect for tougher cuts of meat like shoulder. They’ll tenderise and eventually start falling apart over time. It can really be one of the best ways to cook and with a bit of planning doesn’t even need much attention. Winner!
Try out this mad skill with this Braised Beef with Pappardelle recipe.
OK, so poaching is definitely a moist cooking technique! When poaching, you’re submerging what you’re cooking in some kind of liquid. It doesn’t have to be water… You can poach in milk, wine or even butter! What is consistent about poaching is the temperature of the liquid… It’s usually pretty low when compared to other techniques like boiling.
As well as being amazing for eggs, poaching is great for keeping food like chicken or fish really juicy. It’s also the ideal technique for keeping things low-fat, if that’s what you’re after (everyone’s ‘healthy’ is different remember!).
Give it a go with the Spiced Poached Pears Recipe.
Steaming is an awesome way of cooking and it’s actually used for very different things around the world. Over here in the UK it’s always been a way of cooking vegetables while keeping plenty of nutrients in there. On the other hand, in China steaming is all about cooking meat, fish and even steamed buns, which definitely wouldn’t work in the same way with any other method of cooking.
Try out steaming with this Steamed Chinese Sea Bream Recipe.
Boiling is an interesting one! It’s probably the simplest of techniques, but has a few different forms that are useful for different things! Again, you’re submerging an ingredient in liquid, but this time it’s probably going to be cooking for a lot less time!
Most often the liquid is water, but you can also bring other liquids such as milk to a rapid boil (where it’s bubbling a lot) then turn it down to a simmer, or keep wine at a rapid boil to reduce it.
There are also two sub categories for the boiling technique:
Simmering is more like a type of boiling than a separate technique. It’s just below the rapid boil, but hotter than when poaching and is done for a longer period of time than boiling Most often it’s used when cooking ingredients in a sauce, or cooking out a sauce to allow the flavours to develop.
Almost the opposite of simmering, but still a ‘type’ of boiling! Usually it’s done with rapidly boiling water, and it’s just cooking an ingredient for a few seconds or minutes, depending on what it is. It’s usually done to par-cook ingredients like vegetables, so that they keep their colour and texture and they can be quickly reheated or finished later.
Because you only want to cook an ingredient a little way, a bowl of ice water is usually kept next to the stove, so you can dip your ingredients straight in there and stop the cooking. This is a really chefy way of getting ahead to make things easier at the last minute… Great for dinner parties!
There’s no better recipe to try boiling than Thai Iced Tea.
You can catch the original piece we wrote for Tumblr here. What’s your favourite method of cooking? Let me know…