Chicken is the culinary term for the meat of the domestic fowl. Roasted, baked, stir fried, or braised chicken recipes are an all time favorite accompaniments with meals. Depending on the way it is cooked, chicken can be served as an appetizer, a salad, as a soup or as a main dish.Roasted chicken is eaten as a whole along with honey. Chicken soups are highly nutritious. Chicken stock is one of the primary ingredients for a lot of meat based recipes.Chicken is a meat that is popular in cuisines across the world. Chicken is not only low in fat but also high in protein content.In culinary terms, chicken is the meaty product derived from chickens or hen. Chicken is one of the most commonly cooked poultry meats. Breasts, thighs, legs, liver and gizzards are some of the most popular parts of chicken that are processed to make various chicken dishes. Chicken dishes are well-liked in global cuisine, either as a main dish or as a side dish. Fried chicken, chicken tikka, chili chicken and chicken burgers are some of the chicken dishes that are consumed by people all over the world.
History of Culinary Usage of Chicken
The chicken used in the present modern world is the hybrid breed of Red Junglefowl and Grey Junglefowl. This hybrid breed was first raised in Northern region of Indian subcontinent, thousand of years ago. According to historians, in around 600 BC. the Babylonians were also found to have been fond of eating chicken
Preparation Methods of Chicken Recipes
There are innumerable ways of cooking chicken. Usually, chicken is eaten in cooked form only. Raw chicken is used in Japanese, Chinese and Ethiopian cuisines. Though, methods of preparation of chicken recipes depend upon the taste and the food culture, commonly chicken can be used to make sausages, salads, deep-fried chicken dishes or curried chicken dishes. The high protein content of chicken, makes chicken dishes suitable for people of all age groups.
Cuisines Commonly Making Chicken Dishes
Chicken dishes are commonly cooked in Asian cuisine. Though beef and veal are the popular meats served in European cuisine, the consumption of chicken has increased in 1996 after the spread of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (a kind of cattle disease). American cuisine has also seen the remarkable increase in the demand of chicken during II World War, when supply of beef and pork has decreased. In Australian cuisine, the ribs and the backs of chicken are used in making tasty chicken dishes.
Preferable Cooking Methods for Chicken
- Roasting – It is a dry-heat method used to make chicken dishes with less oil and butter. Chicken is marinated before roasting.
- Baking – In this method, chicken is cooked in oven with dry heat. Some baked chicken dishes are creamy baked chicken and baked chicken stroganoff.
- Stir-fry – It is a method commonly used in making chicken dishes in Asian cuisine. Minimal amount of oil is used in stir-fry method. Lemon chicken stir-fry and sweet and sour stir-fry chicken are good examples.
- Stewing – Stewing is a common method of making various main dishes using chicken and other ingredients.
- Deep fry – These days many chicken snacks are available that are deep-fried like chicken nuggets, chicken lollipops and fried chicken. Nutritional Value of Chicken Chicken is the most nutritional meat among all the meats. It is high in protein and comes under the category of lean meat. Most of the fat is concentrated under the skin of the chicken so it is recommended to eat skinless chicken. The nutritional value of chicken depends upon the method of cooking chicken dishes. Deep-fried chicken is not considered healthy as it contains high amount of trans fats, though steamed chicken dishes are highly nutritious.
Buying and Storing Process of Chicken
Chicken should be purchased with extra care as stale ingredient may prove to be hazardous for health. Here are some tips that should be kept in mind while buying chicken:
- Chicken should be odorless.
- Flesh of the chicken should be firm.
- The skin or surface should not look slick.
- Always check the “sell by” date on the package.
- It is good to buy freshly cut chicken.
Storing Tips for Chicken:
- Chicken should be stored in the coldest part of refrigerator.
- It is always recommended to use chicken as soon as purchased.
- If not using the meat, it can be frozen at 40 degree Celsius or more in the refrigerator.
- Cooked chicken can also be refrigerated for three days.
- Stuffed chicken should be refrigerated while removing the stuffing in another container.
- Frozen chicken should be thawed in cold water or in microwave. Never thaw it at room temperature.
Types of Chicken
The tenderness and the taste of the chicken depend upon its age. According to age, chicken is classified into different categories.
- Broiler-fryers – It is a small chicken weighing between 2-5 pounds. The age of broiler-fryers is usually 13 weeks or less. Grilled, fried, stir-fried and baked chicken dishes are best made with broiler chicken.
- Roasters – This type of chicken is around 3-5 months old and weighing around 5 pounds. Roasting is the best method used to bring out the best taste of roasters.
- Stewing Hens – Stewing hens are those that stop laying eggs and weigh between 3-7 pounds. These hens are 10 months old or older than that. The flesh is tougher than other chickens but best used to make stews and soups as they are juicy and flavorful.
- Around 80 pounds of chicken is consumed by an American per year.
- Georgia is the ‘chicken capital of world’.
- It is considered against law to eat chicken with fork in Georgia.