Cooking techniques: Cook Like a Pro: A Guide to the Best Cooking Techniques for Every Level
Cooking like a pro doesn’t have to be intimidating. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, there are certain techniques that will help you take your dishes to the next level. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the best cooking techniques for every level, from the basics of chopping an onion to advanced techniques like sous vide cooking.
#1: Chopping Vegetables
One of the most fundamental cooking techniques is chopping vegetables. This technique may seem simple, but it’s an important skill to master as it can make a big difference in the final outcome of a dish. To chop an onion, for example, first cut off the root and stem, then slice the onion in half from root to stem. Peel off the skin and discard. Next, make several horizontal cuts into the onion, then turn it 90 degrees and make several vertical cuts to create a diced onion.
Sautéing is another basic technique that can be used to cook a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, meats, and seafood. To sauté, heat oil or butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the food to the pan and stir or toss it frequently until it’s cooked through. Sautéing is a quick cooking method that helps to preserve the texture and flavor of the food, and it can also be used as a base for a variety of dishes such as stir-fries, pastas and even soups.
Roasting is a dry-heat cooking method that involves cooking food in an oven. This technique is great for meats, poultry, and root vegetables as it caramelizes the natural sugars in the food and creates a delicious crust. To roast, preheat the oven to the appropriate temperature (usually around 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and place the food on a baking sheet. Roast for the recommended time, turning occasionally.
Grilling is a great outdoor cooking technique that can be used to cook a wide variety of meats, poultry, seafood and even vegetables. The high heat and smoky flavor of the grill can add a unique taste to your food that you can’t achieve from stovetop or oven cooking. To grill, preheat the grill to the appropriate temperature (usually around medium-high heat) and place the food on the grates. Grill for the recommended time, turning occasionally.
Braising is a technique that involves cooking food in liquid over low heat. This method is perfect for meats that are tougher cuts, as the long cooking time helps to break down the fibers and create a tender and flavorful dish. To braise, brown the meat in a pan and then transfer it to a pot or Dutch oven. Add enough liquid (such as broth or wine) to cover the meat and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for the recommended time.
#6: Sous Vide Cooking
Sous vide is a relatively new cooking technique that has become popular in recent years. This method involves cooking food in vacuum-sealed bags that are immersed in a water bath at a precise temperature. Because the food is cooked at a low temperature for a longer period of time, it results in a perfectly cooked and flavorful dish. Sous vide machines and equipment is becoming more accessible and affordable, also Sous vide cooking is particularly good for meats, seafood, and eggs.
Smoking is a technique that infuses food with smoky flavor by cooking it over wood chips. This method is typically used to cook meats, seafood, and vegetables. Smoking can be done either hot, which involves cooking the food at a high temperature for a short period of time, or cold, which involves cooking the food at a low temperature for a longer period of time. Cold smoking is a good way to add flavor to foods that do not require cooking such as cheeses, nuts and even some fruits. Hot smoking is commonly used to cook meats, fish and poultry, adding not just flavor but also a tenderness to the meat. The equipment needed can vary, some people use a BBQ grill and others special equipment like a smoker or a pellet smoker.
In conclusion, these are just a few of the many cooking techniques that you can use to take your dishes to the next level. From the basic chopping of vegetables to the more advanced techniques like sous vide cooking and smoking, mastering these techniques will help you create delicious and impressive meals in your own kitchen. Remember that the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process of cooking and learning, don’t be afraid to experiment and explore different methods, you might be surprised by what you can achieve.